Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Louis Public Schools: School Improvement Grants

I just recently attended a meeting at Hamilton Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School District. A lot of important information was shared with parents and community. I took it upon myself to go directly to the SLPS website to get additional information. During the Special Administrative Board meeting on April 15, 2010, Dr. Kelvin Adams, Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, made several recommendations to address the projected $57.5 million deficit for the 2010-2011 school year. The United States Education Department expects School Improvement Grants in the SLPS District be used for the implementation of one of four rigorous school intervention models:
1. The Turnaround Model: Replace the principal and rehire no more that 50% of the staff and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes. Schools Participating: Columbia, Hamilton, Mann, Sigel, and Vashon.

2. Restart School Model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process. Schools Participating: Ashland, Central, VPA, Sumner and Walbridge.

3. Closure Model: Close school and enroll students in other schools in the Local Educational Agencies (LEA) that are higher achieving. School Participating: Bunche.

4. Transformation Model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support. Schools Participating: Carr Lane, Gateway Middle, Fanning, Jefferson, L'Ouverture, Long, Langston, Stevens, Yeatman, Dunbar, and Roosevelt.

I think it is vitally important that not only parents of SLPS students, but the community to get involved. Not to go to the School Board Meetings and act foolish, but to read all of the information that SLPS is providing to the public and to make some intelligent decisions regarding the education of our children. Now is the time for the residents of the City of St. Louis to be IN PURSUIT OF EDUCATION. Go to the website and read as much information as your can. Did you know that at the public libraries you can print out 200 pages each month free. Print out this information, highlight those things you don't understand so that when you go to a meeting, you can ask them what it means. Let's not drop the ball. We want the best education for our children in the SLPS. Let's not be dictated by some people who have never taught in a classroom, except when doing student teaching, or people who haven't been in a classroom in over 10 years, or people who don't live in our area and don't know our struggles. Let's be informed and united in our fight to improve our city schools.

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