Saturday, September 23, 2006

Seattle School District Gets Results By Getting Parents Involved But Sadly Does Not Realize It.

Interesting article in the Seattle Times about academic success in some of the more "demographically challenged" schools in the Seattle School District.

The key sentence to then entire article
She got their parents involved.

That is it, nothing more.

Sadly the Seattle School District does not seem to recognize this fact as later in the article they say:
The district is working toward having a common curriculum among schools, said Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno. That won't close the achievement gap on its own, she said, but it makes it easier for her to get schools to try strategies that work. Among them: teachers working together and comparing student work, using data to figure out exactly what kids don't know.

and then later:
"I'm more than confident that if we have the right environment, leadership, highly skilled teachers, connections with the families, instructional material that is very excellent, every child — black, white, Asian — every ethnicity, will be able to succeed in our Seattle public schools," said Pinchback-Jones.

But Maple Elementary Principal Pat Hunter questions whether it's really that simple. Her staff is key, she said. Her teachers are "intentional," especially in the fourth grade, when students take the WASL.

But there isn't a curriculum she can point to. There's not a model other schools can follow to achieve the same result. A couple of years ago, she said, the School Board's Student Learning Committee asked her for her secret during a presentation and she showed them a staff photo.

The closest she can come? "Hard work."

"I think so many people who are not in the classroom think that you can just go in and bottle this and sell it," she said.

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