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Suburban success stories

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  • TN: Sullivan County's Respect and Leadership Initiative
    School officials in Sullivan County, Tenn., used data to link an improved school climate to increased student achievement. District officials have used school climate surveys and data to inform and develop a Respect and Leadership initiative that focuses on student involvement to prevent bullying and harassment and foster a positive atmosphere in schools.
  • WA: Helping late graduates pays off
    School officials in Everett, Washington, believe that each student deserves the opportunity to graduate from high school, even if it takes a student longer than four years. The district has developed a system of academic interventions to support extended graduates and, as a result, has increased its on-time graduation rate as well.
  • VA: Challenging students with math at J.E.B. Stuart High School
    Summary: If you think all students can't handle advanced math, think again! Students at this high school handle advanced math with aplomb thanks to a teacher who believes that any student who wants to, can pass his IB math class. And results show he's right. In 2009, twenty out of twenty-four students coming into his IB class with no advanced math experience passed the IB exam. Read more to find out how it works.
  • VA: Late start schools at low cost in Arlington
    Summary: Based on the most current research on adolescent sleep patterns, this district made a decision to have their high schools start later in the morning. But bringing the idea to fruition wasn't an easy matter. Groups tasked with planning for later start times were instructed that options were to be largely cost neutral and could not include additional buses and drivers. They also had a variety of other issues to consider; extracurricular activities and lunch schedules to name a few. The groups accomplished their mission, however, and students report they now feel more alert and reading for learning.
  • TX: Good management and high expectations make a difference at this turn-around school
    Summary: This school was ordered by the state to close and implement a complete make-over. Armed with a new principal and many new staff members it not only survived its turn-around mandate, in just one year scores in core subjects were sufficient to chart this school as meeting state standards. The school has also has achieved success in a variety of other areas as well. Read more to learn how they "turned around".
  • NC: Using data and two-way communication promotes district improvement
    Summary: In 2002, the administration of Iredell-Statesville Schools made a commitment to broadly improve academic performance while keeping costs in check. They achieved their goal over the next five years by being in the top ten schools academically in the state using a variety of measures, and in the bottom ten for costs per pupil. The district also won the federal government’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Education. Administrators attribute the success to two-way communication with teachers and students and acceptance of the skillful use of data as tool to improve education.
  • AL: Students at Mary B. Austin respond to creative culture and high expectations
    Summary: Music, fine arts, community partnerships, and curriculum implementation based on hard data help this school foster students' academic improvement. While focused attention on both academics and music education are part of the school's culture, school leaders have also seen a narrowing of student achievement gaps in increased test scores by all students and particularly economically disadvantaged students.
  • NV: Retirees provide rich resource to district
    Summary: How do you meet the needs of 30,000 students who represent eighty percent of the district's population and live in the geographically largest school district in the United States? You invite retirees into your schools to work one-on-one with students. Although student achievement is on the rise, it is difficult to precisely measure the volunteers' effect on that. But as the coordinator of the program Cathy Girard says, "Achievement is measured in several ways, from looks on kids’ faces when they have a problem in algebra to work with the volunteer and finally getting it."
  • MN: Community puts children first
    Summary: Using a program that embodies forty developmental assets for youth, this community has moblized to help its children become better students who are not only faring well academically but becoming responsible community members as well.and instruction to graduate all of its students from high school on time and send almost three-quarters of them on to college.
  • CO: Small groups produce big changes
    Summary: Families in Adams County School District 50 were sending their children to other districts and the school board wanted to know why. (In Colorado, families can choose to attend any public school they wish as long as space is available.) With help from the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), the board found out.
  • NJ: District scores with professional communications
    When officials of Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) in Shamong, N.J., went to bat for a three-part referendum that took place March 8, 2005, they didn’t carry the day, but scored a major accomplishment by winning approval for much-needed upgrades to their aging high schools.
  • KY: District is in the 'brain business'
    Summary: Embarking on a journey through the latest research in learning, this district adopted brain-based instruction as a way to reach all students at their personal learning levels. Now, student achievement is up and teachers are enjoying the flexibility of brain-based instruction.
  • WA: Granger high school grapples with the basics—and wins
    Summary: A no-holds-barred principal who doesn't accept excuses for poor student performance holds his staff and students accountable for learning improvements. Using data to meet standards, individual learning plans for each student, tracking students' grades and attendance, and a resource management team for especially high-risk students have turned this once failing school into one that raises the bar for all students, keeps them motivated to learn, and narrows the achievement gap.
  • TX: Going for the Green
    Summary: This district shares its experience and advice on developing funding opportunities and finding grants.