Stories from the Field

As superintendent of the ABC Unified School District in Southeast Los Angeles, Ron Barnes knew that averages can be deceiving. Home to one of the highest-performing schools in California, his school district's test score averages stood up well against state scores. Yet this small, urban district's overall high performance rate...
Story posted November 19, 2009. Results updated January 28, 2014. Results: Although Indian Springs serves a significantly higher percentage of low-income students than the state, they met or exceeded the state average on standardized tests in most grades and subjects and came within two percentage points in all others. In...
Story posted April 7, 2010. Results updated January 28, 2014. Results: • Lewisdale outperforms average state proficiency rates in all grades and subjects except one, with a significantly higher population of low-income students. • In 2013, 80% of 5th grade students scored proficient or above in science, up from 49%...
Fenway High has a unique history. It was founded in 1983 as a program for students in at-risk situations who were failing in the more traditional high schools. Fenway became a pilot school in 1995 and is now open to all students, serving a diverse population that is 44% African-American,...
There’s a real conversation-starter hanging on a wall outside the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System’s (CMCSS) board room. It’s a wall-sized poster of football players representing each of this Middle Tennessee district’s seven high schools. They are standing on the 50-yard line, in uniform, looking tough and determined, with game faces...
Vancouver, Washington, is a city of around 165,500, located just north of Portland, Oregon. About 22,500 children attend the city’s public schools. But as elsewhere, not all of those schools perform equally – and students affected by poverty often attend the lowest-performers. In the Vancouver district, approximately 54 percent of...
Story posted October 7, 2011. Updated April 28, 2015 Results: Dramatic decreases in student failure rates since 2009 From 52% to 19% in English Language Arts From 44% to 13% in math From 41% to 19% in science From nearly 33% to less than 10% in social studies Dramatic decreases...
Cameron Elementary School in Barstow, CA, serves a very diverse population-almost half are Hispanic and a quarter are African-American. Over 70% of students receive free or reduced lunch. School staff faced a daunting challenge: getting students to want to come to school and learn. Cameron staff wanted to show students,...
The high schools in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District had a problem. Some students were scoring below proficiency on their 8th grade standardized tests. Fueled by the conviction that all students can learn, and that high school is not too late to turn students' lives around, the district tried...