Developing Schools of Achievement for African American Students Joseph F. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. Dean, College of Education, SDSU Executive Director, NCUST African American Regional Education Alliance January 31, 2015 http://www.ncust.org http://go.sdsu.edu/education Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets. Paul Batalden, Dartmouth University Variables that Matter? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Race/Ethnicity Language Background Family Income Gender Zip Code NCUST Identifies, Celebrates, and Studies Non-selective, urban schools (serving primarily students from lowincome families) that demonstrate high achievement for all students. These schools evidence: • High proficiency rates for all groups • High graduation rates for all groups • High rates of access to challenging programs for all groups • Demonstrated success for English learners • Low rates of suspension/expulsion for all groups • Other indicators of student success/achievement If in every school in America, African American students achieved as they achieve in these schools, there would be NO achievement gap! • • • • • • • Revere High School, Boston, MA Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte, NC Dandy Middle School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Bursch Elementary, Compton, CA West Manor Elementary, Atlanta, GA Highland Elementary, Silver Spring, MD R.N. Harris Elementary, Durham, NC Our Persistent Questions: • What are the teaching practices in these high-performing urban schools? • Why are these schools more likely to attain excellent learning results than schools with similar demographic compositions? • What are the leadership practices in these high-performing urban schools? • What influenced the development of these teaching and leadership practices? In the face of more challenging academic standards, how can we get better learning results for all African American students? These Successes Are Not Accidental: They Are Systemic Consistently, we see seven elements that are prevalent in high-performing, urban schools 1. Clarity of focus Do educators who teach the same subject matter and grades have the same understanding of what students must master by various points during the school year? Do teachers share the same focus and commitment for African American students? • Common commitments • Guaranteed curriculum 2. Measurement of mastery Do educators who teach the same subject matter and grades share the same understanding of what mastery of each standard means/looks like? Are educators regularly monitoring to ensure that African American students progress toward mastery? • Common formative assessments • Assessing while teaching st 1 3. Planning instruction Do all educators who teach the same subject matter and grades share an understanding of what constitutes instruction that is LIKELY to lead to mastery of key standards? Is initial instruction DESIGNED to lead African American students to mastery? • Collaboration that improves instruction • Culturally relevant pedagogy • No chicken feeding 4. Observation & Support Do educators benefit from observation, feedback, and support that helps them improve the quality of first instruction? Do observers provide feedback and support designed to help educators ensure mastery for African American students? • Evaluation is secondary to support • Support should focus on evidence that all students are advancing toward mastery 5. Professional development Do educators benefit from a coherent program of professional development that helps them improve the quality of first instruction related to key standards? Does professional development support teachers in building upon strengths and meeting the needs of African American students? • Coherent systems of professional development • PD must be explicitly connected to collaboration, observation, and support 6. Effective intervention Do all students benefit from timely, effective intervention that helps them master key standards when additional instruction is warranted? To what extent is intervention tailored to ensure mastery for African American students? • Tailored, carefully evaluated interventions 7. Powerful enrichment Do all students benefit from engaging enrichment programs that deepen student understanding of key standards and build commitment to learning? To what extent is enrichment tailored to deepen mastery for African American students? • Enrichment for all • Enrichment embedded into daily instruction • Carefully evaluated enrichment NONE OF THIS IS EASY. ALL OF THIS IS ATTAINABLE. • Leadership is essential. • Leaders must convince teachers, support personnel, parents, and students that: • The change is worth the effort • Success for all students is attainable • Each person and each group of people must contribute by engaging in specific efforts related to the 7 systems, and • Each person and each group of people has enough support to ensure that they can succeed.