New Buffalo High School: Aligning Educational Development Pathways

New Buffalo High School
New Buffalo High School

In the competitive landscape of Michigan’s educational institutions, New Buffalo High School (NBHS) stands out as a beacon of academic excellence and comprehensive student support. NBHS has consistently demonstrated its commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals and empowering them to succeed in various aspects of life. With a strong focus on academic achievement, NBHS offers a wide array of programs, including Advanced Placement courses, a STEM endorsement, and a Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish. However, what truly sets NBHS apart is its dedication to the holistic development of its students. Through dynamic initiatives like the Peer-to-Peer program, social-emotional check-ins, and extensive extracurricular opportunities, the school ensures that each student’s unique needs and aspirations are met. Moreover, NBHS’ commitment to safety and community involvement, along with its impressive accolades, reflects its unwavering dedication to providing a top-tier education in a supportive and nurturing environment.

New Buffalo High School is a properly funded National Blue Ribbon public high school. NBHS has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in 2022 as a “high national ranking in 2022 Best High Schools, which U.S. News released recently. By earning a national ranking in the top 40 percent, New Buffalo High School achieved status as a U.S. News Best High School. NBHS was ranked # 72 out of 908 public high schools in Michigan.” The school has a 15:1 student-to-teacher ratio. It focuses on support for the whole child and provides multi-tiered levels of support for academic success as well as social-emotional needs.

Succeeding in Global Marketplace

The mission of New Buffalo High School is to educate all students in a safe, nurturing, and challenging environment that empowers them to become well-rounded individuals who are lifelong learners and productive members of society. In its ongoing evaluation of the educational program, the New Buffalo High School community seeks to instill high expectations for all students in their academic, civic, and social endeavours and to provide them with opportunities to succeed both in higher education and the global marketplace.

2023 – 2024 NBHS goal is to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum across all grade levels and content areas.

The school ensures academic excellence by establishing strong relationships with each student. It also aligns each student’s educational development pathway and supports their college and career goals. In addition, the school’s guidance counsellor aligns course offerings with each student’s EDP and interests.

Supporting the Academic Needs

NBHS has a dynamic Peer to Peer program that provides a high-achieving student to support the academic needs of a struggling student. This program has become instrumental in the success of many students. It also offers the following:

  • Advanced Placement/College Level (14 offerings)
  • STEM Endorsement
  • Seal of Biliteracy (Spanish)
  • Senior Scholar
  • Career/Technical Education (CTE – 43)
  • On-Site Building Trades Program
  • Partnerships within Berrien County Math & Science Center
  • Intervention courses.

NBHS uses Kagan Teaching Strategies that teachers have had extensive training in. It also provides its teachers with a Better Lessons Coach to help support best practices. Its high school is also 1:1 with MacBook for all students and staff. It offers a Mentor/Mentee Program and a New Teacher Academy for all new teaching staff members.

There are unique programs and initiatives that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Which are:

  • K-12 STEAM curriculum
  • AP classes offered
  • Wide range of career and technical education classes
  • Bison radio station 107.9 e. Bison building trades
  • Dual enrollment opportunities for college credit
  • Annual college and career preparation trips 9-12
  • School-sponsored trips to Spain, Washington D.C., and Disney (band)
  • Seal of biliteracy opportunity
  • STEM endorsement

Expanding Students’ Interests

NBHS STEAM course offerings, such as Engineering, Robotics, Computer Programming, and Envirothon, are great opportunities for students to expand their science and engineering interests. The school also has specific partnerships with its great community with events such as the Empty Bowls Give Back Dinner, Blessings in a Backpack, Pokagon Youth Advisory Council, and its annual community 5K event that supports a local charity.

Starting the day with a daily social-emotional check-in, along with free breakfast and lunch, as well as providing a social worker, student advocate, and college/career counseling, are several ways in which NBHS supports the whole child. It also has state-of-the-art technology; It provides each student with a MacBook Pro as well as the latest state-of-the-art technology to support the teaching staff.

Ensuring Social-Emotional Wellness

NBHS offers a social-emotional platform that provides students with a daily check-in on their social-emotional wellness. The check-in allows students to express how they are feeling and allows them the opportunity to have a follow-up meeting with a person of their choice within its counselling team. The school also provides an anti-bullying app for students to utilize to report incidents of bullying. The school has a cardio/weight room, workout facilities, and a walking track that is free for the staff and students to use before and after school.

Safety is a top priority for the district. The school has an on-site screener for any visitors entering the building. It relies on a driver’s license and facial recognition screening system that is being implemented this year for anyone to enter the building. The system conducts an automatic background in order to ensure that the school is not allowing anyone to jeopardize the safety of its students and staff.

NBHS also has a full-time School Resource Office that interacts and builds relationships with its students. The Resource Officer also ensures that the building is secure at all times.

Emotional and Financial Assistance

NBHS offers a $25,000.00 educational trust fund for all students who live within the community (prorated for students who move into the district during middle or high school). The educational trust can be used for any post-secondary education to build employability skills and advanced education.

The school provides gender-neutral bathrooms. It has a multitude of extracurricular clubs and activities that provide opportunities for all of its students. Examples: Gay-Straight Alliance, Chess Club, Writers Workshop, D & D Club, Ski Club, Youth Advisory Council, Student Senate, Clay Target Club, Peer to Peer, which provides an academically advanced student the opportunity to work alongside an academically struggling student on a daily basis. As well as a multitude of sports not only within its district but as a partnership with other local school districts to expand offerings.

Ensuring Academic Excellence

NBHS has a benevolent fund to ensure that all students have the same opportunities regarding field trips, resources, and needs. These funds are provided by the local grocery store. The school follows a multi-tiered system of support for all students that provides intervention through advanced courses. It has an “at risk” team that meets bi-weekly to assess the needs of any student who is showing a pattern of concern (attendance, academic, or behavioral). The team creates a support plan that is supported by its administrative, counseling, and student advocate team. NBHS has a Student Advocate who works alongside its at-risk students.

NBHS provides parents the opportunity to be involved in decision-making through committees. It also has volunteer opportunities to work with students as academic tutors, advisors, and coaches. It hosts community events annually, such as its Empty Bowls Dinner, which raises money for Blessings in a Backpack. The school also has a pottery club that allows its students to become mentors to those interested in creating pottery. The pottery is then used as part of the Empty Bowls Dinner. NBHS hosts “coffee chats” with the principal on a monthly basis to provide parents the opportunity to meet and discuss issues.

Fostering Active Participation

NBHS encourages active participation and communication between the school, parents, and the community with the following strategies:

  • Weekly newsletter posted on social media and email
  • District-wide app
  • Power announcements to all parents
  • OK to Say – anonymous reporting of safety concerns
  • Host parent/teacher conferences three times per year
  • Host Back to School Night
  • Host community-wide fundraising events such as the Empty Bowls Give Back, Annual 5K event, and Blood Drives
  • NBHS has a student who sits on the School Board to provide the voice of the students.
  • The school provides its schoolwork out facilities, workout rooms, walking track, tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts, as well as gymnasiums and skate park for free to the public before and after school as well as on weekends.

Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

The school has graduated students who continue their extracurricular sports at the collegiate level. Its particular highlight is a female student who advanced to the Olympic tryouts in Track and Field. It has also had two additional female athletes advance to Division #1 Track and Field, with one becoming the Big Ten Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The school also has students who have been members of its Robotics Club and have been provided internship opportunities with Whirlpool and other local industries.

NBHS has received notable recognitions, awards, or accreditations, including:

  • #2 Best teachers in the state of Michigan -Niche 2023
  • #4 Best place to teach in Michigan -Niche 2023
  • #15 Best schools in Michigan -Niche 2023

It has also received the award of US News & World Report in 2022 as a “high national ranking in 2022 Best High Schools, which U.S. News released recently. By earning a national ranking in the top 40 percent, New Buffalo High School achieved status as a U.S. News Best High School. NBHS was ranked #72 out of 908 public high schools in Michigan.” Along with this, the school has received: Top performing high schools in Berrien County (within the Top 5 in all areas as measured by standardized test scores). The school has received the award of National Blue Ribbon High School 2019.

Its school improvement goal is to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum across all grade levels and content areas. It aims to continue to increase its academic achievements. NBHS tries to continue to support an environment that provides opportunities for all students to feel connected and supported. The school is also trying to increase its safety and emergency preparedness/protocols. NBHS has a mission to increase enrollment by offering attainable housing that is part of a school development project, as well as offering a school-sponsored childcare and preschool program that will support the growth of its student population.

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