Renewal Schools

Renewal Schools


This is a good news/bad news story. 

The great news is that the Board of Ed gave each Renewal School a one page document with goals for attendance and other academic measures last May.  If these goals are what we call SMART goals, that’s great.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results oriented and Time bound. 

An example of a SMART goal in a given school would be to increase the percentage of students reading on grade level by 5% by June 2016.  The school would then ideally devise strategies to attain this goal.  An example of  goals that weren’t  SMART were No Child Left Behind’s goals for students passing exams.   They weren’t SMART because they weren’t attainable; there was no way to get to 100% of anything. 

Goals that aren’t attainable usually breed cynicism and cheating, two results we can readily see in our school systems. It is possible to have a strong enough culture where goals of perfection are seen as a quest and everyone keeps working to improve, knowing that they will never attain the goal of perfection.  But that’s really rare and not, I think, an effective model for a school.

What’s great for the Renewal Schools in this one page document is that it is simple. Complexity is the enemy of execution.  If you have a 100 page document describing the schools’ goals, the most predictable outcome is that none of them will be achieved. Most of us execute much, much better if we have three or four things to focus on, and no more.

So here’s the bad news.  The Board of Ed isn’t making these one page documents public.  Instead, buried on the schools website is a useless 100 page document about school goals.

If the Board of Ed is serious about holding the Renewal Schools accountable for accomplishing these goals described on the one page handouts, the best thing they could do is make them public and visible throughout the school and the community.  They should be posted throughout the school, on the front page of the schools’ websites, on power poles in the neighborhood—anything to increase the visibility of the goals and therefore the seriousness with which they will be approached.

Read more about them on Chalkbeat’s excellent blog

CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education . For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early Childhood, Professional Certification, Special Ed, Grad Courses, DASA); COUNSELORS (School, Mental Health Masters, Advanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBL, SDL, Public Admin, Doctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, and Long Island.

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