Rigorous Climbing at Kennesaw Mountain

Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Ga., is one of a number of schools that build its curricula around the International Center’s Rigor/Relevance FrameworkTM to achieve academic excellence. The high school of 3,100 students serves as a national model of how to hold high expectations for all students and meet individual student needs within a large school.

Through professional development activities, teachers have a clear understanding of how to achieve rigor and relevance using the framework. They work in collaborative groups to create high rigor/high relevance activities and alternative assessments in Quadrant D in which students are expected to show insight by applying what they have learned to other situations and circumstances.

Students also are expected to analyze materials effectively, both orally and in writing. Through the use of the framework, students and teachers speak the same language in identifying effective classroom instruction and assessment.

One example of an engaging activity that incorporates Quadrant D learning is a team-taught technology and English class in which groups of students each select a technology and project how it may change in the future. They then identify what breakthroughs are required for the “new” technology to become a reality as well as describe the positive and negative consequences on society.

This year, the school’s goal was to challenge each teacher to develop a Quadrant D lesson to share not only within the department, but also across disciplines.

“The culminating activity, an American Idol type contest, allowed teachers to share best practices across the curriculum,” said Principal Susan Gunderman. “This was a positive way to infuse the Rigor/Relevance Framework throughout our entire curriculum, and our teachers had fun in the process. The real winners of the contest, as we all know, were our students, who will benefit from lessons in all courses that encourage them to apply what they have learned to real-world scenarios.”

— Ray McNulty and Russell Quaglia