Eureka! Good Schools Have Great Teachers

Two recent educational reports both seem to have “discovered” the secret to success with students – teach them well.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but I was struck with the overt irony of this article in the LA Times. You can read the article in full here. Almost everything it mentions seems to go with the grain of what we are seeking to accomplish in CCE. To cut to the chase, it states that two recent studies both show that schools which excel in helping weak students get ahead have several commonalities:

“Among the elements that made these schools successful, according to the report:
• Principals are more likely to match talented teachers with students who need them most, instead of following a more common practice of assigning department heads and other experienced teachers to advanced or honors classes.
• Support for new teachers tends to be more thorough and includes such techniques as providing model lesson plans and teaming a beginner with an experienced colleague.
• Early intervention programs — often mandatory — are used to help students before they fail and become discouraged; requiring summer school or after-school tutoring is common.
• Academic support services for struggling students keep them in current-grade-level classes while they are catching up; in more typical schools, such students are put into remedial classes, reducing their chances of meeting rigorous graduation requirements on time.
• The focus is on preparing students for life beyond high school, not just on getting students to graduation day; academic expectations are high — often including a college-prep curriculum for all students — and consistently communicated to parents and students.

Researchers found that the average-impact schools often focus on behavior rules in their student handbooks.

High-impact schools, however, are more likely to emphasize academic programs and expectations in handbooks and in other communications to parents.

The more successful schools emphasize reading for at-risk students and use test data to monitor student progress and adjust teaching methods. They also try to place struggling students in the smallest classes and ensure that teachers, counselors and others have time to plan together.”

And the new news here is…what?

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