With over forty years of experience meeting the needs of alternative education students, it would have been easy for Team Synergy to remain complacent.
In the Fall of 2014, Synergy ambitiously decided to go in a new direction, to a place it had never been. Team Synergy decided, despite 1500+ graduates and countless success stories, to commit to a continuous improvement cycle with one essential task: provide a quality alternative education experience for every child, every day.
On a most basic level, Synergy committed to addressing some "Brutal Facts" (Collins, 2001; Schmoker, 2006) about the school; facts facing many high schools. Furthermore, rather than being fearful, Synergy saw:
1. A tremendous opportunity -- With an unprecedented commitment from the state of Connecticut to provide money to the neediest schools/districts, Synergy/East Hartford had an opportunity to innovate. In thinking about challenges facing the school, the goal is to change the course of the educational experience for every Synergy student.through a comprehensive turnaround effort.
2. The Brutal Facts -- Synergy has a history of greatness meeting the needs of their students but also some data that suggested room for improvement. With the right people in the right places, Team Synergy can overcome these challenges.
3. The Need for Systemic Change -- Change is hard, change is scary, change is risky... but change is necessary. At Synergy, we are excited that we have begun the change process.
4. The Importance of Acting on What we Know -- Students are more likely to be successful when they feel connected to their school/teachers. Synergy has created a measure of student connectedness to consider how connected students feel at school.
5. The Importance of Instruction -- Despite the importance of school connectedness, quality instruction is what drives student achievement. At Synergy and most schools in the nation, we have data that have suggested our instruction could be more effective.
Through our turnaround efforts, we believe we are fundamentally altering the educational experience for our students... some of the neediest in the district.