Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Schools Should Learn from Effective Schools

Granted, there are many problems with simply trying to emulate in one school with a select group of students the same practice, producing the same results, in another entirely different school with a different select group of students.  However, that's not to say we can't learn from success - a point well-made by Greg Anrig - From Health-Care Reform, Lessons for Education Policy.  I don't always agree with Greg, but I like the way he thinks. Interesting findings from a UChicago consortium that studied effective schools:

The consortium identified five key organizational features to advancing student achievement:
• A coherent instructional guidance system, in which the curriculum, study materials, and assessments are coordinated within and across grades with meaningful teacher involvement;
• An effective system to improve professional capacity, including making teachers' classroom work public for examination by colleagues and external consultants, and to enable ongoing support and guidance for teachers;
• Strong parent-community-school ties, with an integrated support network for students;
• A student-centered learning climate that identifies and responds to difficulties any child may be experiencing;
• Leadership focused on cultivating teachers, parents, and community members so that they become invested in sharing overall responsibility for the school's improvement.

There was also research from the National Center for Educational Achievement which offered these common characteristics of successful schools:

The common practices they found in those schools included a high degree of engagement between administrators and teachers in developing and selecting instructional materials, assessments, and pedagogical approaches; embedded time in the workweek for teacher collaboration to improve instruction; an openness among teachers to being observed and advised; close monitoring by administrators and teachers of testing data to identify areas where students needed additional support; and personnel who dedicate time to extensive outreach to parents and coordination with community groups and social-service providers.

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