Monday, August 23, 2010

Educational Excellence: Two local schools that are getting it right...

Just last week, the Schott Foundation released a 50 State report on Public Education and Black males. According to the report, the National Graduation rate for Black males averages out to a dismal 47%. And while my home State of Kansas faired a bit better, there is clearly a considerable amount of work to be done.

But even as we acknowledge that, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that scattered throughout our respective cities, there are still teachers, administrators, and schools that are doing amazing things.

Earlier this evening, I attended the school board meeting for USD259 here in Wichita. While there I heard a presentation on two local elementary schools, each that had been placed "on improvement" in NCLB parlance for failing to meet AYP for two consecutive years. The Principals from these schools, Pam Stead (from Enterprise Elementary) and Judy Wright (from Clark Elementary), were then recognized for their successful efforts to improve their student outcomes and for each leading their schools OFF of "improvement".

At Enterprise, a school with a significant Latino and ELL enrollment, they were able to achieve a 17.2% increase in reading scores on State Assessments over 2 years, while narrowing the achievement gap by 21.4 points, and still showing improvement for all groups. They had similar success in Math where their Assessment scores increased by 6.8%, and their achievement gap was narrowed by 17.5%.

At Clark Elementary, a school with a significant African American enrollment, they were able to improve their State Reading assessment scores over the same 2 year period by 31.8% while also improving their State Math Assessment scores by 35%.

Both schools have now met AYP for two consecutive years, and now neither school remains 'on improvement'.

As an NAACP unit, but more specifically as people who advocate for educational equity, innovation, and reform, we would just like to tip our hats and recognize these two outstanding Principals for a job well done...

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