It can be done! Look what an elementary school in Kansas City, Kansas, did. A new principal, some staff changes, a new attitude, and a grant from SIG, the Schools Improvement Program–and a school that went from 45% of students in the warning area for reading to just 2% low scorers.
Kudos to everyone who made this happen: prinicpal, teachers and support staff, and parents. You made it happen!
To be honest, I do not understand why more schools did not take advantage of a change model. Sometimes, it takes moving only a few people to make a difference. Get rid of the chronic complainers who make little or no effort to change, and you are left with people who are willing to learn and make changes in their environment that places the students and their needs first. Too many schools that received SIG funds did so by attempting changes through other models. I would be interested to see what progress was made overall by SIG category. Maybe the information is forthcoming…
Below is a link to a Huffington Post education blog that poses what is probably one of our biggest educational problems: the achievement and retention of low-income (especially in inner-city areas) students. One of the blogger’s statements clearly addresses the need to treat this block of students as an entity, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background. A brief search on this issue uncovers a lot of commentary, but little in the way of research and support. All we see in research is the relationship between poverty and academic achievement, but too little on the whys of this gap. Are low-income students getting equity? Are alternative schools meeting students’ needs? Are we, as a nation, doing enough to address the daily hurdles these students must clear?
If your school is not yet investing in teaching and using technology in the classroom, this US Department of Education report may be the impetus needed to spur the school on to this task. Digital technology is the future of education, so students need to know how to use it effectively for learning. This report on using digital technology as part of the educational experience in science–especially science labs–is an important and necessary item to review. Although the National Center for Education Statistics report came out in 2009, its existence is again released by NEAP to remind schools of the importance of digital technology in education, especially science education.
From this NEAP report (National Assessment of Educational Progress):
For the first time, the NAEP science assessment also included interactive computer tasks in science. While performing the interactive computer and hands-on tasks, students manipulate objects and perform actual experiments, offering us richer data on how students respond to scientific challenges. Several key discoveries were observed.
Students were successful on parts of investigations that involved limited sets of data and making straightforward observations of that data.
Students were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data.
The percentage of students who could select correct conclusions from an investigation was higher than for those students who could select correct conclusions and also explain their results.