Second only to safety, ensuring
that all students develop literacy
is key to a low student-teacher ratio
and caring relationships in school; and
( 2) providing targeted support to the
students who need it most. “Target the
lowest-performing kids,” cautioned one
principal, “even if the stimulus money
doesn’t last forever.”
Leaders in high-performing/high-poverty schools recognize their efforts
and successes as a continuing journey.
Whether surviving budget cuts, carefully targeting new stimulus funding, or
both, leaders in all schools may benefit from reflecting on the
questions leaders ask in high-performing/high-poverty
schools to support and sustain student success. EL
skills became a priority in most
of the schools we studied.
learning communities and removing economic barriers to
participation in various extracurricular activities. Some
schools work to counter the adverse effects of student
mobility by dedicating staff to the task of welcoming and
placing new students.
Do we engage parents, families, and the community?
High-performing/high-poverty schools do not go it alone.
Instead, they build positive and productive relationships with
students’ families and the broader neighborhood and
community. In partnership with the city of Saint Paul and the
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Dayton’s Bluff Elementary
provides students and families with a recreational facility and
the services of a nurse-practitioner, dentist, and social worker
at the school.
Leaders in the schools we studied engage stakeholders in
various ways—for example, hiring a school/family/commu-nity liaison, offering adult mentoring and community service
learning programs, ensuring two-way communication
between the school and the family, and using the school as a
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improve student achievement lies in our worst-performing schools.
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Duke, D. (2007, February 21). Turning schools around. Education
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poverty on reading achievement. In S. Neuman (Ed.), Educating
the other America: Top experts tackle poverty, literacy, and achievement in our schools. (pp. 1–16). Baltimore: Brooks Publishing.
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Tough Decisions, Tough Times
Leaders in the six schools we studied expressed confidence
that the processes they had in place would guide their decisions regarding the use of possible stimulus funding. The
principals voiced concern for two top priorities: ( 1) maintaining and perhaps adding staff, because keeping personnel
William Parrett ( email@example.com; 208-426-4343) is
Director of the Center for School Improvement and Policy
Studies and Kathleen Budge ( firstname.lastname@example.org;
208-426-3758) is Coordinator of the Educational Leadership
program at Boise State University in Idaho. They are the
authors of a forthcoming ASCD book on leadership in high-poverty/high-performing schools.