Ten Strategies from High Growth Schools Mary Chorewycz Marian Heinrichs Kent Pekel Office of Research and Development Promising Practices Project: April 2005
Set High Expectations Students know where they stand & Where they’re headed Promising Practices Extend Instruction in Key Subjects During the Day Speak the Same Language & Move in The same Direction Differentiate Instruction Based on Student Needs Enhance Instruction With Volunteers Pull In Rather than Pull Out Involve Parents In Raising Student Achievement Build a Culture of Respect Extend the School Day & Year
1. Set High Expectations We make sure that our children are in an academically rigorous environment, no matter what their skill level • High expectations for everyone – staff, students, and parents
2. Let Students Know Where They Stand and Where They’re Headed Students are tested on the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) every eight weeks. They know the score needed to move to the next level and motivated to work hard to achieve that score.
3. Extend Instruction in Key Subjects during the School Day We have extended the math period to 70 minutes – we have added 15 minutes for skill building and test preparation. Our reading program is a consistent 90 minute block; this is sacred time with no pull outs. Everyone in the school does it.
4. Differentiate Instruction Based on Student Needs Every child is tested for reading level at the beginning of the year; by week three, we know what skills children have and what they need. Each child is taught at their level. There is a constant assessment of students and the analysis drives the instruction. Our math lead watches the kids on a daily basis to see where they could use more help. She will put together small groups of kids who need to develop the same skill.
5. Pull in Rather than Pull Out We don’t separate ELL; many of the students have the same characteristics as ELL, they have the same needs. We teach all students as ELL and group by ability. There are no pull outs; all students benefit from having two teachers in the room; ELL teachers are in the room for reading and writing.
6. Extend the School Day and Year Almost all our students from grades second through sixth attend ALC and summer school; the classroom teachers are the same teachers in these programs
7. Build a Culture of Respect We all follow the same rules for behavior. We have a great environment for learning; we encourage compassion; all teachers are involved with every kid and deal with any child in front of them. We hold kids to a high standard of conduct; no swearing, for example, and we model what we expect of them. It takes the pressure off when I don’t have to deal with behavior issues.
8. Involve Parents in Raising Student Achievement The school places an emphasis on building and maintaining relationships with families. Families are supported and expected to be involved in their child’s education.
9. Enhance Instruction with Volunteers We have partnerships with Century College, 3M, and the Mayor’s Initiative. The college students get a full day orientation in remedial reading and writing class (service learning approach); AmeriCorps coordinates this. For many of our students this is an important connection; positive adult time is really necessary for some of these kids.
10. Speak the Same Language and Move in the Same Direction Teachers collaborate and know what each other are working on. The IB-PYP and Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop are consistent with each other. Everyone gets involved. Students also have a voice. We build community in the classroom – kids feel honored for what they know. The principal empowers teachers so we have ownership; she is the “head teacher”.
Summary & Next Steps • The strategies of Promising Practices are best practice. • Promising Practices is a process, not an end product • “Focus on What Works”– Dr. Harvey