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The Challenges of a Declining School

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Abstract:

Building on prior research about persistently low-performing schools, the third presenter will discuss how declining schools are often held back from ever successfully turning around, even when given new resources and support. She reports findings and draws recommendations from a case study of one struggling urban middle school which has cycled on and off the state watch list of chronically low-performing schools. Her research documents the changing conditions and supports that influenced the school’s efforts to improve and how these intersected with the principal’s and staff’s own efforts to turnaround the school’s decline and back away from its low-performance status. Her work illustrates that low-performing schools do not develop in isolation, but arise from both internal and external conditions, policies and practices. Against its own historical backdrop as a moderately performing school for poor and working class children, this large urban middle school spiraled into extremely low achievement, serving very poor young adolescents (including many recent West Indian immigrants). As the school’s new principal and school staff invested in professional learning for systemic curriculum and instructional reforms intended to revamp and strengthen the existing programs, the district enabled competing new schools to open in the community and also allowed other middle schools to transfer their low performing students just before statewide assessments were administered. Despite these detracting conditions, the school succeeded in garnering a series of grants to support school improvement, including a recent large-scale, multi-year grant for curricular and programmatic enhancements. With this grant support the school achieved steady academic gains, eventually moving off the state and city watch lists. However, the school’s low-performance status, coupled with school competition, resulted in reduced enrollments and leaving the school with under-used space. Rather than waiting for the school to regain its enrollments, the district permitted the creation of a new charter school in the school’s vacant space. The presenter concludes by focusing on the need for districts to align their reform strategies (Massell & Goertz, 2002; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2002) with individual school reform cases, rather than work in competition, so as to not further challenge declining schools.
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Association:
Name: UCEA Annual Convention
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http://www.ucea.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378258_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Orr, Margaret. "The Challenges of a Declining School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California, <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378258_index.html>

APA Citation:

Orr, M. T. "The Challenges of a Declining School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378258_index.html

Publication Type: Symposium Paper
Abstract: Building on prior research about persistently low-performing schools, the third presenter will discuss how declining schools are often held back from ever successfully turning around, even when given new resources and support. She reports findings and draws recommendations from a case study of one struggling urban middle school which has cycled on and off the state watch list of chronically low-performing schools. Her research documents the changing conditions and supports that influenced the school’s efforts to improve and how these intersected with the principal’s and staff’s own efforts to turnaround the school’s decline and back away from its low-performance status. Her work illustrates that low-performing schools do not develop in isolation, but arise from both internal and external conditions, policies and practices. Against its own historical backdrop as a moderately performing school for poor and working class children, this large urban middle school spiraled into extremely low achievement, serving very poor young adolescents (including many recent West Indian immigrants). As the school’s new principal and school staff invested in professional learning for systemic curriculum and instructional reforms intended to revamp and strengthen the existing programs, the district enabled competing new schools to open in the community and also allowed other middle schools to transfer their low performing students just before statewide assessments were administered. Despite these detracting conditions, the school succeeded in garnering a series of grants to support school improvement, including a recent large-scale, multi-year grant for curricular and programmatic enhancements. With this grant support the school achieved steady academic gains, eventually moving off the state and city watch lists. However, the school’s low-performance status, coupled with school competition, resulted in reduced enrollments and leaving the school with under-used space. Rather than waiting for the school to regain its enrollments, the district permitted the creation of a new charter school in the school’s vacant space. The presenter concludes by focusing on the need for districts to align their reform strategies (Massell & Goertz, 2002; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2002) with individual school reform cases, rather than work in competition, so as to not further challenge declining schools.


Similar Titles:
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