After our superintendent call and webinar last week on SIG implementation, some of you asked for more information on The Parent Academy (TPA), a parent and family engagement strategy used by Miami Dade County as part of their turnaround efforts. Nikolai Vitti was kind enough to share with me some additional information on this initiative, and I wanted to pass along these resources to you. In the documents attached here, you'll find more information on how Miami Dade runs their Parent Academy, as well as some supporting research from the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group. If you have questions, I encourage you to contact the district directly to find out more!
I have another resource to share with all of you today -- the December 2010 issue of our School Turnaround Newsletter. This issue features an innovative parent-teacher partnership model in Arizona as well as district strategies for turning around multiple schools. I hope you find the information helpful!
If you've missed previous issues of the School Turnaround Newsletter, you can find it on our School Turnaround Newsletter page here. I encourage you to let me know if you find these resources helpful in your work with school turnarounds, or if there are other ways that we at the Department can help support you.
In case you haven’t heard, America's Promise Alliance released their Building a Grad Nation Report last week. While the report gives us some good news, it also lets us know that we have a long way to go before the US can reclaim its position as number one in the world in terms of educational attainment. In short, too many of our students continue to drop out of high school, and we still have too many “dropout factories” across the country.
The Department of Education is already investing heavily in turning around our lowest performing schools through our School Improvement Grants – and a bulk of this money is going to our high schools. According to our latest data, 730 schools are currently undergoing school turnarounds, and 48 percent of those schools are high schools. This is great news for our high schools, which have historically been underserved by Title 1. The data also shows that our money is being spent where it’s needed most.
Of course, we need great schools at all levels – elementary, middle, and high schools. But we know that secondary schools face unique challenges, and therefore require more complex solutions and supports. Our investment in turning around lowest performing schools is one piece of the puzzle in helping our secondary schools become centers of excellence for all of our students.
This entry is cross-posted on the ed.gov blog.
It’s not every day I get a first-hand look at the transformation that’s taking place in our schools as dedicated school and district leaders undertake the difficult work of turning around the lowest performing schools around the country. But last week, I had the pleasure of visiting three Miami-Dade County Public Schools high schools that have begun this effort. It was a wonderful opportunity to see our School Improvement Grants (SIG) at work on the ground, and I’m excited to share with others some of the great work that is being done by the teams in Miami-Dade County.
As we get deeper into the school year, OESE in particular is focusing on supporting schools and districts as they implement turnaround models, using our school improvement grants.
I wanted to share this video of a particularly inspiring example of a successful turnaround school: George C. Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama. OESE’s deputy assistant secretary, Dr. Carl Harris, tells me that he shared this very example at a turnaround event held just yesterday in North Carolina. I think it’s really helpful to share success stories with one another, and to create these communities of practice.