Gold, Bronze and Silver speak volumes about student motivation and success the first nine weeks of school at Payson High School, and have a direct correlation to academic achievement, attendance and behavior choices.
Over 50 percent of the PHS student population have earned Renaissance Reward cards with freshmen taking the lead. The return of the Renaissance program at PHS is just one of the success indicators tied to the focused academic emphasis across all content areas at Payson High School for the 2010-2011 school year.
The current freshmen, the graduating class of 2014, have already achieved a new level of success compared to previous years. This freshman class, with the highest pass rate level when compared to previous data, is an example of what happens when standards, instruction and
academic support programs combine to provide multiple ways to reach academic goals.
Link Crew student leaders, GEAR-UP academic support classes and after-school tutoring support have all contributed to the successful transition from middle school to high school.
Tracking student grades, connecting parents and students with staff, and linking students to upper class students, as well as clubs and events, have really helped freshman students find several avenues for the support needed to feel comfortable and successful on campus. It is all about communication and finding ways to provide support both at home and school.
The teaching staff knows, too, time is critical, and are ready to initiate change. With the implementation of the new state-led Common Core State Standards Initiative, comes an opportunity for the PHS staff to revise and create consistent instructional strategies for use across all content areas.
PHS staff have chosen to focus on the common core standards for writing with the objective of raising student performance and achievement levels while also preparing students to be college-ready and work-force ready. Integration of writing in each department is a key.
PHS is fortunate to have an expert to guide staff, Assistant Principal Anna VanZile, has served on a committee to develop common core standards, and continues to serve at the state level as a facilitator for the Arizona Department of Education.
PHS teachers are committed to building rigorous writing expectations and consistency across all content fields. To do this, the staff has committed time to working within each department to define the criteria and standards for essays and reports. Because the state AIMS writing test will be scored differently in spring 2011, teachers are ready to find best practices and assessments that connect writing literacy in the sciences, social sciences and yes, even in mathematics.
Embedding high-level performance expectations and criteria for each department and grades 9-12 requires consistency and common goals, a challenge the PHS instructional staff has taken to heart.
Implementation of high quality instructional practices, departmental collaboration and a willingness to embrace change describe the 2010-2011 PHS staff commitment to quality education for the community of Payson.