Giaudrone and Stewart adopted the federal turnaround model. They underwent the ubleimhk_most dramatic changes, gaining new principals and new teachers that make up half or more of their faculties, along with new school themes.
SIG money didn’t pay for it, but Jason Lee took another big step this year when it introduced single-gender classes for sixth-grade math, science and humanities. The idea is controversial in public education but has gained some support nationally.
Stewart kids learn science and engineering by building robots with Legos. Others apply what they learn in geometry by building a garden shed. Students have transformed a hillside on school property into a community garden, where they learn both science and public service. The school’s music program has grown.
She said principals and teachers are taking the consultants’ findings – as well as their own first year of experience – to heart. And that will likely mean more changes in the school year that starts Sept. 1.
“To sit here and teach to the test, thinking that’s the way to change education, is not going to make it better,” Ketler said. “It’s not the same as it was in 1950.”
The district had to choose from among several school improvement models sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Education. There were some major requirements attached to each model, but educators were also given latitude to make changes they believed would help kids.