Principals' Memo #1010-10

Department of Education

April 6, 2010

TO: Principals

FROM: Linda M. Wallinger, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

SUBJECT: MetLife-NASSP Breakthrough Schools Program

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the MetLife Foundation are accepting entries for this year's MetLife-NASSP Breakthrough Schools Program.

NASSP invites middle level and high schools, including K-8 and K-12 schools that serve economically disadvantaged students, to apply for this award. Schools must have 40 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Selection criteria are based on a school’s documented success in implementing strategies aligned with the three Core Areas of Breaking Ranks for middle and high schools that have led to improved student achievement. The Core Areas are:
• Collaborative leadership: professional learning communities, shared leadership, and student and staff leadership development;
• Personalization: attention to all students, mentoring and school/community connections; and
• Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: access to rigorous coursework for all students, differentiated instruction with multiple assessments, data-based decision making and opportunities for career development.
Nominated schools must demonstrate:
• continuous growth on state assessments over time;
• specific efforts towards reducing the achievement gap; and
• forty percent or more students eligible for free or reduced price meals.
Additional success indicators include:
• equity of student participation in challenging courses;
• academic and career focused personal learning plans for all students;
• school community connections; and
• leadership development/mentoring.

Selected schools will each receive a $5,000 grant and be featured in the association's monthly magazine, Principal Leadership. Complete program information is available at the NASSP website.

For more information, please contact Michael Bolling, mathematics coordinator, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 786-6418.