Posts Tagged ‘failing schools’


Turn Around Failing Schools By Placing Top Principals In Charge

on October 17, 2010 in What Makes A Great Teacher? Comments Off on Turn Around Failing Schools By Placing Top Principals In Charge

The Obama administration has given $3.5 billion to transform the nation’s 5000 worst schools. States that have received Race To The Top funds will have to implement pre-approved Science Classroom strategies to help turn around their failing schools. A very evident factor of a successful school is that its administration must be great leaders. In many cases inexperienced  individuals are placed in failing schools, because no one else applies for the position to lead a failing school. Peter Gorman, the school superintendent in Charlotte, N.C., decided to implement a new strategy several years ago, and that was to hold an annual competition( Strategic Staffing Initiative). The competition would identify the most effective principals in the district. These  principals would then be giving the opportunity to turn around one of the district’s failing schools. They would be placed at the school for three years, receive a 10% raise, more freedom from district rules. They would also get to select an eight-person transformation team, they would get a raise as well. The winning principals could also “transfer out” up to five teachers from their new school, including under performers, obstructionists, etc.. Gorman “expects the new administration of the failing school to transform the culture of the school to one in which high academic achievement is expected and achieved.” I have observed over the years in schools and districts where I have conducted teacher training professional staff development in, that teachers who are lead by effective leaders are able to achieve the most with their students. An effective, and well-respected principal is fundamental in the turning around of failing schools. Even the best teacher needs an effective leader to accomplish what they have the potential to within the classroom. What a great  and “common-sense” plan Mr. Gorman has derived by placing the most effective principals in the districts’ failing schools. For further details about Charlotte, N.C., Superintendent Peter Gorman’s Strategic Staffing Initiative see the article by Newsweek reporter, Pat Wingert “An Offer They Wouldn’t Refuse: How One District Lured Top Principals To Rescue Its Failing Schools.”

Building a Better Teacher

on March 4, 2010 in What Makes A Great Teacher? Comments Off on Building a Better Teacher

Great article “Building a Better Teacher” by Elizabeth Green in The New York Times, Magazine Preview March 7, 2010. The author provides an extensive overview from numerousTeacher training workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski educational researchers who are on the forefront of teacher-training research. Some of the issues brought up in the article include:

  • Innate ability to teach vs. trying to teach people how to teach
  • The impact of teacher merit-pay on student achievement
  • Creating incentives to bring top caliber individuals into the classrooms
  • Evaluating current teacher-training programs
  • Does good classroom management ensure good instruction?
  • Rethinking the way we teach, and many more thought provoking issues are brought up in this article.

Doug Lemov, a past teacher, principal, and charter-school founder has been spending the last few years visiting classrooms in failing schools trying to provide “solutions” to administrators on revitalizing their schools has written a book based on his observations and research of troubled schools to be released this April “Teach Like a Champion: The 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.” I’ll look forward to sitting down and reading this one.

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