MERRILLVILLE | The International Center for Leadership in Education, an organization led by nationally recognized speaker and expert in education, Dr. Willard Daggett, has announced that Merrillville High School has been identified as a Model School for its annual Model School Conference this summer.
Since 1991, Dr. Willard R. Daggett and ICLE have partnered with thousands of schools and school districts on sustainable whole school reform. Lessons learned from successful schools show that effective and sustained school improvement begins with creating a shared vision of the need for change; progresses to forming a consensus vision of learning and learners based on rigor, relevance, and relationships; and continues with translating beliefs about education into broad-based, but focused and measurable goals and actions.
The International Center’s work is based on the premise that students are living in a world that is changing dramatically and the education system needs to adapt to those changes in order to prepare students for the world in which they will live and work.
Common elements of Model Schools are:
•Embrace a Common Vision and Goals – Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships for ALL Students
•Inform Decisions Through Data Systems
•Empower Leadership Teams to Take Action and Innovate
•Clarify Student Learning Expectations
•Adopt Effective Instructional Practices
•Address Organizational Structures
•Monitor Student Progress/Improve Support Systems
•Refine Process on an Ongoing Basis
Association with ICLE began five years ago when Merrillville High School was selected among a group of four Northwest Indiana area high schools to receive a five year, $5 million federal grant. Under the leadership of Mrs. Lorri Covaciu, Merrillville High School Associate Principal and Project Manager for the Small Learning Communities Grant, Merrillville High School staff attended, participated and were trained in many of the educational practices endorsed by ICLE that have become an integral part of the Merrillville High School program (Rigor-Relevance-Relationship; Quadrant D real world application of instructional content; freshman mentoring and partnerships with Model Schools like Brockton High School in Massachusetts).
The effects of these programs and instructional practices have contributed to the achievements of Merrillville High School having received an “A” grade from the State of Indiana (the only large minority-majority high school to do so) and boasting a 90% graduation rate. Merrillville High School implementation of best practices related to a “Success is Our Only Option” philosophy have included a Rigor-Relevance-Relationship framework; trimester scheduling; and innovative diversity programs including its highly recognized S.T.A.N.D. (Socially Together and Naturally Diverse) club which are reflected in “The Merrillville Advantage”.
This summer Merrillville High School will be presenting at the annual Model Schools Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, from June 30 to July 3, as one of ICLE's Model Schools.
Dr. Tony Lux, Superintendent, has stated, “Recognition of Merrillville High School as an ICLE Model School is a tribute to the school’s administrative leadership and the incredible effort of staff, students and parents to accept the challenges to meet academic success. As with the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color award, these recognitions reflect a systemic belief embraced by the entire school community, from School Board members through the entire staff, as to what is possible for all students when there is relentless support and high expectations.”