In increasingly common currency is the idea that effective school principals, in addition to being managers and disciplinarians, must be instructional leaders of their schools — that is, they should convey to their staff members a common vision of what good instruction looks like, provide teachers with the resources and supports they need to be effective in the
Low-performing high schools, particularly those serving low-income communities and students of color, are often characterized by high absentee and course failure rates, substantial dropout rates, and — even for graduates — inadequate preparation for postsecondary education and the labor market.
Large, comprehensive high schools in urban areas are often troubled environments for teaching and learning. Research strongly indicates that, in such schools, ninth grade is a year in which many students start on the path to low achievement and dropping out.
It is important that children who are learning to read be exposed to high-quality, research-based curricula, but it is also essential that teachers be well versed in the instructional practices that promote early literacy (see the description of Reading First for more on this topic).
An approach to educational reform that is gaining increasing currency is the one taken by the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC), a not-for-profit grantmaking and support organization that aims to increase educational equity among students in six San Francisco Bay Area counties.
The problems of urban middle and high schools are rooted in the inadequate preparation that too many students receive in elementary schools, and these problems become most visible in the ninth grade, when students encounter more demanding coursework and tougher requirements for grade-level promotion.
Launched in Houston in 1993 by James Ketelsen, retired CEO of Tenneco, and since expanded to 12 additional school districts, Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) combines a variety of promising reforms to improve instruction and raise student achievement in schools that serve primarily minority and low-inco