Closing the gap in Chicago
Two Chicago charter schools are closing the achievement gap for low-income, black children, according to a new book, The Ambitious Elementary School.
“They greatly expanded the school day, week, and year,” writes Daniel Hamlin. “Weekdays begin with before-school tutoring at 7:00 a.m. and end with after-school enrichment classes at 6:00 p.m. There are also academic and enrichment courses for several hours on Saturdays.”
In the “shared, systematic” model, teachers receive “intensive guidance” from an instructional coordinator and follow “an explicit series of learning progressions in math and reading,” writes Hamlin. Teachers meet with the coordinator to discuss how to align instruction and respond to students’ individual learning needs.
Students also receive ongoing socioemotional support from a full-time social worker, and a full-time parent engagement director is expected to coordinate with school staff, families, and students on a continuous basis.
The schools’ black students, who’d started in the lowest quartile of test scores, advanced to the 46th percentile in reading and math for white students, essentially closing the racial achievement gap.
Per-student funding is $2,000 to $3,000 higher per student than in district schools.
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