A recent EdWeek article caught my eye on five keys to urban school success. Based upon 15 years of work in Chicago elementary schools, a new book identifies five "tried and true" ingredients that work, in combination with one another to lead success in urban schools.
Those pillars are:
• Strong leadership, in the sense that principals are “strategic, focused on instruction, and inclusive of others in their work”;
• A welcoming attitude toward parents, and formation of connections with the community;
• Development of professional capacity, which refers to the quality of the teaching staff, teachers’ belief that schools can change, and participation in good professional development and collaborative work;
• A learning climate that is safe, welcoming, stimulating, and nurturing to all students; and
• Strong instructional guidance and materials.
I am not sure I gained any huge "a-ha" in reading the article but it is causing me to think about the role that I play in helping schools to plant these pillars. And it has me questioning about the role that I can play when politically, I am outside of a single district and instead operate among and with 27 of them.
And, as the article suggests, I am thinking about these findings in conjunction with the current Race to the Top initiatives and President Obama's State of the Union speech last night.
In short - I don't want to think alone. What do you think of these 5 pillars? Are they new? Surprising? How do we go about supporting our educational systems to embrace them?