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ERIC Number: EJ1016769
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Gervais High School: 100% Committed to Excellence
Principal Leadership, v13 n9 p40-45 May 2013
Gervais High School--with a senior class of 80 and a total enrollment of 337--may be small in size compared to its neighbors, but it has demonstrated over the last four years the ability to think big in pursuit of excellence. A decade ago, Gervais had a well-earned reputation in Oregon's Willamette Valley as a drug-ridden, gang-infested school that was failing by every measure. The early seeds of its turnaround were sown in 2001 with the appointment and targeted efforts of Principal Mike Solem. Much of the initial progress, however, was lost when Solem left this assignment after four years for another principalship. In 2009, Solem returned to the community he loved, wiser and more committed than ever to helping the Gervais students achieve "100% excellence," his mantra that has become the whole school's rallying cry. Since Solem's return, Gervais has enjoyed considerable improvement in the cohort graduation rate; bumped up its reading/language arts and math scores on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test by more than 18 and 14 percentage points, respectively; and achieved adequate yearly progress for the last three years. Solem credits the school's remarkable progress with such a diverse, transient, economically disadvantaged student body to the staff's 100% commitment to the welfare and education of their students. Upon his return as principal, the first item of academic business after establishing a safe and orderly environment was to work with the staff to align all content areas of the curriculum to the Oregon standards. To ensure that all students have mastery of essential basic skills, reading, writing, and math strategies have been built into and are reinforced in all classes. The entire staff has committed to embedding best-practice teaching strategies throughout the school, using ideas gleaned from targeted professional development activities, on-site coaching, and the school's professional learning communities (PLCs). Formal and informal staff leadership development and shared leadership experiences round out those efforts. To ensure that all teachers have a successful start with a strong foundation, beginning teachers in their entry year and experienced teachers in their first year in the district are provided with a network of support, guidance, and feedback in a two-year, district-wide mentoring program.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A