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Digital Harbor Featured as Model CSI School at MSDE Conference

Principal Dr. Taiisha Swinton-Buck Shares Her Expertise

On June 10, Dr. Taiisha Swinton-Buck, Principal of Digital Harbor High School, shared her expertise at the Maryland State Department of Education Statewide Federal and State Programs Virtual Conference.

Just a few weeks after being named the 2021 MASSP Maryland Principal of the Year, Dr. Swinton-Buck introduced district leaders from across the state to how Digital Harbor High School has become a model for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools through “Progressive Monitoring.”

Through the Maryland Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan, schools are identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and allocated funding and resources. Tracking turnaround and improvement efforts through data is critical to the success of the CSI program. 

Dr. Swinton-Buck and City School’s Coordinator for School Transformation and Turnaround Laurie-Lynn Sutton led a virtual conference session on how a principal can use Progressive Monitoring — “a systematic and continual observation and recording of key program aspects” — to help school leaders identify the factors that contribute to school success and make quick and effective course corrections when efforts are off-track. 

Digital Harbor’s progressive monitoring via goal setting, data collection, and action commitments has been integral in implementing its CSI improvement plan. The school has built robust systems to support students, engage parents, and enhance staff collaboration— and track and evaluate the results of each effort. Every student has a success plan aligned to their personal achievement and the school’s CSI goals. School staff, including the attendance liaison and “on-track-to-graduate” coordinator, use student data to better communicate with families and keep all stakeholders aware of each student’s progress and academic standing. 

Digital Harbor is making continuous improvement: The school increased its pre-pandemic attendance by almost 10% and cut the number of suspensions in half! Thanks to inspirational leaders like Dr. Swinton-Buck and Ms. Sutton, Digital Harbor High School has become a model for CSI schools across the state! 

Says Dr. Swinton-Buck, “We have to have wraparound support for our students. That means continuing to build our culture and making sure our building is a place where students feel they belong and are affirmed. Even with the pandemic, our goals remain the same. We know that many kids have been out of the building. But we still want to reach and exceed our 5% growth goals.”

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