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The Commons
Life and Work

Leland & Gray wins national distinction

For more information about the Schools of Opportunity project, including descriptions of all recognized schools, visit opportunitygap.org.

Originally published in The Commons issue #377 (Wednesday, October 5, 2016). This story appeared on page D4.



TOWNSHEND—Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School is one of only 20 schools nationally to be recognized as a “School of Opportunity,” a designation honoring public high schools that build on students’ strengths and create supported learning opportunities for all.

The National Education Policy Center, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, sponsors the Schools of Opportunity project, which identifies excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps.

“Schools play a key role in a student’s life and learning, and we should hold up excellent schools as exemplars,” said Kevin Welner, Policy Center director and project co-director, in a news release.

Applications went through four levels of screening by review teams composed of researchers, teachers, policy makers, and administrators, who looked at school practices that fell into categories such as create and maintain healthy school culture; broaden and enrich school curriculum; use a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs; and support teachers as professionals.

Serving Grades 7-12 from 10 towns, Leland & Gray Union Middle & High School is a full-service school. During the past six years, the school has increased academic expectations by adding Advanced Placement courses and support classes beginning in seventh grade, according to a news release.

“Schools should be judged not by the breadth of their programming but by the depth of their staff,” incoming Leland & Gray Principal Bob Thibeault said in the release. “Leland & Gray staff have a long history of caring deeply about the student body and ensuring that no one falls through the cracks — and that’s why we are being recognized."

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