OCB’s Burton Ramer Technical Career Center To Receive the High Schools That Work Gold Improvement Award

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recently announced that Oswego County BOCES’ Burton Ramer Technical Career Center will be awarded the High Schools That Work (HSTW) Gold Improvement Award. OCB is one of only 12 schools in the nation to receive the Gold Improvement Award for 2010 and the first school in New York State to ever achieve this distinction. The award will be presented by Dave Spence, president of the SREB at the 24th Annual HSTW Staff Development Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.

“This school has shown what can be accomplished to raise student achievement by deeply implementing the High Schools That Work model for strengthening curriculum and instruction,” said Gene Bottoms, Senior Vice President for SREB and founder of the HSTW initiative. “The school illustrates the spirit of change and the gains in performance that High Schools That Work advocates and supports through assessment, staff development and technical assistance.”

To earn this recognition, schools had to increase their mean scores on the HSTW Assessment reading, mathematics and science tests by at least ten points from 2008 to 2010. These schools also met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) criteria of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act or had a graduation rate of at least 85 percent.

HSTW is an effort-based school improvement initiative founded on the conviction that most students can master rigorous academic and career/technical studies if school leaders and teachers create an environment that motivates students to make the effort to succeed.

Participating schools implement ten key practices for changing what is expected of students, what they are taught and how they are taught. The ten key practices are: high expectations; program of study; academic studies; career/technical studies; work-based learning; teachers working collaboratively; students actively engaged; guidance; extra help; and a culture of continuous improvement. OCB began their partnership with HSTW in 2001.

Dave Leavitt, School Improvement Consultant for High Schools That Work has worked closely with OCB leadership and praised the staff for their dedication to the HSTW key principles saying, “Oswego BOCES’ Career & Technical Education program is to be commended on their achievement of one of only twelve 2010 Gold Improvement Awards presented by High Schools That Work. A major factor in this remarkable feat is the long-standing dedication of the exemplary CTE leadership to the key practices of High Schools That Work embedding literacy and numeracy in their CTE programs. This dedication has resulted in programs that will prepare Burton Ramer Technical Career Center graduates for successful 21st century careers.”

High Schools That Work is the nation’s largest school improvement initiative for high school leaders and teachers. More than 1,200 HSTW sites in 30 states and the District of Columbia use the framework of HSTW Goals and Key Practices to raise student achievement and graduation rates.

The presentation of the Gold Improvement Award will take place at the 24th Annual HSTW Staff Development Conference in front of more than 7,000 administrators, teachers and counselors who will attend the conference.

Ron Camp, Director of Career and Technical Education and Alternative Programs at OCB, and principal of BRTCC recognized the that HSTW strategies aligned with school improvement strategies already in place at BRTCC, saying “ I attribute the increased student achievement to the concerted efforts of our staff to complement the total school improvement strategies that HSTW promotes.”

“I am incredibly proud of the efforts of our staff and students in achieving this recognition,” said OCB’s District Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Camerino. “Our number one goal is and always has been to promote strategies for student achievement and this ties seamlessly with the key practices promoted by HSTW, and this award is evidence that these initiatives are working.”