Paul Zinni, Superintendent
18 King Street
Norfolk, MA 02056
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Unique King Philip High School Programs Provide Several Avenues for Student Success
Principal Lisa Mobley’s Innovative Programs Help Students to Thrive Academically
WRENTHAM — In what is now her seventh year as the principal of King Philip Regional High School, Lisa Mobley is striving for the continued success of programs she has initiated over the years that help to enhance learning opportunities for all students.
When Principal Mobley first took on her role as the head of the high school in 2011, she noticed an opportunity to create programs where students who were at risk of falling behind in their studies could be given support, while students who were thriving academically could branch out and focus on a particular subject of interest to them.
“I wanted to find ways to provide support services for our general education students who may be struggling in their classes and also develop programs that would encourage advanced learning and hands-on education,” Principal Mobley said. “I feel like we have done that with Pathways to Distinction, AP Capstone, Peer Tutoring and Academic Strategies, among other programs. I look forward to seeing how these initiatives progress now that the new school year has begun.”
Pathways to Progress
Implemented in 2016 and entering its second full year, the Pathways to Distinction program allows students to work on long-term projects of their choosing that incorporate research in either liberal arts or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The program is unique to King Philip Regional High School and offers students a comprehensive set of guidelines that sets itself apart from similar-style programs:
- Student projects must include a community service component.
- Once complete, students present their work and findings to a panel of teachers and administrators for review.
- Rather than being exclusive to Advanced Placement students, all students are able to sign up to participate.
“Parents were always asking what courses their children should take if they want to be a writer or study math and science or be in politics. What courses can their kids take if they know early on what they want to do?” Principal Mobley said. “Pathways to Distinction was developed to allow students to earn their learning. Letting them study what they want to learn and what they love to learn. Working on the project allows them to do that while also incorporating community service. So they’re giving back to the community and getting real-world experience while enhancing their education.”
Last year, two students successfully completed the new program. There are 20-25 students that are expected to participate this year.
In his senior year last year, Collin Glaser volunteered his time at the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. His project consisted of creating a way for visitors of the 104-acre nature preserve to assist in tracking the endangers species that live there by taking photos and documenting their whereabouts. Those who walk the trails are able to scan QR codes with their smart phones on a pamphlet he created when they come across different animals and plants in order to help the researchers at the sanctuary keep track of the wildlife inhabiting the land.
“Collin’s project was a great success and he did very well in his presentation to the panel last year,” Principal Mobley said. “Projects like his are great examples of what can be accomplished through the Pathways program.”
In addition to Pathways to Distinction, Principal Mobley also positioned KPHS to be one of the first high schools in the state to adopt the AP Capstone program for Advanced Placement students last year.
The program is similar to Pathways to Distinction, where it allows students to identify an area of research that they are interested in, then learn how to research, investigate and subsequently complete their project. Those who successfully complete the program receive AP credit, while some may go on to have their works published in various trade and educational publications.
“These programs allow students to take hold of their learning and empowers them to have a say in their own education,” Principal Mobley said. “When they are able to choose what they want to study and work on something that interests them, they are able to thrive and be even more proud of what they have accomplished.”
Staying on the Track to Success
The Peer Tutoring and Academic Strategies classes at KPHS serve to provide avenues of support and encouragement for students who are at risk of falling behind in their studies or need extra help in a particular course or courses.
“Once a student reaches the high school level, there are typically not a lot of areas of opportunity to catch up outside of being enrolled in Special Education if a student is falling too far behind,” Principal Mobley said. “Sometimes kids need a helping hand in order to set them back on track again, but don’t necessarily need to be enrolled in Special Education. These programs help to bridge that gap and keep students on the right pace to graduate.”
Peer Tutoring allows students to receive assistance and guidance from their fellow students about a class or lesson that they may be struggling with. The tutors receive school credit for their work.
Academic Strategies courses are taught by teachers who serve as liaisons between parents and students to make sure the students are on pace with their studies. The smaller classes allow students to get more individual attention from teachers.
Now heading into their fifth year, the Peer Tutoring and Academic Strategies programs have decreased the dropout rate at the high school by one to two students per year.
“These programs help to strengthen the knowledge of those students who need additional support with the aim of minimizing the risk of dropouts or students becoming credit deficient,” Principal Mobley said. “If a student falls behind even a week or two in math class, they may not be able to catch up on their own. We have designed ways for kids who need additional work in the classroom that helps them to progress in their education with the support of their peers, teachers and parents.”
In his first year as head of the district, Superintendent Paul Zinni has been pleased to see the work being done at the high school level to make sure all of the educational needs of the students are being met.
“You don’t find these programs at every school district,” Superintendent Zinni said. “Principal Mobley’s ingenuity and creativity has created an atmosphere that encourages students to learn at a pace they are comfortable with, while ensuring that that no one falls through the cracks. With the new school year now in full swing, I am thrilled to see these programs in action.”
Typically taken in lieu of study hall or an elective during the school day, the programs are designed to not interfere with students’ regular studies and classes.