Laconia, New Hampshire is a small city with a population of about 16,000. Situated between three lakes, the city is located in a region that offers a variety of summer and recreational activities that draw a significant number of tourists. The local economy is based on a wide range of light industries and services. Laconia High School (LHS) is a public, comprehensive high school serving approximately 625 students in grades 9-12. 53% of students are eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch. LHS offers a wide variety of courses and co-curricular activities to prepare students for college and career, and to develop community involvement and leadership skills.
As a result of participating in the i3 New England Network, LHS is using Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) as a means to assist students towards owning their own futures. The PBAs are designed to: 1) Help students learn relevant content; 2) Build stronger literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills; and 3) Help students define their futures based on choices they are making in the present. The PBA work requires a consistently increasing level of complexity and higher order processing as students move through the academic program. Protocols learned through Collaborative Skills and Practices training provided in the i3 New England Network are now a regular practice with educators at LHS who use these protocols to offer feedback for fellow educators on instruction and assessment. Involvement with the i3 New England Network also spurred the development of the Sachems Leadership Council – a site council comprised of students and faculty members; as well as Freedom Found – a student organization that celebrates student diversity and provides a network of support to students in building strong relationships in the school community.
“The most meaningful and exciting experiences during the time of the i3 grant were the support our staff received by connecting with other i3 New England Network schools, and the quality coaching offered to facilitate collaboration and sharing of ideas. This gave educators and students at LHS information and tools to use to collaborate in the development of a standards-based curriculum that is relevant, engaging, and inquiry-based.”Steve Tucker, Site Coordinator, seventeen-year veteran Social Studies teacher