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Staten Island Technical High School in New York City has long enjoyed strong standardized test performance and top national rankings. By the end of the 2014-2015 school year, however, the school was confronted with an alarming trend.

A combination of feedback and LMS data showed increasing rates of lateness, absenteeism, grade obsession, fatigue, missing homework, academic dishonesty, and health concerns over the preceding two years. This combination of factors, which can accompany the academic culture of a competitive and rigorous high school, put their community at a perplexing crossroads around the significant and oftentimes hidden costs of student stress.

In looking at their data, the Staten Island Tech team identified that they needed to find better ways to accomplish the following:

  • Help students find a healthy balance between “quality home time" and "quality school time”
  • Tackle student over-emphasis on numerical grades and perfectionism

The team decided that the right thing to do for their students was to transform Staten Island Technical High School from a Grade-Based Learning model to a Mastery-Based Learning model. Now one of 53 participating schools in the New York City Department of Education’s Mastery Collaborative, representatives from the Staten Island Tech team will reflect upon the institutional changes they’ve implemented, the challenges they’ve encountered, and the road ahead in their ongoing journey towards sustainable student success.