There was a slide (#6) from the Work Session handout referencing other districts making changes but no discussion about it. So let's review them:
- Gwinnett County, GA - right on their home page - winner of the 2010 $1M Broad prize. (It goes to the urban school district that has the strongest student achievement and improvement narrowing of the achievement gap. The money goes for high school seniors for college scholarships.) That said, a pretty impressive district. They have some mighty small high school class sizes. Good for them but how do they do it? This district has about 161,000 students.
- Boston - what's interesting here is their focus on closing/merging schools to save money and streamlining their central office. Also, I'm being to understand that "innovation" school to many district is some kind of charter hybrid ("in-district charters") where the school gets more flexibility and autonomy with staffing, scheduling and budgeting. Boston won the 2006 Broad Prize. This district is about 56K students and their superintendent is a Broad Academy Fellow.
- Long Beach - both Long Beach and Boston were cited in a new McKinsey report as 2 of the top 20 school districts in the world in terms of sustained and significant improvements. I haven't read this report yet but it sounds interesting. (That list also includes one charter system, Aspire.) This district has about 90,000 students and their superintendent is a Broad Academy Fellow.
During the live webinar, Long Beach also was praised by study author Mona Mourshed for “tremendous gains in math.”
The math gains in Long Beach began when a highly effective math teacher, inspired by an aunt who taught in Singapore, began sharing his approach with other teachers. With full support from Long Beach’s central office, that teacher’s successful methods have now been replicated in elementary schools districtwide. The result is that math scores have improved between 20 percent and 75 percent in second through fifth grades from 2004 to 2009, according to the study.
“When teachers register impressive student gains, LBUSD is proactive in noting and understanding their practices,” the study states. “It identifies the best delivery methods from pilot data and then rolls out the program.”
Long Beach also has a wallet guide for employees about commitment and ethics.
- Denver has about 76,000 students and is nearly 75% minority (54% Hispanic). Denver has the teacher pay system, ProComp, and a principal compensation award system. They hae expanded their early childhood program by 40%. Denver's strategic plan sounds a lot like ours but with a lot more specific detail. Denver has received nearly $7M from Broad since about 2008. Denver has 7 current or former Broad residents working for them. Their superintendent is a Broad academy alumni.
- Garden Grove, CA - a 2004 Broad prize winner with nearly 48,000 students. I couldn't find a lot here that made them stand out. Their superintendent is a 2010 Broad Faculty advisor.