The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states and localities to seek educators' expertise when crafting new policies, but it gives few details on how to do so. LFA has proposed ...
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Story posted August 19, 2008. Story updated April, 24, 2012.
• 60% of students enroll in honors classes, with 26% in AP classes
• The school's pass rate on the state algebra exam, at 88%, exceeds the state's by four points; the pass rate for English met the state's at 82%.
Data-driven decision-making, targeted staff development, collaborative leadership, and the sheer will of committed staff members have launched Wheaton High School on a promising trajectory. Located in Montgomery County, MD, a predominately affluent area that has more than 20 high schools, Wheaton (which is 51% Hispanic, 26% African American, and 37% free or reduced price lunch) has always received attention, but unfortunately, for many years the attention focused on lackluster student achievement. ...
Story posted June, 2008. Results updated September 30, 2014.
School improvement demands focus. Staff members at James Cashman Middle School in Las Vegas (where 100% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) believe that student achievement comes from challenging every student and ensuring that no student is overlooked. ...
Story posted September 25, 2008. Results updated January 22, 2012.
• While serving a student population that is 97% free or reduced price lunch, the school outperformed the state in math in grades 4 through 8 in 2011.
• In English/Language Arts, the school outperformed the state in grades 4 through 7 in 2011.
• One highlight: 83% of 8th graders met or exceeded state standards in math, compared with just 60% statewide in 2011.
Osmond A. Church Elementary School, otherwise known as PS / MS 124, sits so close to John F. Kennedy Airport that some at the school refer to it as "Hanger 12." It is appropriate, then, that achievement scores have "taken off" in recent years and continue to soar within all subgroup populations.
How has this been accomplished, one might ask? It began in 1999 when the school applied to New York State for a Comprehensive School Reform Grant. The school community chose to embrace E.D. Hirsch's "Core Knowledge Program," which was developed on the basis of scientific research. ...
Story posted April, 2008. Updated December, 2011.
Young people have a voice in Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes the city of Portland. When the county began planning a community school initiative, not only did young people contribute ideas, they also named it. The name they chose, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods, or SUN schools, reflects the belief that schools, working with their communities can do more than just teach math and reading, they transform neighborhoods and help young people succeed. ...
Story posted June, 2008, Updated December, 2011
The story of Lincoln's community school movement begins in 1999, when the notion of "community learning centers" (CLC), synonymous with community schools, peaked the interest of the Foundation for the Lincoln Public Schools (FLPS), a local education fund affiliated with the Public Education Network (PEN). This interest grew with a visit that key Lincoln stakeholders took to the Local Investment Commission in Kansas City to look at their Caring Communities work, another model of community schooling. ...
Story posted July 25, 2011
Franklin Middle School is located in the heart of an economically challenged neighborhood in the small urban city of Champaign in central Illinois. Though staffed by dedicated adults and attended by hardworking students, Franklin is recovering from a difficult past.
As a result of years of racial discord, segregation, and lawsuits, in January 2002, the Champaign Unit 4 School District adopted a judicial consent decree outlining an educational equity agreement. Key points included establishing processes for parental choice of schools and increased community involvement. ...
Story posted March, 2008
Story updated February, 2011
Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Tuscaloosa City Schools and community organizations have joined efforts to provide pre-kindergarten education to help at-risk children get off to a quick start when they begin school. Tuscaloosa was named the Alabama winner in the 2008 National Civic Star Award competition as a result of the program, and the program continues to thrive. ...
Story posted December 9, 2010
• In both 2009 and 2010, Alcott's students outperformed their peers in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
• In 2010, Alcott's fifth-graders outperformed their peers across the state in reading, math and science
Louisa May Alcott serves a challenging population: 100 percent of students are economically disadvantaged and about a third are designated as special education. Students often enroll with emotional and social problems, difficult family issues and low academic achievement. But thanks to an outstanding faculty and staff, these hurdles are by no means insurmountable. On the 2009 state assessment, Alcott students outperformed Cleveland students in general: 77 percent scored proficient in reading, compared with 49 percent districtwide. Similarly, 75 percent of Alcott students were proficient in math, compared with 41 percent of students who were proficient districtwide. The results for special needs students were just as impressive—in both math and reading, Alcott students significantly outperformed their peers districtwide.
Regional superintendent Cliff Hayes Jr. has lauded the leadership of the school, noting its “culture of ‘we.’”¹ Alcott principal Eileen Stull is known for consensus building and collaboration, as well as her open-door policy for continued conversations about curriculum and instruction. Yet Stull is hesitant to take credit; she attributes the school’s success to students’ families and her staff. She says, “Honestly, I have the most fabulous teachers here.”² Parents appreciate the community atmosphere, saying that Stull seems to ...
Story posted November 17, 2010
• Once the lowest performing elementary school in its district, now one of the highest
• Over the past five years, the school has shown significant growth on every state test administered
John Muir Elementary is the oldest of the Merced City Schools. Just five years ago, we were the lowest performing elementary school in the district. Today, we are one of the highest.
Our school serves about 500 children in preschool through Grade 5. 86% of our students receive free or reduced price lunch. Most live in rentals, low cost apartments and multi-family dwellings within walking distance of school; however, approximately 200 children are bused to Muir daily from the “unhoused” Loughborough area.
Our families are not only stricken by poverty, but they also experience generational gangs, drug use and violence. We have an abundance of grandparents struggling to parent their children’s children and students in and out of foster care.
Yet we at John Muir believe our students can learn, and we work to develop relationships with our students and families so they believe that as well. And we celebrate our students. We celebrate Perfect Attendance, growth on formative assessments and ...
Story posted June 18, 2010
• The intervention moved students at the 50th percentile up to or near the 75th, and students at the 25th up to or near the 50th
• While the intervention ends in 5th grade, positive effects continue to be seen in middle-school test scores
An innovative program out of Boston College is making a big difference for children in 11 Boston elementary schools. City Connects (CCNX) works with the schools to link each child to a "tailored set of intervention, prevention and enrichment services located in the community."
Its efforts have gone a good distance towards closing achievement gaps between the low-income children in the program and children who meet state averages. CCNX's results offer powerful support for what should be common sense: When we address the challenges poor students face both within and beyond schools, they flourish.
A rigorous study (PDF) of the program's outcomes tells a pretty stunning story:
We recently caught up with two of the program's leaders: Dr. Mary Walsh, its Executive Director, and Patrice DiNatale, its Director of Practice.
Public School Insights: What is City Connects?
Walsh: City Connects is a systemic, evidence-based approach to school-based student support. It involves assessing, in conversation with teachers and other school staff, each child in the school at the beginning of the school year and then developing a tailored student support plan based on that student's strengths and needs in four areas: academic, social emotional/behavioral, health and family.
That support plan involves accessing services, supports, resources and enrichment for the child, both school-based resources as well as, and importantly, community resources. A trained professional with a Master’s degree—either ...