What makes a good school?
Is it dedicated teachers who go above and beyond? Is it visionary, unshackled administrators? Is it enthusiastic students? Involved parents? Strict adherence to test scores? Disregard of test scores?
Tulsa’s John Burroughs Elementary won a Title I Academic Achievement Award this year. The school, 100 percent of whose students qualify for free lunches, sits near rebounding neighborhoods and some of north Tulsa’s most grand historic homes in the Reservior Hill area.
Its students are poor yet have performed well in recent years on state tests. In a submission for the Title I award, Burroughs Principal Kartina McDaniel described things the school does. They include:
-Closely aligning curriculum with the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills, or PASS
-Using benchmark testing to determine students strengths and weaknesses and intervening when necessary
-Providing additional tutoring to students, and providing a fifth-grade writing academy before the fifth-grade writing test
-Providing a daily, uninterrupted 90-minute reading block
-Using an additional 30 to 45 minutes a day to enhance reading instruction
-Monthly data team meetings to review students’ progress and make adjustments
-Attempts to incorporate professional development opportunities into the school’s weekly routine
-Partnering with businesses and churches for academic incentives, “community awareness projects,” building social skills and involving parents
-Offering parent academies that address parents’ needs
I’d like to hear what you think makes a good school. E-mail me and let me know.