Envision Learning Partners is delighted and honored to introduce Capital High with the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin. We started our partnership with the district back in 2016, and this year we are thrilled to be working with three of their schools. Karyn Stocks Glover is the principal of Capital High and has shared her thoughts on our work together below.

How are you advancing your Performance Assessment System?

Capital High is guided by an equity vision and four equity drivers that support doing school differently. Capital High is launching its Graduation by Portfolio Performance Assessment this year. With the support and expertise of our Envision Learning Partners (ELP), we are designing a portfolio model that is aligned to competencies identified in the Madison Metropolitan School District’s graduate vision, that is specifically focused on growth mindset as a critical driver for deeper learning, and that is incorporated in all areas of learning through our Core Benchmarks (see in Appendix).

Madison Metropolitan School District’s Graduate Profile

Our participation in the Tinquevation Accelerator Workshop this summer with ELP supported us to engage in designing at the margins, and an outcome of this five-day intensive was naming and claiming  growth mindset as a core value and a core practice across all areas of teaching and learning. Recognizing that our students and staff are inherently resilient, we framed our growth mindset skills (curiosity, planning, risk-taking, reflection) in this core belief. We are beginning to develop rubrics for our performance assessment system, which we will do in partnership with ELP.

We will have our first portfolio defenses in May 2020. Over the next two years, we will continue to partner with ELP in order to expand our graduation by portfolio model to include self-knowledge and interpersonal skills.

What have you learnt during this process?

We have learned doing school differently means defining deeper learning through asking students what they need to be successful in the long term and in the moment, and through supporting teachers to work in teams that prioritize student demonstration of mastery in knowledge and skills over time and through multiple opportunities in a variety of academic settings. We have learned that we thrive through shared leadership.

What is the impact you are seeing on students and their work?

Our students are building trust with their peers and the adults who support them; they are learning that Capital High is a community that believes completely in their innate goodness and intelligence, and that their voices are valued. We are seeing evidence of students being thoughtfully reflective about their learning through the lens of growth mindset.

What is the impact you are seeing on teachers and their practice?

Staff choose to work at Capital High because our goal to do school differently aligns with their values and because they want to work in professional partnership with their peers. Staff recognize that teaching skills versus content, measuring progress versus outcomes, and embracing collaboration versus isolation require curiosity, planning, risk taking and reflection with peers. Capital High staff are applying a growth mindset in their own practices.

What is the impact of this work ON YOU as a practitioner?

As the founding principal of Capital High, I value the partnership with ELP to support our journey to do school differently. While I brought a number of leadership strengths to the role, I have found that my capacity for leading transformational change is enhanced by working with an organization that has always prioritized identity work through student voice and student growth. I appreciate that ELP is not a model one adopts, but rather a way of working that centers race and equity and applies design thinking (where you are encouraged to design at the margins) so that schools can write their own stories.


Capital High’s Equity Vision

Empowered by personalized learning in a diverse and supportive community, and strengthened by family and school partnerships, all students will graduate prepared to succeed on their individual pathway.

Who We Are

Capital High is a non-traditional high school that is committed to deeper learning in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Our work is guided by the district’s Strategic Framework and Graduate Vision, as well as our school’s equity vision. We have an unwavering commitment to racial equity and an ambitious plan to serve opportunity youth. Our mission is to change the narrative for opportunity youth by providing learning through interests opportunities and preparing youth for post-secondary success in college and career.

We are engaged in a school design and development process that is fortified by a dedicated staff who are deeply committed to transformational change – individually, collectively, and institutionally. Disciplined and thoughtful professional collaboration is a standard of practice at Capital High. Together, we are creating and sustaining a thriving school community that is anchored in its commitment to anti-racist values and learning partnerships with students and families.

Our Approach

Our approach prioritizes opportunities and practices for youth engagement through student involvement and shared power.  Our work is guided by four equity drivers – competency teaching and learning, advisory, experiential learning, and professional collaboration. These transformational change drivers support our commitment to a clear vision with targeted strategies and are embedded in “fail forward, fail fast”  practices of innovation in service of opportunity youth. Our academic competency model is aligned to Common Core State Standards and articulated through measurable benchmarks of college readiness. Our advisory model prioritizes student agency through goal setting and reflection, as well as developing well being through relationships to self and others. Our experiential learning model promotes student inquiry and exploration of higher education, career pathways, and community partnerships. Our professional collaboration model is built on the belief that through collective efficacy we improve the lives of all members of our school community. Students graduate by portfolio with multiple opportunities to meet and exceed competencies in mastery of content and growth mindset.


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