Join the conversation

...about what is working in our public schools.


Success Stories

Energizing Children's First Teachers

Scott Ebright, Ohio School Board Association Journal

A story about Canton City and Minerva Local (Stark) School Districts, Ohio

Story posted August 27, 2008

Spark Ohio Nwslttr 1 WEB.JPG

• 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. ...

Teachers Learning Together

Mary Russo, The Richard J. Murphy K-8 School, Massachusetts

Story posted July, 2008

• In 2005, 89% of students passed the Massachusetts math exam, up from less than 50% in 1999
• Now ranked in top 5% of Boston public schools on reading and math scores

In 1999, shortly before principal Mary Russo arrived at the Richard J. Murphy K-8 School in Dorchester, Mass., more than half the students failed the state math exam. Russo's mandate was to boost student achievement. To do so, she focused on establishing collaborative professional development practices that would help teachers learn from each other and work toward a common goal. With better instruction, she reasoned, those test scores would go up.

Teachers at Murphy now spend three times as many hours on professional development as the district requires. Every public school teacher in Massachusetts must ...

Community Helps Struggling School Reopen to Success

Coalition for Community Schools, on behalf of George Washington Community School, Indiana

Story posted July, 2008

• 10-15% average annual increase in standardized test scores for 4 years
• 100% of the school's first graduating students passed the math portion of the state Graduate Qualifying Exam and 90% passed the language arts portion (both district records)

It's hard to imagine that George Washington Community School was once struggling so badly that the school district had to close it. Today, the school is alive with activity and its students are thriving.

The transition did not happen overnight-and it would not have happened at all if it had not been for the powerful commitment and intensity of support from the community. The work to reopen the closed high school grew out of a grassroots desire by the community to provide an environment where young people, and their families, could succeed. Neighborhood residents envisioned a center of community collectively focused on improving graduation rates and preparing young people for post-secondary education. ...

Working and Learning Together as a Team

WestEd, on behalf of Granby High School, Virginia

Story posted July, 2008

• 90% of students passed the end-of-course test in Algebra II in 2007, up from 25% in 1998
• Narrowing the achievement gap - 84% of black and 85% of white students passed Algebra I in 2007

Granby High School is a large, urban, and diverse high school in Norfolk, Virginia, serving over 2,200 students, nearly half of whom are considered economically disadvantaged. Here students are enrolled in and passing high-level math classes including Calculus and Statistics. However, 10 years ago, few Granby students were taking advanced math cours­es, and of those who did, few passed. The school was described as "a high school in distress with low academic achievement and a high incidence of behavioral problems." Granby needed a change. School leaders recognized the need to push all of their students to reach higher levels in math, not only to be successful in postsecondary education, but to prepare for career opportunities as well. ...

Promoting Academic Success through Community Partnerships

Coalition for Community Schools, on behalf of George Middle School, Oregon

Story posted June 6, 2008

• 79% of students improved their academic performance
• 87% of students increased state benchmark scores in reading
• 76% of students increased state benchmark scores in math

Historically, George Middle School (a very diverse school with 87% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch) has been known as one of the lower performing schools in the state. Now, after becoming a community school, the school is showing steady growth on academic indicators. In particular, student test scores are at or above the state average. Multnomah County's Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) initiative, together with the school's lead agency, Metropolitan Family Service (MFS), have been instrumental in providing the supports and resources necessary to make this happen. ...

Helping Dropouts Return to School

American School Board Journal, on behalf of Clarke County School District, Georgia

Story posted May 28, 2008

• 94% of students improved their grades after coming to Classic City High School
• 97% of students improved their attendance
• 150 students have graduated, with one-third pursuing post-secondary educational options

Clarke County School District's community has approximately 1,500 students ages 16 to 22 who are not enrolled in school-a number equal to the enrollment of each of its traditional high schools. The majority of these students are black or Hispanic, and many live in poverty. Because a high school education is critical to finding economically viable employment and because Athens-Clarke County has persistent, intergenerational poverty, the district decided to offer a way for dropouts to earn their diplomas. ...

Transforming a School's Culture, One Snack at a Time

Jane Quigley, Dr. Crisp Elementary, New Hampshire

Story posted May, 2008

• Improved school's nutrition environment
• The school cafeteria orders 30% more produce to keep up with demand
• Pre and post- program surveys indicate children eat more fruit, play outside more often and drink less soda

Dr. Crisp Elementary is an inner-city school in Nashua, NH that enrolls 425 students from preschool to grade 5. More than 65% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In 2003, we had few guidelines regulating school nutrition. Children typically brought sugary snacks to schools. Classroom celebrations often included cupcakes, brownies and soda. The cafeteria's salad bar was empty.

In the fall of that year, the "Changing the Scene" program through the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension opened our eyes to the childhood obesity epidemic. Hardly a week went by without frightening reports on the health of today's children. We decided it was time take action. ...

Sayre High School and UPenn Join Forces to Improve Community's Health

Cory Bowman, Penn's Center for Community Partnerships, Pennsylvania

Story posted March, 2008

Sayre2.jpg Results:
• 50% drop in suspension rate
• 10% increase in attendance rate
• 90% of Family Fitness Night participants are eating healthier and exercising more

What do college students, an Ivy League university, an urban health crisis and teenagers living in poverty all have in common? Too many times, the answer is "not a thing" but at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia connections are being made that could very well save lives.

Responding to the issues that plagued his students - violence, gangs, drugs and a lack of access to basic health and dental care - the principal of Sayre School approached Penn's Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) in 2002 with the idea that having a health center on site would be a boon to the students and the community. Around the same time, a group of Penn undergraduates were focusing their efforts on helping to solve the healthcare crisis in West Philadelphia. The students' research and work with the community led them to propose the establishment of a community health promotion and disease prevention program at Sayre. ...

Arlington's Community Involvement Helps Students Succeed

Carlin Springs Elementary, Virginia

Story posted March, 2008

CarlinSrings.jpg Results:
• 95% of parents attending ESL classes related to the school attend parent-teacher conferences
• 400% growth in the number of children attending after-school enrichment programs, with 80% of those students showing academic gains

Imagine a school where teachers and parents work together to help children learn and develop; a place where local arts groups, businesses, faith-based organizations and county services all come together to improve the lives of young people and their families. At Carlin Springs Elementary School, in Arlington, VA, students are thriving because the school, county and the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families have come together to create a place that does all of this and more. ...

Community Engagement at the Center of Fair Street's Success

William Campbell, Fair Street Elementary, Gainesville, Georgia

Story posted February, 2008

• 91% of 5th graders passed the state reading test in 2006, up from 75% in 2003
• 94% of 3rd graders passed the state reading test in 2006, up from 76% in 2003
• School has made Adequate Yearly Progress 5 years in a row

As long as Fair Street Elementary School has been around, it has been the center of its community. When it was founded in 1937, the school was the only one to serve northeast Georgia's African American children before segregation. It was the heart of the community, holding community meetings, and social and athletic activities. While the Gainesville population has become more diverse over the years, Fair Street has held its place as the heart of its community.

Fair Street educates 601 students. Of these, 93% are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, 11% receive special needs services, 70% are English second-language learners, and 48% qualify for ESOL instruction. ...

Syndicate content