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Reagan High School

Grade Level
High School

Supporting college career readiness.

An equitable,  system of supports is a framework that schools can use to organize all of their supports and services. Reagan High School in Milwaukee is a great example. Their school culture and mindset are student-centric, focusing on how to help and support them along the way to gain skills to be successful in college and career.

Life long learning

An International Baccalaureate®️ (IB) World School, Reagan uses an academic curriculum program which is centered on learners’ holistic development. In 2013, Reagan’s leadership team reviewed their composite average ACT score. Knowing the role that the ACT plays in assessing student readiness for college, they wanted to raise the average score through instructional practices and frequently measuring student growth.

The first step involved embedding the ACT language within the curriculum and culture of the school. The team aligned language in the school’s learning intention and put success criteria in every lesson plan. “We are pulling the skills from the ACT and making those skills cross-curricular,” explains Peg Grafwallner, instructional coach and student support teacher. Grafwallner believes that all students can be successful because the skills are meant for life-long learning.

Reagan’s faculty also began helping students acquire necessary skills earlier in their educational careers. In particular, it was important to preventatively address student needs during the transition from middle school to high school. Reagan introduced a summer mathematics program as a bridge for students between eighth and ninth grade to ensure that students entered high school ready for ninth grade algebra.

In 2011, through the creation of personalized blended learning (PBL) labs, the school also began offering individualized support in mathematics, reading, and social-emotional development. Incorporating reading and writing into individual courses became a priority. The leadership team changed their expectations of teachers. Reagan began hiring instructors with the knowledge that each would also be teaching reading and writing in addition to their content area.

Reagan’s multilayered efforts have resulted in higher average ACT scores. The school has realized reductions in office discipline referrals, increases in attendance, and has also closed gaps for mathematics and reading achievement.

“Our vision is to prepare all students for college and career readiness,” Principal Mike Roemer said. “When our kids walk out of here, they are ready for the future.”