Frank McCourt High School
Upper Westside Manhattan
Who we are
Every student at Frank McCourt High School is armed with the curiosity and intellect of a true life-long learner. Students are engaged citizens and thoughtful civic leaders who can communicate their vision with clarity and eloquence. Students come to our school from all 5 boroughs, some traveling more than 1.5 hours. Despite our being screened, our students come with a range of abilities (some in the lowest third, 19% IEP) and from a range of backgrounds with more than 12 languages spoken at home.
Hallmarks of Frank McCourt's approach to mastery
We have been practicing mastery-based learning since our founding five years ago. We started with a universal set of outcomes and CCLS aligned outcomes for each course. We have revised the school-wide outcomes and absorbed several writing outcomes into all courses, and each department is in the process of creating a set of outcomes to be used in their courses.
Our students attain mastery through engaging problem-based and interdisciplinary learning experiences. Students track their progress across outcomes, curricula, and grade levels. All teachers are committed to using outcomes-based rubrics to provide students with formative and summative feedback, and revision is built into all courses as an option for further demonstration of mastery.
What makes FMHS unique?
FMHS believes that using outcomes to assess student learning on projects that incorporate real-world scenarios and 21st Century skills prepares students for higher education and careers. For example, we have implemented an innovative Intersession, in which juniors and seniors take intensive problem-based courses. Courses include Beauty in Chaos, Modern Dance, Law & Order, Public Relations, and Web Design. In some Intersession courses, teachers are beginning to implement mastery-based credit accumulation & asynchronous learning strategies.
What can other schools learn from you?
At FMHS, we are committed to developing an effective mastery system that challenges and supports diverse learners. Schools can learn about how our outcomes-based grading system allows faculty to personalize instruction for students and helps students become more aware of their academic progress. In addition, we are excited to share how we use our mastery system to create rigorous and innovative problem-based learning courses.
In each unit, students work on a set number of content- and skill-based outcomes. Teachers use rubrics to give specific feedback to students about their progress on outcomes. When designing and revising rubrics, teachers use reflective practices in department teams; in some cases, students participate in the development of rubrics.