REPORTS & SURVEYS | NOVEMBER 12TH, 2012 |
A total of nine Ohio public schools participated in this study. These schools were selected to make up a geographically diverse sample (rural and urban schools from across the state) and to represent various types of both primary and secondary schools, including traditional public schools, community (charter) schools and lottery-based public schools. All schools demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.
Six of the nine schools in this study were chosen from the state of Ohio’s 2010–11 Schools of Promise list. All six were also recognized as Schools of Promise in the previous academic year (2009–10) and at least one additional year. The requirements for the 2010–11 Schools of Promise award are as follows:
The requirements for the 2009–10 Schools of Promise award were identical except that on the OATs and OGTs, passage percentages were required for either reading or mathematics. In 2010–11, requirements included both—not either—of the subjects.
The three remaining schools chosen for this study have never been on the Schools of Promise list; however, they are all high-needs schools with exceptional academic reputations. Two of these schools have shown remarkable improvements in student performance in recent years and fell short of receiving the Schools of Promise award by only a couple of students. The remaining school is comparatively new and had not graduated its first class of seniors at the time of the study, but it otherwise exceeded all requirements of the Schools of Promise award.
A two-person research team visited each participating school for two to three days in May 2012. In each school, we conducted focus groups with teachers, parents and students, respectively. This methodology allowed us to speak to most, in some cases all, teachers in each school and to a sample of students and parents who represented different grade levels. Participants were recruited with the help of a designated school staff—for instance, an administrator from the principal’s office. Each focus group took place in a room at the school. Conversation lasted about two hours. All groups were audio-recorded, and a subset of groups was also video-recorded. Participants were assured that everything they said would be treated confidentially and that video recordings would be used for research purposes only. We sought active parental consent from students who participated in the video-recorded focus groups. Participating teachers and parents were paid a small stipend for their time. For participating students, we provided pizza and other snacks deemed appropriate by the school leadership.
In addition, across the schools we visited, we conducted up to 10 individual interviews with school leaders, support staff and community partners. In a few school districts, we were also able to speak to district office representatives. Each interview was conducted either in person or on the phone. Interviews were tape-recorded and lasted up to 60 minutes. Interviewees were thanked for their time, and each participating school received a monetary donation for its participation in this project.
|Citizens Academy Elementary School||Cleveland||charter school|
|East Garfield Elementary School||Steubenville||Steubenville City|
|Eastmoor Academy High School||Columbus||Columbus City|
|Grove Patterson Academy Elementary School||Toledo||Toledo City|
|MC2 STEM High School||Cleveland||Cleveland Metropolitan|
|Northwest High School||McDermott||Northwest Local|
|River Valley Middle School||Bidwell||Gallia County Local|
|Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School||Cincinnati||Cincinnati City|
1The graduation requirement applies only where five or more students were supposed to graduate in the given school year. 2Only grades with five or more economically disadvantaged test takers are considered. 3The racial and ethnic subgroups tracked are White, Non-Hispanic; Black, Non-Hispanic; Hispanic; Asian/Pacific Islander; and American Indian/Alaska Native. Only groups with five or more test takers are considered. 4The tested grades are 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th
In spite of high poverty, tight budgets, sub-optimal parent participation and ill preparation, there are schools that produce extraordinary students and remarkable stories of success.