Spotlights on Success. Recognizing True School Achievement. Session 1. Words of Wisdom from Educators at Five Successful Arkansas Schools. Gary Ritter, Director, Office for Education Policy 1:00 PM-1:15 PM. AYP as a Measure of Success?.
Recognizing True School Achievement
Words of Wisdom
from Educators at Five
Successful Arkansas Schools
Gary Ritter, Director,
Office for Education Policy
1:00 PM-1:15 PM
Schools starting off as low performing schools can make huge gains and continue to be labeled as “failing” while schools making much smaller gains may still be classified as “successful” just because they started from a higher point on the scale.
It is possible for schools to contribute greatly to student achievement and still be identified as “failing” even though that school has made significant gains above and beyond the gains seen from other schools in the state including many schools which have never failed to make AYP.
One way for this to happen is for a school to have strong gains over what would be expected based on the school’s demographics. We will first look at the information for two such high gaining schools.
-25 Math in 2006
-13 Math in 2010
Howard FRL: 95% Enroll: 354
Ark FRL: 59%
Successful making continuing gains with low-SES and minority students .
+6 Math in 2010
-18 Math in 2006
MT FRL: 78% Enroll: 343
Ark FRL: 59%
Successful making continuing gains with rural, low-SES students .
More than twice the state’s growth.
Another issue with NCLB is that there is no incentive for schools to encourage students to move beyond proficiency. Many schools focus on the “bubble kids” and below basic students to the detriment of the students who have been labeled proficient.
A major goal of any educational policy should be to encourage growth for all students. We now highlight a school which has continually moved students from proficient up to advanced.
Salem FRL: 33% Enroll: 384
Ark FRL: 59%
Successful making continuing gains and moving students from proficient to advanced.
One of the positive outcomes of NCLB has been the requirement to report results by subpopulation. Before NCLB, schools could hide the fact that a particular subpopulation within the school was not being adequately served by boosting the scores of the main population.
Minority students were especially likely to be a hidden, underserved population. Due to the testing requirements of NCLB, we can now identify not only those school under serving subpopulations, but recognize those who are making great achievements with these students.
Bragg FRL: 68% Enroll: 384
Ark FRL: 59%
Outperformed all state subpopulations!
GH FRL: 87% Enroll: 461
Ark FRL: 59%
Anesa Thompson, Superintendent, Marked Tree
Jane Stewart, Counselor, Howard Elementary
Jenny Humble, Teacher, Grace Hill Elementary
Mark Scarlett, Principal, Salem Elementary
Terri McCann, Principal, Bragg Elementary
Velmar Greene, Principal, Howard Elementary
1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Your school has been identified as a high performing school despite several demographic factors that might typically hinder growth in other schools. How have you been so successful?
What are some of the key components of your school culture? How did you (and your team) develop this culture?
What is the keystone ingredient to your school’s success without which this school could not function at the level it does?
You have had success recruiting and develop quality teachers at your school. What do you by way of recruitment, retention, and training for the teachers at your school that aid in the development of high quality instruction?
Characteristics of Successful Schools and Implications for Practice
2:30 PM-2:45 PM
Several common themes began to emerge in each of these different schools despite the fact that each had their own unique style.
Visible, Supportive, and Pro-Active Leadership
Teachers Focused on Achievement and Supported by Autonomy
Culture of Success Permeating Entire School
Collaborative Environment for Entire School Family
“Teachers here know that if they work here, they can teach, and I’ll take care of the discipline so they focus on the classroom.”
[Since using data], “we are more focused on student achievement, and there is less adult drama.”
“Every child is the same in expectation level, but not in story.”
Orderly, but intellectually active, classrooms were common at each of these schools.
Most observers would have pegged these schools as positive learning environments before seeing any graphs or tables highlighting the test score growth that has occurred over the past several years.
“We are do-ers here.”
“I feel like I am an expert.”
“I can train anyone with a degree…to be an effective instructor. What I really look for in hiring job candidates is a passion for children and a fit with our school culture.”
Situating the Case Study
Results in the Broader Research
Dr. Joshua Barnett, Arizona State University
Dr. John Pijanowski, University of Arkansas
3:10 PM - 3:20 PM