Brockton High School’s dramatic transformation from one of the lowest-performing schools in Massachusetts to a nationally recognized example of academic excellence has earned it the 2012 John Gould Education & Workforce Development Award from Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
Brockton High will accept the award at AIM’s 97th Annual Meeting and Luncheon on May 11 in Waltham. It marks the first time that the association has presented the Gould Award to a public school.
The state’s largest high school is being honored for its sustained success in meeting the challenges of urban education. Brockton High has continuously raised MCAS scores, reduced dropout rates and narrowed achievement gaps. Today more than 90 percent of its graduates plan to attend college, and one-third score high enough on MCAS to qualify for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for eight semesters of free tuition at Massachusetts public colleges or universities.
It has made the US News & World Report list of America’s best high schools, and has been the subject of glowing reports by The New York Times, CBS Evening News, PBS, CNN and other media.
The remarkable turnaround was accomplished within the constraints of the traditional school day and existing collective bargaining agreements, without any radical restructuring. Administrators and teaching staff shared the belief that every adult is responsible for every student and that every student can and must learn, with an emphasis on literacy in its broadest definition.
Close analysis of data to target specific student needs, and creative approaches to link student performance to feedback and development for teachers, followed.
“It’s about hard work,” says Dr. Susan Szachowicz, an alumna, who spearheaded the change as a teacher and now as principal. “What we’re doing is achieving at high levels despite all of the obstacles that many of our kids have in front of them, and we don’t use them as excuses.”
“Over the past 14 years the Gould Award has gone to individuals, employers, higher education institutions, a foundation and a training provider – this is the first time we have recognized a school,” says Richard C. Lord, AIM’s President and CEO. “We honor Brockton High School for what it has accomplished through hard work and high expectations – and for its example of what that kind of commitment can achieve in our public schools.”
The annual Gould Award was created by AIM in 1998 to recognize the contributions of individuals, employers, and institutions for their efforts to improve public education and advancement, employability, and productivity of the residents of the commonwealth. Named for John Gould in 2000 upon his retirement as president and CEO of AIM, the award recognizes his many contributions to improve the quality of public education and workforce activities in Massachusetts.
As the 2012 winner of the Gould Award, Brockton High School joins past recipients John Rennie, founder of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education; Middlesex Community College; NYPRO Inc.; William Edgerly, Chairman Emeritus, State Street Corporation; Northeastern University; The Davis Family Foundation; Intel Massachusetts; EMC Corporation; IBM Corporation; David Driscoll, former commissioner of the State Department of Education; Raytheon Corporation’s MathMovesU program; State Street Corporation and Year Up Boston; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Program’s M.O.S.T. program.