Charter schools cannot be viewed as the ultimate solution to problems with the local schools. Now, before you think that this is just another charter-school bashing article, I want to say that I serve on the board of PATH Academy (a DeKalb charter school with a lottery and a separate governing board) and I send my daughter to a DeKalb theme school (a public school with a lottery yet without a separate governing board).
Obviously, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I really tried to work with the school administration to help address truly important issues that seemed essential to retaining teachers and helping holistically increase student achievement. However, that style of proactive problem-solving was great for getting some things done. It was not, on the other hand, effective at building strong relationships between me and my administration.
Guests will be able to provide feedback and gain insights so that the next iteration of the Cross Keys Freshman Academy will be even better than the first. This will also serve as an opportunity for prospective families to Cross Keys to understand more about “The CK Way” and the benefits that our school may bring to their student. More information will be available once the school year begins.
Recently I was selected to lead a professional development for the DeKalb Educators' Annual Conference 2016. The session was titled Authentic Learning: How to Facilitate Community Development Through Project-Based Learning. I'm sharing this because I received so much positive feedback from attendees who couldn't wait to get started with these types of projects in their classrooms, and I figured someone else out there might benefit from these ideas.
When I think back over the course of this year, and all the work the students put in to The BuHi Project, I am amazed at how much we were able to accomplish. I have had several students make significant gains in reading. They’ve gone from a fifth-grade reading level (as assessed by the STAR Reader program) to an eighth-grade reading level – and in some cases even higher.
Additionally, an investment that contributes to the health and growth of a community can directly or indirectly affect the students and their families in a holistic manner. Students living in blighted communities perform worse in school, experience more health problems, and struggle with the effects of poverty in economic and social ways. Investing in this particular Buford Highway community could be one of the best ways the school system could support student success in a real way. As research repeatedly shows, helping communities out of poverty is one of the best ways to improve a student’s academic, social, and economic prospects.