Imagine that you have just been appointed as principal of a public school in Boston. The school has not met “adequate yearly progress” as defined by No Child Left Behind for the past four years, and very few students are scoring at the levels of “proficient” or “advanced” on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). The student population is 30% Black, 53% Hispanic, and 17% White. Hispanic and Black students are scoring significantly lower on the MCAS than White students. In your summer “get to know you” meetings with teachers and in the first few days of the school year, you notice that the adults in the building are very comfortable with how the school is running. Through classroom observations, you see that students are not actively engaged in their learning, and that teachers’ expectations for student learning are low. Teacher talk tends to focus on what students “can’t do”. Most teachers work in their classrooms behind closed doors, with little opportunity for collaboration.
In this essay please answer the following:
• What are the challenges in your school?
• What are your goals (short (1 year) – and long-term (3-5 years)) for addressing these challenges?
• What steps would you take immediately to address the challenges?
• What structures and supports would you put in place to provide a long-term solution to these challenges?
• How would you build ownership of the changes by the school community?