Skip to main content

TIG will be updating the self-advocacy suite.  Please note the resources may be discontinued after the 2023-2024 academic year.

Mishicot High School

Grade Level
High School

Ensuring the system is flexible and proactive to meet small district needs

Small schools and districts face different challenges than their larger counterparts when it comes to the implementation of an equitable, multi-level system of supports. Smaller enrollment may often mean fewer staff and limited resources. How does a small district set up its system to meet the needs of all students? For Mishicot High School, with an enrollment of 250 students, the answer lies in ensuring that their system is flexible and proactive.

A review of their local assessments and benchmark data revealed that more than 20% of students were accessing selected-level supports (tier 2). The leadership team recognized that a system adjustment was necessary. They wanted to create a preventative academic model to identify and support students who may be at risk for not graduating. Additionally, they were determined to provide the opportunity for all students to receive enrichment. Equally important, Mishicot wanted to continue to provide access to other content and courses, especially since the school maintains partnerships with two local colleges, which allow students to earn college credit.

As a first step, Mishicot implemented a flexible support time for all students that is used for both support and enrichment. Decision rules–based on multiple academic assessments–are in place to determine the appropriate level of support and/or enrichment students receive. The school established some non-negotiable practices. For example, all teachers post daily learning targets in each class. The school focuses on the culture of learning and gradual release of responsibility to the students. “We want our students to take a leadership role in their learning,” Principal Paul Orlich said.

Another key component is the assignment of an advisor to every student upon entering high school. This advisor remains the same for the student’s entire academic career at Mishicot, which is unique to small schools. The leadership team believes that this connection has created strong relationships with students and directly impacted their high graduation rate.

Relationships among the educators are also important at Mishicot. Even in their small setting, the school has created a strong professional learning community. Every Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., staff gather to review their mathematics and language arts data, share celebrations, and plan next steps.

The way Mishicot collects and uses data not only allowed the staff to develop a proactive system, it has also transformed conversations with students and parents. The school regularly shares information with their stakeholders and community.

The staff ’s dedication was evident by the school’s 100% graduation rate in 2017-18. Every student graduated with at least one college course (three credits) and the class average was seven college classes per student.