Myth busters

Education Trust’s 2008 Dispelling the Myth schools have succeeded in educating low-income, minority students:

· – Graham Road Elementary School in Falls
Church, Va.;

· – Norfork Elementary School in Norfork, Ark.;

· – Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in
Boston, Mass.; and

· – Wells Elementary School in Steubenville,

How do they do it?  These schools have high expectations reflected in a rich curriculum, says Education Trust. Data is used to track student progress and individual student needs. Teachers’ ability to provide strong, focused instruction is supported by “purposeful” professional development.

I was very impressed by Roxbury Prep when I visited last year. Most students are behind when they start as sixth graders; they’re expected to average two years of progress every year so they’ll be at or above grade level when they go on to high school.

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  1. Cardinal Fang says:

    An extended school day and an extended school year are key parts of Our School‘s success. I can’t tell about the elementary schools, but Roxbury does have an extended school year: students who don’t make two years of progress in a school year have to attend summer school. How does that work for students who are expected to work for pay to help their families?

  2. Roxbury Prep is a middle school, so most students don’t have jobs.

    At Downtown College Prep, many students do have part-time jobs, despite the longer school day. One incentive to pass all your classes is that you’ll be able to work full-time in the summer instead of going to summer school and working part-time. These kids often have a great paid work ethic; the challenge is to transfer that work ethic to academic work.

  3. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Is there any data on how these successful schools relate to or involve parents, especially the parents of the younger children?

  4. Cardinal Fang says:

    I didn’t mean to criticize the schools for the longer day and year. I just want to observe that accountability is important in turning around failing schools, but it’s not the magic wand. To catch up, students have to spend more time in school. That means teachers have to spend more time in school. There are not millions of teachers lining up to work longer hours for the same salary they’re getting now. Therefore, to turn these schools from failing schools to successful schools, if we want to do it on a large scale, we have to pay more.