AISR had a unique opportunity to observe, facilitate, and document the early stages of a comprehensive and successful districtwide reform effort in Knoxville, Tennessee, through AISR's Central Office Review for Results and Equity, or CORRE in 2008, and then follow up four years later.
District Redesign and Leadership
The portfolio district model adopted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City is often held up as a national model for high school "choice," touted as the best way to reduce pernicious race- and income-based achievement gaps. According to this model, student demographics are “no excuse” for poor performance: teacher quality is the single most important determinant of student success.
Making sure that students graduate high school prepared for college and work has acquired increasing urgency in education reform today. But how do we know when a student is “college ready?" And, most importantly, how do we use that information to design effective supports and interventions? In this issue of VUE, researchers from AISR and the John W.
Education leaders have increasingly recognized that students must leave high school ready for college and career. But in the past, once students have left high school, little feedback has been available on how they did in college: how do we know when they are college ready?
The national education spotlight has shifted from high school graduation to postsecondary success, leading to a proliferation of new college readiness policies and initiatives – many involving multiple actors from diverse sectors. This publication scans the burgeoning field of college readiness and provides models to help districts, schools, and other interested stakeholders prepare their students for college success.
Since Spring 2009, AISR has partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in support of the ambitious reform agenda, entitled "MNPS Achieves," launched under the leadership of Director of Schools Dr. Jesse B. Register.
While most urban school districts face rapid turnover in leadership and limited results, Boston has won national attention for its stability and success. This study from AISR and the Aspen Institute examines Boston's accomplishments and challenges and provides lessons for other large urban school districts. This study examines what the Boston Public Schools’ 10-year-long focus on instructional improvement accomplished and provides lessons for other districts on the challenges a district faces during a transition in leadership.
Improving outcomes for children and youth will require schools to form links with community agencies and organizations to address a range of in-school and out-of-school factors that affect learning and development. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform calls this idea a “smart education system.” In England, it is national policy. This issue of Voices in Urban Education looks in depth at one local British authority that has been remarkably successful across a range of health, social, educational, and economic indicators: the East London borough of Tower Hamlets.
This issue of Voices in Urban Education features leading-edge perspectives on how to transform a school community into a “smart district” – one that is part of the solution to what ails public education, not part of the problem. How can districts transform out-of-date structural models and use data to become "best-in-class"? Why do districts need to rethink the way teachers are assigned to schools? How did a citywide “community covenant” and a grassroots movement in a low-income urban neighborhood transform two districts' schools?
As school systems and communities struggle to improve student learning and bring all students to proficiency, the idea of building capacity has become increasingly critical. Schools and school systems, community organizations, and other agencies need to have the ability to function effectively to ensure that all students learn at high levels. What types of abilities do these agencies and organizations need? How have effective partnerships developed such abilities? This issue of Voices in Urban Education suggests some possibilities.