With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Miami's 'zone' -- no gains for high schools

Catherine Gewertz, posting on Edweek's new High School Connecttion Blog, reports that Miami/Dade's School Improvement Zone, set up under former Supt. Rudy Crew, was a bust that produced little in the way of measurable high school improvement, according to the district's own evaluation.

According to the study, the School Improvement Zone produced "at best an inconsistent impact that was limited to the elementary grades" and "was not found to have had a consistent positive impact at the secondary grades." The district study compared the 39 Zone schools with 39 demographically similar schools, and found the Zone schools turned in worse scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in most subject areas than did the other schools.

The Zone was a cluster of 8 low-performing high schools and feeder schools with its own administrative team. Reforms focused on extra math and reading instruction, and longer school days and years. It's now up to the school board and the post-Crew leadership team to figure out a new high school reform strategy.

Miami/Dade has some of the largest high schools in the nation as well as one of the lowest high school completion rates.

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