Three Daughters School District Blog
“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.” Brandon Mull
As the Three Daughter School District continues to identify and eliminate the achievement gap at all levels, I believe it is necessary to look at other school districts to understand what they did to turn their achievement gap around. Some of the most successful school districts that have demonstrated growth, improvement in the achievement gap, and increased equality and equity, are right in our backyard. Please take a few minutes and review how one Philadelphia public school, William Shoemaker Junior High, went from being the second most violent school in Philadelphia to becoming one of twelve schools nationally to be awarded a $9.3 million dollar grant supporting innovative federal educational programs. Although, as Superintendent, I understand the make-up of the school districts is different, the Three Daughter School District can learn from their successes.
For those of you who wish to read the story in its entirety please see the following link:
Turning around a struggling school in inner-city Philadelphia is not easy work. Since 2010, the Philadelphia School District turned over 20 of its school to Mastery Charter operators. One of the schools that have seen tremendous success in maintaining growth is Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus formally known as William Shoemaker Junior High. Before William Shoemaker became Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus it was a low performing violent middle school. The school was identified as the second most violent school in Philadelphia based on incident per student basis. The building was underutilized with enrollment less than half of the capacity of 800 students.
In 2006, the Mastery Charter School cooperation took over the school and since then has increased math scores in grades in 7th and 8th grade by an average of 63.5 points and an average of 45 points in Reading. Graduation rate has increased to 86% actually attending a post-secondary program. Overall, Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus has seen improvements in school climate and student performance.
Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus success are attributed to: 1) the small class size of 20 students, 2) increased in educational opportunities such as African American history, literature music and physics, 3) maintaining the same neighborhood in the same building while changing management of the school, 4) the value that student achievement is the civil rights issues of our time and the reason we exist, and 5) each staff member is responsible for the students’ success. The biggest success in Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus is the four interlocking systems of curriculum, instruction and teacher development with school culture, assessment and data and student support. In addition, the school implements Restorative Practices as their school disciplinary system and is staffed with trauma-trained therapists. At the secondary level all students participate in a research based emotional skills curriculum.
Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus has demonstrated that when students are given equity opportunities, educational attainment and overall quality of life for children of poverty is improved. The Three Daughter School District should replicate some of their measures!