Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What a Great Public School Looks Like

Credit:  Washington State Charter School Association

For Families What Are Public Charter Schools
Commonly Asked Questions
Why Families Support Charter Schools
How Families Can Get Involved
What Does a Great School Look Like
Additional Questions
While the right school differs for each child, there is a lot of research that confirms key elements a public school should have in place to ensure all of its students are set up for success. Below is a checklist that can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your schools.

1. High expectations are communicated to students frequently
In schools with high student achievement, students clearly know the difference between high and low expectations—and they are regularly encouraged to set high goals for themselves.

2. Extra help for those who need it
Every school should have a system in place to identify kids as soon as they start to struggle, and should reserve time and resources for the immediate help those kids need to stay on course.

3. Family and community involvement
Students thrive when their schools encourage positive relationships among families, educators, civic organizations, businesses, and other community members.

4. Strong leaders who support their staff
Every school needs a skilled principal who supervises and supports personnel effectively, is seen as a leader among staff, and keeps the school running smoothly. These leaders invest in the professional development opportunities their teachers need to become even better.

5. Teachers professional development directly supports student learning needs
All teachers should have enough time to plan lessons, carefully review student performance, and continuously improve their teaching. This will help ensure they can tailor their instruction to meet the needs of each student.

6. User-friendly information on school results
Families should be able to easily access information on how well a school is serving all of its students. This includes information on a school’s graduation requirements, graduation and dropout rates, and student performance on state tests.

7. Ground rules set the tone for respectful behavior
Effective school leaders build a climate of trust and respect, encourage peaceful solutions to conflict, and respond directly to any bullying, verbal abuse, or other threats. As a result, teachers are respectful to the students, and students are respectful to their classmates and their teachers.

8. Structured classroom routines
Unfortunately, many students don’t have stable family lives. Schools that can create a safe, structured environment see more respectful and engaged students—and better academic results.

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