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School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States
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School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States



by Michele Cahill

by Michele Cahill



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School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States Presentation Transcript

  • School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States Presentation to the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Secondary Education Michele Cahill, Carnegie Corporation March 2008
  • Goal: Raise Graduation Rates and Raise Academic Achievement Problem: Low and Stagnant Graduation Rates
    • Labor market shifts place educational attainment as the key driver of individual success. YET,
    • Approximately 20 percent of the American youth fail to earn a high school diploma or GED by age 19.
    • Achievement gaps persist, most dramatically seen in the low and static high school graduation rates of African American and Latino students, especially males.
    • About 50 percent of African American and Hispanic students graduate by age 19.
  • Reform Example: New York City
    • Largest urban district in the United States; 1,100,000 students, approximately 300,000 in high school
    • 50% graduation rate persisted throughout the decade 1992-2002;
    • Driven by large, low-performing high schools with majority of low-income students:
    • 16 large, high poverty high schools enrolled ~60,000 students and averaged 35% graduation rates.
    View slide
  • Persistent Challenge in Old Schools
    • Previous reform attempts --professional development for teachers, strengthening curriculum, and dropout prevention—failed in the face of resistance and low capacity manifested in –
    • Low expectations for students, a pervasive sense that students were too far behind to learn demanding high school curriculum
    • Weak articulation of mission and few shared norms and values between adults and students
    • Isolation – schools from external assets, teachers from one another, student anonymity
    • Emphasis on deficits and fragmented programs rather than on assets and resiliency
    • Low internal accountability and learned helplessness
    • Chaotic and disorganization of management
    • Churn of principals and teachers and disproportionate proportion of lower capacity teachers assigned
    View slide
  • The Rationale for Reform NYC: 51% Avg.: 35% 4 Year Graduation Rate (Class of 2002) The four-year graduation rate for the Class of 2002 was 35% at phase out schools, well below the citywide average of 51%.
  • NYC Reform Strategy: New Designs for Schools and for the System
    • Set High Expectations, Increase Accountability and Raise Quality of Talent by Opening the System to Energy and Intellectual Capital from Within and Outside
      • Raise graduation requirements (aggressively counter low expectations)
      • End the failure –Close the set of lowest performing schools
      • Open the system –Replace low performing high schools with new small schools, created to a set of design principles of effective schools through partnership models and charter school operators
  • New Schools: Objectives
    • Provide new, high quality educational options for all students
    • Attract new resources to public schools –intellectual, human, social and financial capital
    • Recruit new leadership talent through opportunities for autonomy-accountability exchange
  • Core NYC Strategy
    • Develop and open new schools that share 3 common elements:
        • Personalization
        • Academic rigor
        • Partnerships with school development organizations or charters AND for individual schools with community and cultural organizations and/or higher education
  • Process: Competition through a Request for Proposals to Create Schools to Meet Design Principles
    • Design Principles – Critical Elements of a Good School from Research
    • A mission that teachers, administrators and students know and support
    • Strong leadership that supports effective instruction
    • High expectations for all students with a clear definition of the knowledge, skills and personal attributes students should develop
    • Caring and respectful relationships between teachers and students with every student known well by an adult
    • Qualified teachers who have opportunities to form a professional community
    • A rigorous standards-based curriculum that prepares students for postsecondary education and the workplace
    • A well-defined approach to instruction with engaging instructional strategies
    • Assessment of student work and a culture of continuous improvement
    • Active roles for students
    • Clear pathways to post-secondary education , careers and civic participation
    • Ability to direct fiscal resources for effective teaching and learning
    • Accountability, both internally and externally, for individual student success.
  • Size
    • Research finding---small school size creates more favorable conditions for students challenged by poverty and other high needs.
    • In a study of graduation patterns of all students in New York City high schools from classes of 1999 through 2005, the two factors of school size and concentration of students entering significantly below standards in English and Math (highly correlated with poverty) explained 41 percent of variance in graduation rates among the high schools
  • Partnerships
    • Intermediary/School Development Partners
    • New Visions for Public Schools
    • The Asia Society
    • City University of New York
    • The College Board
    • Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound
    • Institute for Student Achievement
    • International Partnership Schools
    • Replications, Inc.
  • Autonomy Dimensions
    • School Based Central Based
    • Budget authority Student Enrollment
    • Hiring Teachers Accountability Targets
    • Scheduling Hiring Principals
    • Professional Development Legal responsibilities
    • Curriculum choices
    • (within state standards)
  • Results
    • New Small Schools Raised Graduation Rates Dramatically from Schools Replaced
    • Failing Schools New Schools
    • 2002: 35% average 2007: 77% average
  • Spotlight: The Bushwick HS Campus The closure of Bushwick High School began in 2003. Four new small schools now reside in the building. 63% 23% CLASS OF 2006 Final Year CLASS OF 2002 Year Prior to Phase-out Announcement BUSHWICK HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES 59% CLASS OF 2007 First Graduating Class of the New Bushwick High School Campus NEW HIGH SCHOOLS GRADUATION RATE 9% 9%* Part Time SPED 6% 1%* Full Time SPED 15% 23%* ELL 98% 97% Hispanic and Black 2006-2007 New Schools at Bushwick Campus 2001-2002 Bushwick High School INCOMING 9TH GRADE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
  • New Schools Target Underserved Communities 2007-08 Incoming Ninth Grade Source: Division of Assessment and Accountability. Data is Preliminary, Based on October 31, 2007 Unaudited Register. Notes: D75, D79, and Charter Schools are not included. Only includes first time 9 th graders (no holdovers).
  • Charter Schools Reform Strategy
    • Publicly funded and publicly accountable small schools
    • Authorized by state level government
    • Managed through contracts (charters)
    • Greater autonomy than available to public schools in exchange for meeting accountability targets set by the State.
    • Key autonomies include hiring and removing teachers; designing and implementing curriculum; choice of instructional practices, and scheduling to extend the school day and week.
  • Examples of High Performing Charters
    • Green Dot Public Schools founded in 1999
    • Operates 12 charter high schools in some of the highest-need areas in Los Angeles ,
    • School size of 500 students, 85% low income and 36% are English language learners
    • .
    • Philosophy: professional development/accountability, high expectations, an extended school day, and community engagement.
    • Mission: provide a high-quality education that prepares students for college, leadership, and life.
  • Green Dot Public Schools
    • Results -- Although only a small percentage of incoming freshmen at Green Dot schools demonstrate proficiency on state tests (19% in ELA), students achieve significant yearly progress thereafter.
    • Of the most recent class, 96% graduated on-time, 66% are attending 4-year university, and 23% attend 2-year colleges.
    • Green Dot schools score 704 on California’s Academic Performance Indicator, compared to the score of 593 in other LAUSD high schools.
  • North Star Academies
    • North Star Academies is a charter school network in Newark, New Jersey.
    • Mission: close the achievement gap in one of America’s highest-need districts.
    • Operates 2 middle schools and 1 high school— 90% of students are low income and 85% are African-American.
    • School design characteristics: a focus on interim assessments and value-add data analysis. Data-driven culture focuses on high expectations, a sense of community, an emphasis on college readiness, extended school days, and the recruitment and retention of high-quality, committed teachers.
  • North Star Academies
    • Results – .
    • 100% of North Star 11th graders scored proficient or above on the 2006 High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) in Language Arts and 88% scored proficient or above in Math—significantly higher than the Newark District, all urban districts, and the statewide average.
    • 93% of North Star 8th graders scored proficient or above in Language Arts, 96.7% in Science, and 76.7% in Mathematics.
    • 100% of the 12th grade students graduated by passing the HSPA—compared to 75% of New Jersey students statewide and only 35% in the Newark district.
    • North Star’s 2006 high school graduates achieved a 100% college enrollment rate, the highest among all NJ high schools.
  • Lessons from NYC and Charters
    • Dramatic improvement in graduation rates requires radical change in design of schools, accountability/autonomy exchange, rigor of curriculum, human capital recruitment and support, and opening school development to partnerships and new providers while maintaining public accountability for achievement and equity.