Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Time on Task

Apologies to the 10’s of loyal readers – summer hiatus to take care of family issues, get daughter 1 ready to transfer to James Madison University and relax.

But, there is no rest for education reformers – so a little recap of the ABCTE summer. We have been extremely busy looking at the data from Mathematica on our program and pretty pleased with the results so far – student achievement data will come in December. We have been taking a ton of enrollments from Missouri (325)– a lot of pent up demand for an affordable program to get into teaching in that state and we have been meeting with decision makers to look at the next set of states for ABCTE.

As for me, I have taken on the role of Board Chair for a small charter school here in DC. The Academia Bilingüe de la Comunidad Public Charter School (ABC), which opened in the Fall of 2005, is a Bilingual English and Spanish total-immersion Public Charter School in Washington DC, serving grades 6-8. We have not made AYP yet and our test scores are pretty dismal.
When asking for advice from other education leaders, I hear one thing pretty clearly – it is time on task. There is no silver bullet special program or teaching technique that will get AYP – it is how much time you spend on math and reading that will get scores up. And when you look at the KIPP model, there is a ton of time on task and they get results. Now they also have great facilities, dedicated parents, energetic teachers willing to put in the time. But if they tried to get the same results in the normal school day/year, I doubt they would.

So I embark on a journey for AYP. It started with getting a great principal who was hired in June. Then the simple task of really cleaning the school to show the great facility and I can assure you that a man never walked so tall as when he stooped to clean a middle school bathroom. We are heavily recruiting students and working on teacher training. I will keep you posted on the results as we try to work on greater time on task.

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