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  • 1. 176 Raising Minority Academic Achievement Urban Elementary Schools A Summary of: Focus “Hope for Urban Education: A Study of Early Childhood 2 Primary School Nine High-Performing, High-Poverty, Urban Middle School Elementary Schools” (1999) U.S. Department Secondary School of Education – Office of the Undersecretary. Postsecondary Joseph F. Johnson, Jr. and Rose Asera, eds. 2 Extended Learning Overview The research focused on nine urban elementary POPULATION Student demographics varied. At 6 of the 9 schools that served students who evaluators schools, most students were African American, referred to as “children of color in poor at one school most students were Latino and at communities.” All 9 of the schools have used Title another, most were Asian. The majority of the I, school-wide programs. In addition, all the students qualified for free or reduced-price schools were located in urban areas and did not lunch; in 7 of the schools, at least 80% of the have selective admissions policies. Only two of the students met low-income criteria. Enrollments schools used nationally known, comprehensive ranged from 283 students at Baldwin school reform models; one used the Accelerated Elementary, in Boston, to 1,171 at Goodale School Program and another used Success for All. Elementary in Detroit. Three of the schools had more than 500 students. Although all of the The evaluators chose to write case studies about schools served elementary grades, they had these schools because they had achieved results on different grade level configurations, starting as state assessments of reading and mathematics that early as pre-kindergarten and ending as late as exceeded the average for all schools in their eighth grade. respective states. Key Findings M A school that successfully closed a wide gap between minority students’ test scores and “The true catalyst was the strong desire of other students’ test scores was Lora B. Peck educators to ensure the academic success of Elementary School in Houston. In 1995, no the children they served.” Latino students passed the writing section of — Joseph F. Johnson, et al., evaluators Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) while fewer than one in five African American the percentage of African American students students passed it. In contrast, in 1998, at least achieving the same standard was 56.3 90% of each population group — African percentage points lower. By contrast, four years American, Latino, white and economically later, at least 90% of all students, 90% of disadvantaged students — passed each section African American students, 90% of Latino of the test. students and 90% of low-income students passed the reading, writing and mathematics M Another school successful in closing the gap sections of the test. was Baskin Elementary School in San Antonio. In 1994, 81.3% of white students achieved the M In 1995, at Burgess Elementary School in passing standard in reading on the TAAS while Atlanta (where 99% of the student body is American Youth Policy Forum
  • 2. Raising Minority Academic Achievement 177 African American), 29% of students in grades 1-5 were scoring above the national norm in Percentage of Centerville Elementary Students Meeting or Exceeding State’s IGAP Goals for reading and 34% above the national norm in Grade Three mathematics on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). By 1998, 64% of students in grades 1-5 scored above the national norm in reading while 72% scored above the national norm in math. M At Baldwin Elementary in Boston, from 1996 to 1998, students’ Stanford-9 mathematics and reading scores improved substantially, with achievement shifting from Levels 1 & 2 (little or no mastery of basic knowledge and skills to partial mastery) to Levels 3 & 4 (solid academic performance and superior performance beyond grade level). reading between 1994-1998. In 1994, 17% of M At the third-grade level, a greater percentage of third-graders scored at or above the satisfactory Centerville Elementary students met or level. By 1998, 69% did, compared with 41.6% exceeded statewide performance goals for statewide. reading and mathematics as measured by the Illinois Goal Assessment Program that took M One hundred percent of students in third grade students throughout Illinois. One hundred at Hawley Elementary School in Milwaukee percent of third graders tested, met or exceeded passed the Wisconsin Reading Comprehension state goals in mathematics (see graph). Test in 1998, compared with 25% passing throughout Milwaukee public schools. M In Detroit, students at Goodale Elementary once performed below the state average and in 1998 M Students at James Ward Elementary School in scored above it on the Michigan Educational Chicago have shown long-term progress in Assessment Program (MEAP). In 1993-94, achievement on the ITBS. In 1991, the 22.4% of students scored satisfactorily on percentage of Ward students scoring at or above MEAP, compared with 43.6% statewide; in the 50th percentile on the ITBS reading 1997-98, 65% did, compared with 58.6% assessment was 18.9% while it was 42.6% on statewide. Similarly, students at the Gladys math. In spring of 1998, 51.2% of Ward Noon Spellman Elementary School in Cheverly, students scored at or above the 50th percentile MD improved considerably on the Maryland in reading while more than 63% scored at or State Performance Assessment Program in above the 50th percentile in math. American Youth Policy Forum
  • 3. 178 Raising Minority Academic Achievement Program Components These were all public schools that used federal Title I dollars to create Title I school-wide programs. They “Even though there are far too many well- pooled all of their resources to improve achievement documented stories of intellectually vapid throughout the entire school instead of targeting federal schools that perpetuate cycles of poverty resources to only those children who met eligibility and further limit the life choices of criteria based on financial need. Though achievement- children, there are some urban schools boosting initiatives varied from school-to-school, there that are giving new life to their were some common components: communities and transforming the futures of the children they serve.” M A visible and attainable, initial goal helped schools — Joseph F. Johnson, et al., evaluators move toward broader, more ambitious goals. M A sense of responsibility was fostered among M Professional development for teachers was students for appropriate behavior, cutting down added in tandem with school-wide or curriculum on time spent with discipline and enhancing changes. School leaders made sure that instructional time. teachers felt like they had adequate materials, equipment and training. M The use of data helped schools to identify, acknowledge and celebrate strengths while M Confidence and respect of parents was pursued focusing attention and resources on areas of need. by educators, primarily by improving the achievement of students. M Instruction was aligned to the standards and assessments required by the state and/or the school district. Contributing Factors Instructional Coaching them to meet these expectations. One of the Principals tended to spend a large percentage of most important supports was time for school their time in the classrooms observing teachers, personnel to align instruction to standards and reinforcing good teaching techniques and helping to assessments. improve instruction. Some schools created a new “instructional guide” position, separate from other High Quality Training administrative positions. Instructional guides provided Principals and school decision-making committees instructional coaching and support for teachers. had high quality training that helped them use data to focus resources on critical areas of Clear Accountability instructional need. The schools created “clear, measurable and rigorous school accountability provisions,” observed the Extended Learning Time evaluators. A focus on adequate yearly progress, The schools had resources that enabled them to they added, was insufficient. increase the quantity of time available for instruction. The evaluators cited after-school Capacity-Building Strategies programs, “Saturday Schools” and extended-year States and districts set high expectations for the programs as important vehicles for ensuring that schools but also provided adequate support for students met challenging standards. American Youth Policy Forum
  • 4. Raising Minority Academic Achievement 179 STUDY METHODOLOGY Burgess Elementary School, Atlanta, GA; Teams of researchers made two-day visits to all 9 Centerville Elementary School, East St. Louis, IL; schools during which they interviewed campus Goodale Elementary School, Detroit, MI; Hawley and district administrators, teachers, parents and Environmental Elementary School, Milwaukee, other school personnel. They also observed WI; Lora B. Peck Elementary School, Houston, classrooms, hallways, playgrounds and various TX; Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School, meetings. Finally, they reviewed various school Cheverly, MD and James Ward Elementary documents and achievement data. School, Chicago, IL. EVALUATION & PROGRAM FUNDING CONTACT INFORMATION The U.S. Department of Education funded the Research Contacts evaluation. The schools were all public schools Mary Ragland that used federal Title I dollars to create Title I The Charles A Dana Center school-wide programs. The University of Texas at Austin 2901 North IH-35, Suite 2.200 GEOGRAPHIC AREAS Austin, TX 78722-2348 The high-performing, urban schools selected Phone: 512.471.6190 were: Harriet A. Baldwin School, Boston, MA; Fax: 512.471.6193 Baskin Elementary School, San Antonio, TX; mragland@mail.utexas.edu PROGRAM CONTACTS LaWanna Goodwin, Principal Janet Lopez, Principal William Batchelor, Principal Lora B. Peck Gladys Noon Spellman Goodale Elementary School Elementary School Elementary School 9835 Dickerson St 5130 Arvilla Ln 3324 64th Ave Detroit, MI 48213 Houston, TX 77021 Cheverly, MD 20785 Phone: 313.852.8500 Phone: 713.845.7463 Phone: 301.925.1944 Burnett Butler, Principal Robert Helminiak, Principal Carmen Payne, Principal Centerville Elementary School Hawley Environmental Baskin Elementary School 3429 Camp Jackson Rd Elementary School 630 Crestview Dr East St Louis, IL 62206 5610 W Wisconsin Ave San Antonio, TX 78201 Phone: 618.332.3727 Milwaukee, WI 53213 Phone: 210.735.5921 Phone: 414.475.7096 Gwendolyn Carter, Principal Sharon Wilcher, Principal Burgess Elementary School Suzanne Lee, Principal James Ward Elementary 480 Clifton St SE Harriet A. Baldwin School School Atlanta, GA 30316 121 Corey Road 2701 S Shields Ave Phone: 404.371.4853 Brighton, MA 02135 Chicago, IL 60616 Phone: 617.635.8460 Phone: 773.534.9050 American Youth Policy Forum