Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011
Wade Hampton High Honored as MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School
Wade Hampton High School has been selected one of 10 schools in the nation to be named a MetLife Foundation-NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) Breakthrough School.
Schools are selected for the honor based on their documented success in implementing strategies aligned with the three core areas of Breaking Ranks II for middle level and high schools that have led to improved student achievement:
- Collaborative leadership: professional learning communities, shared leadership, and student and staff leadership development;
- Personalization: attention to all students, mentoring, and school/community connections;
- Curriculum, instruction, and assessment: access to rigorous coursework for all students, differentiated instruction with multiple assessments, data-based decision making, and opportunities for career development.
Wade Hampton High will receive a $5,000 grant and will be featured in the association's monthly magazine, Principal Leadership. Principal Lance Radford will participate in the NASSP National Conference and other venues.
Factors Contributing to the School’s Selection as a Breakthrough School
Significant strides have been made in academic achievement, but also improvements can be seen in all aspects of this school of 1,600, from discipline and attendance to athletics and extracurricular activities. The school’s success has been realized through “hands-on” leadership and the active participation of all stakeholders, which has resulted in WHHS being named the 2010 Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest High School for these achievements. In addition, the school has earned an Excellent School Report Card rating from the State Department of Education for the past three years.
Wade Hampton High School’s vision centers on the shared philosophy that the diverse student body must be served with a personalized plan for each and every student, preparing him for graduation and to become a confident, contributing member of society. The school staff focuses on three common goals - raising student performance, ensuring quality teachers in all classrooms, and providing a supportive learning environment. These goals contribute to the success of each student by enriching his/her total high school experience through academics, the arts, athletics and career exploration.
A “Common School Culture” uses a unified family philosophy that aligns students and families with faculty and staff on issues concerning the environment of the school. Although WHHS is not a magnet school, 22% of the student population attends by special permission from other district schools and even schools outside the district.
There are monthly meetings with new teachers to address concerns and reinforce the Common School Culture. This sense of ownership and integration into the school philosophy has created an environment of commitment. Through regular meetings with all stakeholders, including Faculty Council, SIC, PTSA Board, Student Council and civic groups, the principal involves all participants in the process, including the development of the School Portfolio which drives the direction of the school. Community leaders are committed to taking the school’s philosophy and vision into the community.
A Freshman Academy offers personalized attention that has helped the student attendance rate to increase from 92% to 96% and the freshman GPA to increase from 2.274 to 3.074. Art classes have been so successful in meeting student needs that the school has hired an additional art teacher to allow more classes from Art I through Honors Art 4 and Digital Media.
Communication is a key element in the school’s success. Steady communication to parents through the PTSA, teacher-parent phone calls, the school website, and a strong alumni association keep parents and the community informed about important events and student progress.
Students are grouped heterogeneously in numerous college prep, honors, and Advanced Placement courses. In addition, students can choose from offerings at The Fine Arts Center (adjoining the school on the same campus), theater outreach, Air Force Junior ROTC, foreign languages, Mock Trial, credit recovery, and service learning classes.
The school has received numerous honors including the 2011 Panasonic National School Change Award, Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest Award, Newsweek’s Best High School, Red Carpet School Award, and many staff and student honors for outstanding performance.