Leland and Gray Applies for Schools of Opportunity Recognition

Recently the University of Colorado’s National Education Policy Center (NEPC) contacted L&G principal Dr. Dorinne Dorfman to recommend that the school apply for the Opportunity Recognition for America’s Best High Schools for 2015-16. NEPC reached out to Leland and Gray in appreciation of the steps over the past decade to (1) increase local and international learning opportunities for students, (2) increase the number of students participating in accelerated, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment courses, and (3) building effective academic supports to encourage all to achieve on grade level. Most impressive was L&G’s performance on the most recent New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) examinations. More Leland and Gray lower-income and higher-income students achieved the standards on NECAP tests than in the four Vermont Town Academies in math, reading, and science. Engagement continues after school as well, with over 75% of Leland and Gray students participating in co-curricular athletics, theatre, and music programs and clubs.

The National Education Policy Center’s mission is to research and share educational practices to inform education policy discussions. “We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.” In its second year, the goals of the Opportunity Recognition for America’s Best High Schools are to “identify and recognize excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps by engaging in practices that build on students’ strengths, thereby creating engaging and supported learning opportunities for all their students.” Five schools in Colorado and New York were selected in 2014-15 for this prestigious recognition.
Perhaps most compelling reason for the National Education Policy Center to reach out to Leland and Gray is the unleveled curriculum. L&G engages nearly all students in college-preparatory courses in heterogeneous groups. Disadvantaged students – those with disabilities or from low-income backgrounds – greatly benefit from learning alongside advantaged peers, who in turn, learn more deeply and become peer tutors and counselors. They learn to communicate and work with anyone, and become accepted to some of the most prestigious colleges in America. Nearly 70% of L&G’s Class of 2015 were accepted to attend college. The University of Vermont sent a letter of congratulations for the high number of Advanced Placement courses L&G graduates had completed before entering UVM.
For more information about Leland and Gray’s presentations, please contact Terry Davison-Berger at 365-7355 or tdavison-berger@lelandandgray.org.