Source
Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

Game Plan

Rethinking Cincinnati

September 2006

It's Rosa Blackwell's time to lead. After three decades working in the Cincinnati public school system as a teacher, principal, and deputy superintendent, and after one year serving as chief of schools, Blackwell published her strategy in April to move Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) forward.

She's not a minute too soon. Cincinnati is undergoing the largest population drop of any urban area in the country. School enrollment is down 28% in 10 years, from 49,769 students in 1995-96 to about 36,700 in the past school year. In her plan, "Building Futures," to be carried out over five years, she boldly states her approach to strengthen and build her district.

1. Autonomy With Accountability
Blackwell's plan grants autonomy to each school in the district but requires every one to develop its own OnePlan, a blueprint for academic progress, that includes school improvement initiatives, goals for student performance, and an annual budget, all based on the school's data.

For each school, an instructional leadership team made up of teachers, the school's principal, and two parent representatives develop the plan. The local school decision-making committee (LSDMC), with an equal number of teachers, school staff, parents, and community members on board, approves the plan's budget and manages implementation of the OnePlan.

2. On-Site Coaching
Blackwell is most excited about expanding the district's instructional support teams (ISTs), made up of outstanding principals and teachers throughout the district.

"The concept is to get right into the schoolhouse and, more important, in the classroom," says Blackwell, "and work with teachers to provide professional development based on data." The IST determines the specific and relevant needs of each school's staff, then implements professional development strategies.

3. Off-Site Training
CPS also provides teachers with free ongoing training at Mayerson Academy, a Cincinnati-based not-for-profit specializing in professional development for K-12 education.

Blackwell also encourages principals to enroll at Mayerson to learn how to interpret student data and what they should look for when visiting classrooms. "We want them to understand the needs of teachers," Blackwell says. "When they understand their data, they can sit down with their teachers and discuss best practices." The ISTs are then responsible for ensuring that principals are putting into practice the strategies they learned during training.

4. Let the Community Decide
Under Blackwell's plan, each school will function as a community learning center. "We want our buildings to help us reconnect with families or community members," Blackwell says. The community learning centers are intended to operate beyond the school day to provide services for the community such as computer or drama classes.

The recent report, Growing Community Schools: The Role of Cross-boundary Leadership, cites CPS as one of 11 communities that have graduated from pilot projects to "large-scale, community-wide education reform strategies." The report continues, "Cincinnati has built public engagement ... instead of making closed-door decisions."

For now, however, Blackwell emphasizes that the district is in the early stages of change. One of the biggest challenges is to galvanize members of the community to fully utilize the space that has been set aside in each school for their use. "There is only so much that can be done by district leadership. After that, it is the individuals-their courage, persistence, ability to influence others, and work through obstacles-who are making community learning centers a reality in Cincinnati," she says.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Spelling Success in the Early Grades

    Spelling Success in the Early Grades

    by Regina Moreno Pamela Sherman-Fowler Eileen Hodrinsky Tracey L. Varrone Debra J. McBride

    An effective, four-step approach to teaching spelling that works for all students. The authors, all veteran teachers, share their classroom-tested strategies that help kids recognize sight words, develop phonics skills, learn word families, and more. Includes strategy lessons, guided practice ideas, and dozens of fun independent practice activities that build the skills students need to become successful spellers. Works with any spelling list!

    $10.39 You save: 35%
    eBook | Grades K-2
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Spelling Success in the Early Grades
    Grades K-2 $10.39
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Smarter Than We Think: More Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century

    Smarter Than We Think: More Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century

    by Cathy L. Seeley

    Smarter Than We Think is a must-read for parents, teachers, policy makers, or anyone who cares about the mathematical education of the next generation. Seeley tackles common misconceptions about students, and she challenges teachers and teacher educators to engage students by turning their classrooms "upside-down" and to rethink what "everyone knows" about teaching mathematics. She exhorts policy makers to put mathematics first and uses this as the guiding principle in making choices about technology in the classroom, restructuring curriculum, and high-stakes testing. Finally, in a set of essays on the mathematical practices in the Common Core State Standards, Seeley reminds us that it is not simply mathematical content that we want students to master. Rather, we should also seek to instill in our students the essential habits of mind that are the hallmark of mathematical thinking, arguably the essential skill for thriving in the twenty-first century.

    $34.95
    Professional Book and DVD | Grades K-12
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Smarter Than We Think: More Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century
    Grades K-12 $34.95
    Add To Cart
Help | Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR NAME

* YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

* RECIPIENT'S EMAIL ADDRESS(ES)

(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.

INCLUDE A PERSONAL MESSAGE (Optional)


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.