Souhegan High School, Amherst, New Hampshire
In its mission statement Souhegan High School declares that it "aspires to be a community of learners, born of respect, trust, and courage." All its programs and policies stem from this mission. Students benefit from the school's commitment to personalization; each student spends one-half hour a day in an Advisory program.
Since it opened in September of 1992, Souhegan has grown from 550 students to almost 900 in grades 9 through 12. Students work in an inclusionary environment, in interdisciplinary classes. In Division One (grades 9 and 10), students are members of an academic team. At the end of tenth grade, all students participate in a Division One "exhibition" in which they present a portfolio of their work to a panel of teachers, students, and parents and reflect on their readiness to enter Division Two. All seniors must complete a Senior Project, a rigorous independent study; presenting their project to a panel of teachers is their final graduation requirement. Around 90 percent of Souhegan's graduates go on to further education.
Professional development at Souhegan is driven by Critical Friends Groups (CFGs), which provide both time and structures to promote adult professional growth directly linked to student learning. In their CFGs, Souhegan faculty offer each other assistance in curriculum development and authentic assessment and provide feedback on each other's work.