National PTA's Sherri Wilson shares resources to engage families in minimizing summer learning loss.
Over the past few weeks, Public School Insights has been interviewing signers of a recent statement calling for a "Broader, Bolder Approach to Education"--an approach that combines ambitious school improvement strategies with out-of-school supports for student achievement--such as early childhood education, after-school programs, and health services for children.
A few days ago, we had the privilege of interviewing Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman, a signer whose recent work on topics such as graduation rates and the benefits of early childhood education has attracted close attention from education advocates. ...
Over the past week, Public School Insights has been interviewing the distinguished co-chairs of the high-profile task force behind a new campaign calling for a "Broader, Bolder Approach to Education." As we noted in an earlier post, the task force is advocating for a set of policies to reform schools while offsetting the social and economic disadvantages that contribute to academic achievement gaps.
I recently spoke with campaign co-chair Helen Ladd, a prominent professor of economics and public policy at Duke University. Like co-chairs Pedro Noguera and Tom Payzant, Ladd argues that schools alone cannot close achievement gaps--The nation needs aggressive school reform strategies as well as policies to minimize the impact of poverty on student performance. ...
Currently a professor of practice at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, Tom Payzant has been around the educational block. He has served as an Assistant Secretary of Education under President Clinton, and as superintendent of schools in Boston, San Diego, Oklahoma City, Eugene (Oregon), and Springfield (Pennsylvania). In Boston, he was credited with narrowing achievement gaps and presiding over the largest improvement in mathematics scores of any major urban district participating in the National Assessment of Education Progress Trial Urban District Assessment. He has received many leadership awards, including Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year, and published extensively, promoting academic reforms to both professional educators and policymakers. Recently, he also served as co-chair of the task force that released a statement promoting "A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education." ...
Pedro Noguera is a professor at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, a leading authority on school reform, and a co-chair of the task force that recently released a statement promoting "A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education." As I wrote in an earlier post, the statement calls for policies to reduce the educational, economic and social disadvantages that depress the academic achievement of our most vulnerable students.
Noguera recently took some time to tell me about the content and goals of the task force's work, and to address criticisms of the statement that have been circulating through some education policy blogs: namely, that the task force is letting schools off the hook and shying away from hard-hitting education reforms. ...
A diverse coalition of more than 60 experts in education, health, civil rights, economics and other fields just released a joint statement calling for "a broader, bolder approach to education" that includes policies to reduce the economic and social disadvantages that exacerbate academic achievement gaps. While continuing to urge school improvement efforts, their approach promotes early childhood education, after-school and summer opportunities, physical health, character, social development, creativity, and effective citizenship.
According to the coalition's ads in the New York Times and Washington Post, "Some schools have demonstrated unusual effectiveness. But even they cannot, by themselves, close the entire gap between students from different backgrounds in a substantial, consistent and sustainable manner on the full range of academic and non-academic measures by which we judge student success." ...
Story posted March 12, 2012
- 95% of eligible four-year-olds now attend free, high-quality pre-school classes
- District teachers consistently report that children who have attended pre-school are well prepared for entry into kindergarten
The School District of La Crosse, Wisconsin believes that well-prepared four-year-olds make the best kindergarten students. For the last ten years, they've put time and effort into getting all four-year-olds access to pre-school programs. And they've seen results.
Prior to 2001, children attended private pre-schools or childcare centers, if their parents could afford it. Head Start or Title I programs offered options for low-income families, but the school district Title I program could only accommodate 150 to 160 four-year-olds and had to turn children away every year (63.8% of students in the district are economically disadvantaged). In addition, interaction between the school district and other early childhood providers in the community was limited.
Ten years later, an estimated 95 percent of eligible four-year-olds now attend free, high quality pre-school classes in a variety of school-based and community settings throughout ...
Story posted May 26, 2011
Every year the American School Board Journal (with the National School Boards Association and Sodexo) features Magna Awards to recognize excellent school district leadership. The following district is a 2011 winner.
- During each of the two years the program, 98 percent of the attendees in the pre-K through second grade program showed improvement on assessments.
- In letter-sound fluency, there has been a 17 percent increase in first-grade scores over the two years.
- Second-graders who have been in the program for only one year have made a 5 percent gain in reading comprehension.
A significant number of Valley Stream 30 students were entering third grade reading below grade level. The intensive allocation of resources needed to remediate older students meant fewer resources could be spent on other programs. The district wanted to break a cycle of putting so much effort into helping children catch up rather than in helping them excel. Also, demographics were changing. An increasing number of new students did not speak English. District leaders knew they needed to strategically address these students’ needs early on or else the learning gap would ...
Story posted February 23, 2010
• Participants outperform their peers on fall DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) testing in kindergarten
• Significant academic and social gains are seen at the individual level
In the 1990s, we at Davenport Community Schools noticed a trend: Children were coming to kindergarten unprepared to learn. A troublingly low number of our district’s children (more than half of whom receive free or reduced price lunch) had preschool experience. Recognizing the importance of early childhood education in ensuring students are ready to succeed in school and life, we developed the Children’s Village.
Children’s Village, launched in 1998, includes formal preschool classes and all-day, year-round programming serving children from six weeks to five years old at five sites. We encourage participation by families of all economic and social backgrounds. Services are in great demand—we have a waiting list of hundreds of families.
Funding this model was a significant challenge. We historically had two targeted sources of ...
Story posted January 13, 2009
• More than 50% of entering kindergarteners know the alphabet, up from 4% seven years ago
• Only 2.1% of kindergarteners needed specialized educational services in May 2008, down from 12% in 2002
• 73% of first graders were reading at grade level in 2008, up from 52% in 2002
Through an innovative partnership between the Bremerton (Washington) School District, Head Start, and community preschools and childcare centers, more than 50 percent of youngsters in this small urban school district start kindergarten knowing the alphabet.
But that wasn’t always the case. Just seven years ago, only 4 percent of Bremerton’s incoming kindergarteners knew their letters, compared to 60 percent of children nationwide. Bremerton’s students, 59 percent of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, were behind the academic curve even before they stepped into a classroom. ...
A story about Canton City and Minerva Local (Stark) School Districts, Ohio
Story posted August 27, 2008
• 84% of participating parents are now at or above the national median in terms of engagement in academic stimulation
• SPARK kids do significantly better on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy (KRA-L) than non-SPARK kids
"Who doesn't want their students to come to school ready to learn?" asked Joni T. Close, senior program director at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton. What parent, what principal, what superintendent and what school board member would disagree? But what influence do public schools have on their future students before they enter the schoolhouse door?
A lot, if you ask folks at the Canton City and Minerva Local (Stark) school districts. ...
A VISION FOR GREAT SCHOOLS
On this website, educators, parents and policymakers from coast to coast are sharing what's already working in public schools--and sparking a national conversation about how to make it work for children in every school. Join the conversation!