Wednesday October 3, 2012
Harvard professor Roland Fryer recently published a paper titled Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools. Dr. Fryer studied 35 charter schools in New York and then looked at how Houston and Denver implemented five top practices from these charters in some of their low-performing schools, yielding very promising results. We at UTRU have read the policy brief and discussion paper and found the following takeaways to be most relevant for teacher preparation.
Focus on human capital Dr. Fryer found that teachers of all experience levels need increased feedback based on classroom observations, as well as ongoing (preferably weekly) professional development. Residency programs must prepare their teachers for this kind of regular observation, feedback, and development, ideally modeling and practicing this during the residency year.
Use student data to drive instruction Schools that conduct regular assessments of students every four to six weeks and then use this data to drive their instruction were found to be most successful. Additionally, Dr. Fryer recommends meeting with students individually to set goals after more in-depth assessments. While we cannot dictate how principals implement this sort of model schoolwide, residencies can prepare their teachers to assess their classrooms regularly and to conduct individual goal development with students.
Establish a culture of high expectations In order to establish a culture of high expectations, Dr. Fryer proposes conducting a school- or classroom-wide “culture camp” during the first week of school to establish behaviors and actions conducive to achieving success. He also suggests posting goals and college posters on classroom walls in order to promote a culture of college readiness.
We are curious to hear whether these practices resonate with your residents, mentors, and graduates. Please share your thoughts by adding your comments here!
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