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Virginia Beach School System

Scarey School !!!

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This can be very scarey for under achieving schools. If they fire the principal and at least 50% of the state? Then who is in charge? How will the school be safe? Who will be held accountable?
There are 4 models the federal Government uses to "turn-around-schools" and none of them worked. One very important reason is; Washington can not relate/understand the real issues in the schools and what the teachers are up againist.

Preschool Teacher Washington D.C.

I too, find it interesting

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I too, find it interesting and inspiring that the SLI model proves to work while maintaining the same staff. I found it interesting that when describing the important ingredients involved in a successful model engaged parents and community was on the list. I would love to learn more about strategies used to involve parents and help them feel apart of the effort to educate their child. I also found it interesting that at the end of the blog it states that an important lesson to learn is that the existing parents in these schools that need assistance are a "treasure, not a drawback." I would love to learn more about the ways that the SLI model helps to involve parents in their efforts to improve schools.

First grade teacher in Accokeek, Maryland

I would have to agree that

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I would have to agree that the four non-research based interventions need to be re-evaluated, or to add more choices to the list. I like that SLI offers a program that leaves the teachers and principal in place, and also like the cake analogy described by John Simmons. The problems at a particular school may not be centered on the staff; one of the other essential supports may be missing. The school district itself could be a large part of the problem: lacking qualified bodies in decision-making positions, cutting funding, programs, and personnel below an efficiently operational level and leaving the school staff without any viable options to solve their problems themselves. Our school had been meeting AYP for four or five years in a row until some school district decisions and reassemblies were imposed. What we were left with, among other things, was insufficient funding and personnel for the school improvement plan we already had in place. We are now in our second year of school improvement and the majority of our staff of hard working, dedicated, professional teachers are worried that fifty percent of us will be tossed to the wind due to some circumstances beyond our control despite all of our efforts. Is the SLI program available all over the US? Does SLI work with the local school board?

First grade teacher from Philadelphia

I like the SLI model. It

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I like the SLI model. It allows effective teachers to have imput and be a support for those teachers who may need help in specific areas of teaching. Continuous professional development is great, especially if it targets specific needs of the school. One program does not fit all and each school has different issues that one program may not fix. When people feel like real stakeholders, they feel that their voice counts and that makes a huge difference in job performance, attitude, and community relations.

5th grade Intervention Specialist

I do agree that the four

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I do agree that the four models in this posting are not a one size fits all for school districts. Myself as a teacher I would love to see the SLI model at work it seems to me that this maybe the way for schools to go who are in an extremely bad academic situation.

Fourth grade teacher from Craig, CO

I agree with so many of you.

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I agree with so many of you. I loved this article because it hit home for me. One of the elementary schools, in the district in which I teach, is trying an SLI this past school year. They are focusing on literacy professional development. The administers looked at the teachers and what professional development they have attended, also they looked at the teachers whose students performed higher. From that they went through and started creating on-site professional development. The teachers said what professional development they felt would be the most important to them. Then that was what the administers started with. They also did a bunch of other changes but none of the changes had to do with the firing of teachers or the principal.

fourth grade teacher from Gastonia, North Carolina

I love your idea of using

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I love your idea of using existing teachers and staff in the school turnaround model. I have never heard of SLI before but is sounds very promising. I teach in a Title I school whose students come from a low socioeconomic background. Typically, our test scores are not as high as some other schools, and we are always worried that our school will be faced with one of the government imposed turnaround models. In fact, the first scenario that you described happened to one of our neighboring schools, and half of the staff was let go. In our school, we have recently implemented Professional Learning Communities as a way to improve student learning. I believe it was somewhat successful, in that this past school year our school had the most improved test scores in the county. It was our first year doing this, however, and we still have much to learn. Does the SLI model you describe utilize PLC's, and if so, has this shown improvement to student learning?

I am facing the same thing

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Like Nanette, I am in Michigan and I am having such a hard time understanding what our government is doing with our education program. I find it so interesting that those in power in Washington D.C. really have no clue what happens in the classroom. Although school many be failing, it is not always the best idea to close the school, get a financial manager or fire all the teachers. Sometimes you have to take into consideration the school district you are in. Although you never lower your expectations for your students you still need to understand and look closely at why a school is not preforming.

5/6 grade special education

Here in Michigan we are

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Here in Michigan we are experiencing something like a combination of all of the national government plans rolled into one, with transformation be the most prominent component. I to have a concern about the changes be handed down by officials in Washington and in my state from Lansing. I do believe in the accountability they are trying to establish but think that they are unaware of how to go about it. Ownership of that accountability has to belong to everyone, not just school staff. We need to build partnerships with government, community, parents, and school staff. There are so many factors that influence a students success, and they all need to be addressed to create a productive learning environment.

3rd grade teacher from Indiana

Very Relevant

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I teach in Indiana and we are going through a very transitional time in education. There are numerous reports of the "Turnaround" effect that you refer to at the beginning of your article. Hundreds of teachers, specifically in urban areas are losing their jobs. The majority of teachers who lose these jobs are new hires who simply don't have the years or experience that some districts are searching for. I do not feel that this method is right in any manner. There are numerous young teachers who are phenomenal teachers and should not be punished simply by age. I am currently entering my fourth year and due to my district's good standing, I have been lucky enough to keep my position, but every year I fear that my luck is going to run out. I believe the SLI strategy you mention is a much needed intervention system for schools in my state. Professional development needs to be specific to each school's varying needs. Just as we ask our students to be involved in their education, we need to be involved in our future development as well. There is not one simple solution that will fix the issues in all schools across America, but if we take the time to analyze and reflect on what is and is not working in schools, I believe true progress can be made.

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