Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be ... · that Dr. Adelaide Sanford, member of the NYS Boardof Regents, has playedat the national, stale, and city levels 10 develop - [PDF Document] (2024)


ED 448 212 UD 032 928

AUTHOR Connell, NoreenTITLE Getting off the List: School Improvement in New York City.INSTITUTION Educational Priorities Panel, New York, NY.SPONS AGENCY Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Inc., New York, NY.PUB DATE 1996-11-00NOTE 105p.; Appendices 5 and 6 not included in ERIC copy.PUB TYPE Reports Research (143)EDRS PRICE MF01/PC05 Plus Postage.DESCRIPTORS *Achievement Gains; Case Studies; Disadvantaged Youth;

*Educational Improvement; Educational Planning; ElementarySecondary Education; *Instructional Leadership; Poverty;Principals; *School Effectiveness; School Restructuring;*Urban Schools

IDENTIFIERS *New York City Board of Education

ABSTRACTMany programs advocated by civic organizations, parents, and

education officials are bringing about positive results in the quality ofinstruction and services for students in New York City. This report describesthe complex process of school improvement as it actually occurred in 10schools. Members of the Educational Priorities Panel interviewed.principals,teachers, and parents at six elementary schools, two middle.schools, and twohigh schools that had been removed from the state's list of low-performingschools. All of these schools serve a high proportion of poor children, andsome serve communities with high numbers of recent immigrants. There was onestartlingly common pattern among the schools. The principals and their staffmembers had given their primary attention to solving the problem of lowstudent achievement, and all other strategies emerged from this centralfocus. The common pattern included a capable principal and a strong schoolplanning committee that focused on developing new instructional strategies.Based on this evaluation of successful schools, recommendations are made forinstructional improvement. Case studies of the individual schools areattached, and an appendix contains methodological notes and additionalinformation about the reform process. (Contains 12 tables.) (SLD)

Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be madefrom the original document.




14)feco Col.n4



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONOffice of Educational Research and Improvement


pi This document has been reproduced asreceived from the person or organizationoriginating it.

Minor changes have been made toimprove reproduction quality.

Points of view or opinions stated in thisdocument do not necessarily representofficial OERI position or policy.





Advocates for ChildrenAmerican Jewish Committee, New York Chapter

Asian American CommunicationsASPIRA of New York

Association for the Help of Retarded ChildrenBlack Agency Executives, Inc.

Citizens' Committee for Children of New York, Inc.The City Club of New YorkCommunity Service Society

The Junior League of BrooklynThe Junior League of New York City, Inc.

League of Women Voters of New York City, Inc.New York Coalition of 100 Black Women

New York Urban LeagueParent to Parent, New York State

Parents' Coalition for Education in New York CityPresbytery of New York City

PROGRESS, Inc.Public Education Association

Reform Church in America, Synod of New YorkResources for Children with Special Needs, Inc.

Rheedlen Centers for Children and FamiliesUnited Neighborhood HousesUnited Parents Associations

Women's City Club of New York

EDUCATIONAL PRIORITIES PANEL225 Broadway Suite 3101New York, NY 10007

(212) 964-7347

Noreen Connell, Executive DirectorDr. Joan Scheuer, Finance ConsultantDr. Evelyn Jones Rich, Legislative Representative

This report was made possible bya $5,000 grant from theRobert Sterling Clark Foundation

Jan Atwell, ChairpersonMiguel Salazar, Vice Chairperson

Other Support for the Educational PrioritiesThe Aaron Diamond FoundationChemical BankDonors' Education CollaborativeNew York Community TrustThe C. & S. Schott FoundationThe Scherman Foundation, Inc.

Panel for 1995-96 Has Been Provided bv:American ExpressBlue Ridge FoundationMorgan Guaranty Trust CompanyPrimerica FoundationPresbytery of New YorkS.H. & H. Scheuer Family Foundation




Noreen Connell, Author November 1996Judith Stern Torres, Research Consultant



Improving student academic achievement must become the central mission of the schoolsystem at all levels of its functioning.

No one could imagine a discussion of the performance of the city's police departmentwithout reference to crime statistics, yet discussions of the city's school system are strangelydevoid of context. Supporters of the school system champion efforts to fix deteriorating buildingsand end overcrowding by providing more funds for school repairs and construction of newschools. The unstated promise is that given a better physical environment, student academicachievement will improve. Yet, there are hundreds of schools that are functioning at less thancapacity with no serious building repair problems; and still their students' academic performancelevels are poor. But critics of the school system also avoid the issue of academic performance.They look at school security or the pattern of corruption of notorious community school boards.But if all these problems were corrected, New York City public schools would still not be the firstchoice for most parents with the means to move to the suburbs or enroll their children in a privateschool. Nor would employers or colleges be made more confident that high school graduates haveattained the basic skills and knowledge to function in the work place or as freshmen.

What is so painfully sad about the lack of focus on improving student achievement is thewealth of talent, energy and commitment that exists among school officials, principals, teachersand other school staff members in New York City. In EPP's 1994 report on new teachers,Swimming Upstream, we were surprised to find a high degree of idealism and support for publiceducation, especially among those individuals who were entering teaching as a second career. Alarge number of respondents explicitly stated that they were directly motivated to enter the teachingprofession to raise the expectations and academic performance of low-income children. Too often,however, these motivated teachers enter schools where the expectations of low-income children arelimited and where instructional effectiveness is ignored. To counter this negativity, ChancellorCrew released a report this past May, "Debunking the Myth," that highlighted 17 schools withpoverty levels of 90% or higher where students scored above the 50th percentile in reading and anadditional 30 schools with poverty levels of 90% or higher where students scored above the 50thpercentile in math. We applaud the Chancellor's efforts to show that administrators and instructorsin many schools serving high-poverty communities are achieving acceptable levels of studentacademic performance.

The central qu- tion is how to change the institutional culture of the public educationsystem so that the vast majority of schools succeed in their instructional mission, This report is apartial answer to this question. Many of the programs long advocated by civic organizations,parents, and education officials such as, the identification of low-performing schools, highquality staff development, school planning committees, the infusion of art into the school day,flexible funding and scheduling, and curriculum standards -- are bringing about positive results inthe quality of instruction and services for children in New York City. But none of them are magicelixirs. We offer this report in the hopes that a closer look at the complex process of schoolimprovement as it actually occurred in ten schools will help to accelerate the pace of reform.

Acknowledgments: The Educational Priorities Panel would like to thank the principals andplanning committee members of schools we studied and the staff members of the New York StateEducational Department and the New York. City Board of Education for the time and assistancethey granted us in preparing this report. EPP would also like to acknowledge the leadership rolethat Dr. Adelaide Sanford, member of the NYS Boardof Regents, has played at the national, stale,and city levels 10 develop an action agenda to eliminate the existence of schools where children IOUto learn.


This report represents EPP's findings and recommendations on school improvement basedon its analysis of the reports of stakeholders in ten schools on the processes and additionalresources that brought about positive changes in their schools, in other words, "what worked."

Because evidence for substantial improvement in low-performing schools has been rare, itis critical that New York's educational community study the schools where real improvements didoccur (however modest or impressive), and learn whatever lessons we can learn about "how it canbe done." If there ever was a time when resources for education needed to be spent strategically toencourage school improvement, that time is now. The education of New York City's children isclearly at stake in a climate of shrinking budgets and diminishing political support for the educationof inner-city children.

If asked the question, How do you improve a failing school?", members of the generalpublic, newspaper reporters, legislators, and other public officials would no doubt give a widevariety of opinions. Among the most frequently mentioned answers would be: hire a newprincipal, end overcrowding, improve discipline, reduce class size, make building repairs, and buynew textbooks. Even at meetings of education reformers and activists, an optimistic comment willsometimes be made that We know what practices work to turn around a failing school all weneed to do is put them in place. Can this problem really be solved so easily? Do we know with

certain what se racti ? What does "im roved" ho 1 lo k like in i da -t II -I.functioning?

This report is an attempt to go beyond opinion by looking at schools where improvementactually took place. Members of the Educational Priorities Panel, with the assistance of staff and aconsultant, interviewed principals, teachers, and parents at ten schools that had been removed fromthe state's list of low performing schools to learn about the processes and additional resources thatbrought about positive changes in these schools. While these are only a handful of schools, thissmall sample represents ten out of a total of thirteen schools in New York City that by 1995 hadexperienced positive outcomes after five years of State Education Department identification andintervention efforts. (Two schools improved by closing and then reopening with completely newstaff. The third school that was not included in this study was judged to still be in need ofimprovement after the EPP members observed classroom sessions and interviewed school staff.)

All schools studied in this report serve a high proportion of poor children and some servecommunities with high numbers of recent immigrants, so many of their students are engaged inlearning English. We independently verified that all ten schools, six elementary, two middleschools and two high schools, improved their performance, some substantially. Children whowere limited English proficient (LEP) in all these schools, however, did not show gains in theiracademic achievement and some experienced a decline.


If there was any shared preconception among EPP members before the site visits began, itwas that them would be no simple formula for school improvement. This preconception turned outto be wrong. The formula is so obvious and so simple, it was almost invisible to us at thebeginning. By the end of this study, after reviewing and analyzing all the interview responses, wecould see that there was one startlingly common pattern among all ten schools: these principals andstaff members had given their primary attention to solving the problem of low student achievement,All other strategies emerged from this central focus,



Improvement, for most schools, was not a simple matter of replacing the principal. In oursample of schools, five of the principals were replacing previous principals who had also tried toturn around their schools. In two of the schools, the principals who brought about improvementhad been principals of their schools for a substantial period of time, but they implemented newstrategies with their staff members to bring about needed change. The story of school improvementconformed o th Noll wood scenario of " k char e" rin is sf rmin s ismal choolenvironment in just three schools.

How did these principals succeed and how did these schools change? There werestriking similarities. Many of the principals we interviewed were hard-driving, entrepreneurial, andcharismatic. The characteristic that all of them shared was that they were managers of instruction,not just managers of a building. The common pattern in the schools that "got off the list" was agood working relationship between a capable principal and a strong school planning committee thatfocused, as a priority, on developing new instructional strategies. Though technical assistance andstaff development were critical tools in these schools for improving instruction and the functioningof the school planning committee, the principals stressed that teachers and other staff had to "buyinto" change. The most important strategies utilized were:

Aligning the curriculum across grades and across classes within the same grade;Improving the quality of instruction in the classroom;Monitoring student performance data to see whether different strategies were working;Creating a "student-centered" and "parent-friendly" environment;Establishing linkages with outside organizations, corporations, and services;Introducing a strong arts program;

Changing the composition of the teaching staff.

In eight of the ten schools studied., those interviewed cited a dramatic change in thecomposition of the teaching staff as a critical factor in improving the quality of instruction in theschool and in transforming the effectiveness of the planning team. In the other schools with nostaff changes, there was a new focus on "feedback" to teachers on whether their students weremaking academic progress. In all schools, the principals clearly communicated their expectations ofclassroom teachers to EPP interviewers. Their ability to communicate these expectations so clearlyprobably contributed significantly to theireffectiveness as managers.

Principals differed as to whether their school would have improved without being placed inthe state's low-performing school identification program, which most perceived as biased againstschools serving high-poverty and high-immigrant communities. On the other hand, planning teammembers that we interviewed all expressed the opinion that the SURR designation encouraged theirschool's improvement. They reported that the possibility that the school would be closed created awillingness on the part of the staff to adopt new strategies.

How was school improvement funded? A majority of principals had succeeded in getting anumber of grants for their school, but for the most part school improvement was funded throughsupplementary federal Title 1 and state PCEN funds and extra assistance from districts. JPP foundthat school improvement can beichieved in a fiscal atmosphere of strained fe4eral, state, and citybudgets, as long as these extra funds for school improvement are available and uied to improveinstructional performance. However, in six of the ten schools tbAt had been significantly affectedby the 1995-96 tax -levy budget cuts, the principals resorted Olathe loss of staff and srograins hadslowed their school improvement efforts,


Because a focus on improving low student achievement was the common pattern in theschools we studied, EPP's recommendations reflect this key finding. Newspaper headlines aboutovercrowding or incompetent school staff and the claims of elected officials about the need forgovernance changes tend to imply that if these problems were solved, schools would improve,ultimately. These common answers to the question, How do you improve afailing school? all havean element of truth to them, but if student academic achievement is not tackled directly thesechanges will not lead to "improved" schools. Buildings should be in a state of good repair simplybecause children deserve a decent learning environment. Yet the repair of a leaking roof or the'plumbing will not lead to the mastery of mathematics. Nor will a smaller average class sizenecessarily mean that the school will have a coherent instructional program or that students willdevelop mastery of subject matter and critical thinking skills. Our recommendations, as outlinedbelow, fall into four broad categories. Although we have provided a condensed version of ourrecommendations here for the sake of convenienc_e, we urge you _to read the completed text of ourrecommendations beginning on Rage 36 for a fuller explanation of each recommendation.


1. Establish routine, public disclosure and discussion of understandable and meaningful data onthe academic progress of students in every school and benchmarks for school improvement bypolicy-making bodies at all levels of the school system.

2. SED and BOE must define and gather data on schools to more accurately measure schoolperformance.

3. BOE must present a clearer picture of the percentage of students performing at grade level onstandardized tests in school report cards and other publicly distributed measures of school anddistrict performance.

4. Student achievement statistics must no longer separately report the performance statistics ongeneral education students and mildly disabled students.

5. Provide more training to all school staff, parent groups, and policy making bodies onunderstanding school and student performance statistics.


6. Strengthen curricula in all schools and align it across grades and within subject matter.

7. Strengthen teacher training and performance in all schools.

8. Better oversight of principals' performance.

9. Introduce more high quality, school-based art, music, journalism, and literatureprograms in schools.

10. Require school staff to provide a "student-centered" and "parent-friendly" environment.

11. Strengthen bilingual and ESL programs.


12. Create more collaborations between schools and outside institutions, corporations,community-based organizations, and foundations.


13. Work with the unions that represent principals and teachers to create incentives and rewardsfor professionals serving high-poverty communities who succeed in bringing their studentsup to state standards.

14. Total reorganization or closure of schools must remain an ultimate sanction and it must beutilized within a set time period.

15. SED and BOE, jointly or separately, must be empowered to intercede in districts with highnumbers of SURR schools.

16. Large numbers of schools must not be identified for corrective action all at one time. Instead,SED and BOE should continue to identify a more manageable number so that the identificationof low-performing schools leads to instructional improvement or the total reorganization ofschools where performance has not improved significantly.


17. Successful programs should have sustained funding through both public and private sources.

18. BOE and SED must monitor schools' and districts' use of Title 1 and PCEN funds forinstructional effectiveness.



Introduction: Why We Did This Study and How It Was Conducted 1

Common Characteristics of Improved Schools 4

Why These Principals Succeeded 7

How These Schools Changed 12

Intervention by Higher-Level Officials: Who or What Helped? 17

Evaluating School Performance More Fairly: The Demographic Issues 26

Funding School Improvement 30

Recommendations 36


The Elementary Schools 47

The Middle Schools 56

The High Schools 58


I. An Overview of Efforts to Improve Low-Performing Schools in New York 1

2. Methodological Notes 9

3. Details of School Settings & Characteristics 12

4. Patterns of Progress in School Outcomes 16

5. Schools that Palled to Improve 25

6. New State Regulations on Low Performing Schools 48


This report represents EPP's findings and recommendations on school improvementbased on its analysis of the reports of staff members in ten schools on the processes andadditional resources that brought about positive changes in their schools, in other words,"what worked."

Because evidence for substantial improvement in low-performing schools has beenrare, it is critical that New York's educational community study the schools where realimprovements did occur (however modest or impressive), and learn whatever lessons wecan learn about "how it can be done." If there ever was a time when resources for educationneeded to be spent strategically to encourage school improvement, that time is now. Theeducation of New York City's children is clearly at stake in a climate of shrinking budgetsand diminishing political support for the education of inner-city children.

At meetings of education reformers and activists, an optimistic comment willsometimes be made that "We know what practices work to turn around a failing school -- allwe need to do is put them in place." Can this problem really be solved so easily? Do weknow with any certainty what these practices are? What does an "improved" school look likein its day-to-day functioning?

Another reason for EPP's interest in how schools can improve their performancestems from our coalition's twenty-year commitment to advocating that the maximumresources available to the public school system in New York City go to students inclassrooms and that children with the greatest educational needs receive a larger share ofresources so that they can reach the academic achievement levels of their peers. Ouradvocacy is guided by the precept that "all children can learn and attain high standards ofperformance."

While education officials at all levels of the New York City public education systemecho this maxim, the day-to-day reality is that most students in high-poverty communitiesattend schools where average achievement levels are the lowest in the state. That someelementary schools are allowed to continue to function for decades when more than twothirds of their students test below grade level have led to assertions that there is a practice, ifnot a policy, of "benign neglect" by the New York City Board of Education.

This practice is not new. Despite a wide-spread notion that at one time there was a"golden age" for public education in New York City, newspaper stories and officialdocuments from any decade show that the standards of performance for schools servingmostly poor children were lower than the average for the city. In the past, however, largenumbers of manufacturing and service jobs existed for those with only the most basic skills.This is no longer true today. Sustained efforts to improve the performance of administratorsand teachers in schools serving high-poverty neighborhoods are now critical to improvingeducational and economic opportunities for over one-third of New York City's public schoolstudents. Can the practices of administrators and teachers in schools that improved beduplicated throughout the system?


The Educational Priorities Panel decided to examine the school-improvement processin detail through a series of case studies in places where successful changes had occurred.For the purposes of this study, this was defined as schools that had been removed from theState Education Department's list of "Schools Under Registration Review," widely knownby its acronym, SURR. While the previous State Education Department's school-improvement program had identified three-hundred-and-ninety-three public schools in NewYork City as "low performing," more than one out of every three schools in the system, theRegistration Review process focused on a smaller and more manageable number of schoolswith low and declining performance on state standards. (See Appendix for history of cityand state school-improvement programs and specific performance standards used by eachprogram.) After this study was completed, the state's SURR program was restructured. Wedescribe the changes in Sections V and VI of this report.

From 1989, when the SURR list was initiated, to the spring of 1996, one hundredand fourteen schools had been placed on the list, all but twelve in New York City. By thespring of 1995, a total of thirteen New York City schools had improved their studentperformance to levels that allowed them to be removed from the SURR list and two NewYork City SURR schools were closed. By the spring of 1996, an additional eleven schoolswere removed. So far, 29% of schools, after at least two years on the SURR list, haveimproved their performance levels sufficiently to be removed.

EPP looked at the thirteen schools that were removed from the list by the spring of1995. Two of these schools had been closed and completely reorganized with no memberof the staff of the original school still in the building. Once the eleven remaining schools hadbeen identified, teams comprised of EPP staff and members of the EPP's Monitoring andResearch Committee, accompanied by student "externs" from Yale University, undertook aseries of school visits and structured interviews. To permit EPP to make an evaluation,independent from the State Department of Education, that positive changes had occurred inthe schools under study, a consultant reviewed current and past New York City Board ofEducation "School Profile" data to determine the extent to which student performance levelshad improved and in what areas. This review also included an analysis of the possibility ofsignificant changes in the demographic characteristics of the student population, such as adrop in student poverty rates or an increase in the proportion of English-spealdng students,that could account for improved student performance levels without improvements in schooladministration, instruction, curriculum, and environment. (See Appendix.)

The validity of some of the statistics for three out of the eleven schools weresomewhat questionable. The problem at one school is described in the next paragraph.Another elementary school was officially two elementary schools, so the data was eitherincomplete and sometimes unavailable. At another school, the principal, when asked, sharedhis suspicions that student test scores of the annex housed in his building were combinedwith those of his students.

Seven elementary, two middle schools, and two high schools were visited by an EPPteam which spent about one-half day interviewing at each school. At one elementary school,all three staff members interviewed (including the acting principal) stated that the school'smajor improvement efforts had taken place under the principal when the school had beenplaced on the SURR list and under the principal who succeeded her when the first principalretired. Even though the school had been removed from the list and EPP's consultant hadverified that student performance remained higher than when the school was placed on thelist, the staff (all interviewed separately), expressed serious doubts about how well theschool was functioning. Observations of some classroom instruction sessions and of

students roaming the halls confirmed their concerns. After all the school visits werecompleted, EPP asked the Board of Education whether the student standardized test scoresof a "mini school" housed in the same school building were included in the averages for theschool. The answer was yes. Since those interviewed at the school stated that there was norelationship between the larger school and the "mini school" beyond sharing the building,our assumption is that the "mini" school test scores substantially improved the overallstudent achievement data for the school. For these reasons, this school was removed fromthis study of school improvement.

All interviewees were promised that their identities and the identities of their schoolswould be kept confidential by EPP, though the small number of schools under study and theindividual characteristics of the schools would allow knowledgeable people to make accurateguesses as to the schools under study and the individuals interviewed. It must be noted thatit was not always possible to speak with a full range of stakeholders while visiting everyschool. The interviewers met at length with the principal in nine schools using a standardinterview guide. In one school, the principal responsible for the school's improvement tookanother administrative position before the study was begun, so the acting principal wasinterviewed at the school site and the previous principal was interviewed by phone. In sevenschools, the EPP Monitoring Committee was able to speak with a variety of members of theplanning team, including other administrators, teachers, a librarian, a guidance counselor, astaff developer and a parent. In the remaining four schools, phone interviews by EPP staffwere conducted with a teacher designated by the principal. By the end of the July 1995,interviews had been conducted with at least one school planning team member in eachschool. In the spring of 1996, the nine principals and the one former principal were sent thecase summaries for their review for errors and to ask follow-up questions on funding issues.

Before making school site visits and in order to develop our interview questionnaire,EPP staff and members met with State Education Department staff involved with the SURRprogram; members of then Chancellor Ramon Cortines' senior staff as well as other NewYork City Board of Education personnel involved in identifying low performing schools.After the site visits were concluded, a United Federation of Teachers staff member servingasliaison to low-performing schools was also interviewed, and EPP members met again withSED and BOE staff. Since these individuals had the most extensive and direct experience inreviewing low-performing schools, we asked these education officials to identify thecommon characteristics of schools that had shown significant improvement and whatdistinguished them from schools still on the SURR list. Individuals in both groups, as wellas many of the principals interviewed at the school site, referred to many of the principles of"effective schools" outlined by Ronald Edmonds, who stressed the critical role of theprincipal in the school as the "instructional leader." (Undoubtedly, these orientationinterviews influenced the questions that EPP members asked, what was observed, and thewriting of this report.)

3 13


EPP members asked State Education Department and Board of Education staffmembers with the most extensive experience with low-performing schools whether therewere any similarities among schools that managed to "get off the list" that distinguished themfrom schools that did not. The on-site interviews with school personnel confirmed most oftheir descriptions of the similarities among these schools:

The major focus of the principal and staff is on academicimprovement. Since most low-performing schools have multiple problems, efforts atimprovement involve working on attendance, parent participation, building repairs, studentdiscipline, and a host of other pressing issues that contribute to low student achievement.Some school staff make significant headway on one or several fronts, but do not makeimprovement in instruction a priority. Problem solving in a non-academic area does notresult in academic improvement. It merely eliminates a potential barrier to increasing thelevels of student achievement, if and only if, the instructional program itself is strengthened.In successful schools, the academic deficiency cited by the State Education Department istackled by the principal and teachers.

The curriculum is "aligned." In most low-performing schools, teachers workin isolation. Even within one elementary grade or one middle/high school subject, teacherswill use different approaches and different concepts, many without regard to state, city, anddistrict curricula frameworks and standards. The result is that when students move to ahigher grade or subject level, more likely than not, there will be no continuity. For example,among educators there is an on-going debate about whether phonics or a literature-basedapproach is the best method of teaching reading. In many low-performing schools, youngstudents bounce back and forth between the two methods. Even in schools using just onereading approach, there is no continuity in the textbook series or consensus among teachersabout the level of mastery students should achieve at different grades. New andinexperienced teachers are not informed of the relationship between their course work andstandardized tests that are administered to their students, and more experienced teachers oftenignore the relationship.

The principal and school staff, especially the teachers, work togetheron a shared plan of action. The State Education Department (SED) unit, the staff thathad the most sustained experience with low-performing schools, recounted a range ofexamples where the "mix" was wrong: Some hard working, capable, and highly intelligentprincipals could not get the support of their staffs, and their plans were ignored or activelysubverted. In other schools, the staff was highly committed to school improvement, but theprincipal remained distant and uninvolved. Yet other schools had both key ingredients forschool improvement, a capable principal and a dedicated, motivated staff, but no sharedvision or plans. In the schools that got off the list, the dynamics between the principal andthe staff were good. The SED unit cautioned us against a simplistic assumption of what"good dynamics" meant. In some improved schools, the principals were "top down"managers, but the staff accepted this management style. In yet other schools, the planningteam shared leadership with a principal who either encouraged or adjusted well to morecollective decision making.

The school is "student centered" and "parent friendly." Both unitsreported that when schools are first placed on the list, some can be categorized as "out ofcontrol," with children roaming the halls, continual classroom disruptions, and high rates ofabsenteeism, but that a good number of elementary schools that also are placed on the list are

models of order and calm. In the latter groups of schools, staff members are obsessiveabout controlling student behavior. At both types of schools, once school improvementefforts take hold, the staff begin to tackle a host of problems, from learning to absentee rates,by beginning to see the school environment and its routines from the point of view of thestudent. The staff also begins to make the school more inviting to parents and to figure outwhat positive roles they can play in student learning or behavior. EPP site visits andinterviews revealed that linkages with outside community based organizations, corporations,and arts programs played a particularly important role in both ending the isolation of theschool from the larger community but also in creating a sense of excitement and joyfulactivities for youth.

Administrators and staff continually track and analyze changes instudent achievement and school improvement. From the time that a school is firstplaced on a list of low-performing schools, the principal and staff find themselves immersedin conversations and memoranda with different levels of the education systemacknowledging or challenging the data on how well their students are performing. For manyof these administrators and teachers, this is the first time they have devoted a significantportion of their time to reading and understanding their school's student achievementstatistics. What characterizes most of the schools that succeed in getting off the list is that theadministrators and teachers go beyond proficiency in understanding data. They look to see ifthe performance of their higher achieving students, those in the highest quartile, can beimproved. Or they analyze the progress of their bottom quartile students to what skill areasneed to be stressed for the majority of students. In other words, they become academicproblem solvers. Even after getting off the list, these administrators and teachers use data toverify that their plans are, as they hoped, succeeding.

The school has a strong arts, music, or literature component. The SEDstaff stressed that this was a shared characteristic of schools that had been removed from theSURR list and those that were in the process of improving. Healthy skepticism by somemembers of the EPP Monitoring Committee greeted this assertion. It was good to have theselong neglected classes and programs return to some New York City schools after the city's1975-76 fiscal crisis had wiped out most of these nonacademic classes. But could theyreally be a significant factor in turning around low-performing schools? The school-sitevisits gave ample confirmation to even the most skeptical EPP members of the importance ofthese programs to school improvement efforts.

The amount of effort devoted to school improvement was not a distinguishingcharacteristic of schools that "got off the list." In the orientation sessions we were told thatEPP members would observe that the schools' staff members were in a constant battle withscheduling to find more time for teacher consultations, training, and planning meetings. Theschool improvement units cautioned that this battle to secure more time, the extra hours ofwork (much of it uncompensated in a good number of schools), and, in some cases, the"burn-out" of selected staff members characterized not only the schools that succeeded ingetting off the list, but, sadly, also many of the schools that do not. In their opinion, schoolstaff in improved schools do not work harder than those that do not improve. but they workbetter and use additional staff time better. We were fully informed at length that schoolimprovement, whether successful or not, takes an immense amount of effort and time. Yet itwas only when EPP members actually began school-site interviews that we fully appreciatedthe meaning of these predictions. While many reported that after the "initial push" or climatic"breakthrough", the extra hours and the emotional and intellectual stress from participating inplanning sessions and mastering new methods of instruction had lessened, the effort neededto continue school improvement remained considerable.


Once the school-site interviews began, it was clear to the EPP Monitoring Committeethat two additional characteristics of improved schools listed by both units dealt with morecomplex issues than were initially understood at the orientation meetings:

Community school district support. Both SED and BOE school improvementunits asserted that, with a few notable exceptions, schools that were removed from theSURR list received significant support from district administrators for school improvementefforts. EPP Monitoring Committee members had been forewarned about two schoolswhere tensions existed between the principals and the superintendents, and they were citedas exceptions to the general pattern. And, indeed, a few principals we talked to readilyagreed that additional funds, programs, and/or flexibility by community school or highschool district superintendents were critical in helping the school turn around. For someprincipals, " district support" also included an agreement that the district would no longerassign problem students or staff to the school (this practice is called "dumping"). Of course,this district practice had helped contribute to the school's low performance. A much largernumber of elementary principals than we expected reported that they had not received enoughsupport or were simply relieved that they had been "left alone." These issues are discussedin greater detail in "Who or What Helped."

The demographic issues. We were told that even after schools had been removed fromthe SURR list, there was still unhappiness about having been put on the list. The schoolimprovement units described for us their first-hand experience of the highly charged reactionof staff when they learn that their school has been placed on the SURR list, which is akin toa grieving process. First there is denial, then anger, followed by acceptance and ultimatelyby action. Administrators and teachers begin to admit that their students are not the problem,but "the problem is us." The administrators and teachers where real improvement had takenplace, however, "moved beyond feelings of anger" about their school's placement on theSURR list by becoming "problem solvers."

The anger, however, remained strong. Every interview was considerably lengthenedby angry, highly emotionally charged recitations by principals of why the SURR programwas flawed. The most frequently made argument by school administrators was that theSURR program to identify low-performing schools was inherently "unfair" because it tendedto identify schools with large numbers of students who were non English speaking, mostlylow-income, and underachieving due to a host of problems, such as unstable families withlittle educational background. These demographic issues are discussed later in this report.

To some degree, however, the characterization of the SED and central Board ofEducation units were accurate in their assessment that these administrators and teachers hadmoved beyond anger to become problem solvers. Those interviewed frequently madestatements, such as: "We had to realize that we just had to work harder, that's all." "Werealized that we weren't ever going to get a different type of student, so we had to learn howto work with the ones we had." "We're not in District 26 (a middle class community inQueens with the city's highest reading and math scores), we're in District We are notfooling ourselves, we are never going to be a school with the highest reading scores. Wejust want to become the top school in this district. This is an obtainable goal." School-siteinterviews confirmed to EPP members that administrators and staffs had, indeed, become"problem solvers."

WHY THESE PRINCIPALS SUCCEEDEDOne of EPP's key questions when we embarked on this monitoring study is whether

most of the schools that had gotten off the SURR list were those where a new principal witha "take charge" attitude that had been instructed by the district to get the school off the list.Popular news stories and movies about heroic principals arriving at a chaotic schoolenvironment and "straightening things out" in short order certainly piqued our curiosity ingetting an answer to this question. Reality turned out, as usual, to be more complex.

Two principals had been in charge of their schools for a considerable number ofyears before the school got on the list and were a central part of the school's getting off thelist. Of the eight remaining schools, four principals came into the building with a clearmission "to turn the situation around," two of whom were replacing principals who had alsotried to turn the school around. Three additional new principals had come to schools wherethere had been a succession of new principals that had tried to turn the school around andafter a year or a few years had not succeeded. Given the history of failed attempts in theseschools, it cannot be said that the district or parents held much hope that yet another newprincipal would be the change agent. Therefore, these principals even though they may havehad the objective of school improvement, were not the first ones to have attempted this feator expressly charged with this mission. One principal had come to a school that, on paper,looked as though it was high performing, but average student test scores in every gradedropped by thirty points under her new administration, a drop so large that it can only beexplained by the practice of answer sheet tampering.

If merely placing a "principal with a mission" in a school was how schools turnedaround, obviously significantly more schools in New York City would have succeeded inbeing removed from the list. Just as obviously, most newly hired principals hope toimprove their schools, and a good number fail to do so. A directive to bring about positivechange is not enough to bring it about. How did these specific individual principals, someincumbents, some unlucky new hires, and only a minority specifically "charged" with thisspecific mission, actually succeed when so many other principals do not?

Creating Structure: Curricula, Staff Development, Planning andSelf-Assessment

In all these schools, the "before" story is similar in one respect no matter howdifferent in the particulars: there had been a fragmentation of instructional approaches toreading, math, science and any number of other subject areas. Teachers, largely left inisolation to develop their own survival strategies, chose their textbooks without regard to thetextbooks used by other teachers in their grade or subject area or by teachers in higher andlower grades. The curriculum guides of their district or the city's school system had notbeen given to them or had long been ignored. Even when an elementary school used onlyone approach to reading, the principal discovered that five different basal textbook serieswere in use. In a junior high school, the math subjects had been taught by teachers with nobackground in this area and with no knowledge that a curriculum for math existed. As muchas "teaching to the test" is disapproved as a teaching methodology, in a few of these schoolsthe discovery of "closed book" exercises and practice exercises on older versions of testsamounted to significant improvements.

What characterized the principals in these ten schools was that they created order andcoherence in the instructional program, or, at the very least, encouraged their planningcommittees to do so. Curricula and instructional approaches were "aligned" and teachersbegan communicating with each other. Students were no longer being' confused by a



patchwork of different strategies and differences in subject content. Strategies began to bearresults simply because they were consistent strategies. Of some interest are the similarcomments of two principals that stated that they had to begin with the phonetic approach toreading (basal) rather than a literature-based approach (whole language) because the teachershad to first learn how to implement a structured approach to reading.

The Personality of the Principal: Charismatic, Entrepreneurial, Driven

School principals in New York City are, with a few exceptions, good to excellentcommunicators. After all, these are individuals who have risen from the ranks ofprofessionals who spend their entire work days communicating. Our expectation, afterhaving met with officials of the State Education Department and the central office of theBoard of Education is that we would be interviewing highly capable school administrators.The Monitoring Committee, and the college students that accompanied us, were stillunprepared for a series of encounters with so many highly charismatic individuals with suchstrong personalities in just one series of school-site visits. Of the ten principals weinterviewed, only two could be characterized as "laid back" or "calm," but they neverthelesswere highly skilled in personal interactions, including how they handled the interview. Therest clearly relished playing a strong leadership role in their school (and, undoubtedly, otherareas in their lives). While this Committee perception is highly subjective andimpressionistic, it must be noted at the outset of this section that the personality of theprincipal was in all probability a major factor in the turn around in many of these schools.By and large, EPP members met with and interviewed a series of commanding individuals.The cumulative impact of all these visits underscored the importance of Ronald Edmonds'concept of the principal as the "educational leader."

Another striking similarity among all the principals was their entrepreneurialqualities. For two principals, their quest for resources was limited to continuing negotiationswith their districts for additional resources or specific programs. The rest were in a perpetualhunt for collaborations with universities, for city, state, and federal funds and for both smalland large grants from private foundations and corporations. The spectrum ranged fromdiscounts on slices of pizza from local pizza parlors to reward the good behavior of students,to an ambitious college scholarship program, to multi-million dollar private and public grantsfor new whole-school improvement efforts. Essentially, these principals were engaged in"bringing home the bacon" to their teachers and students, which in turn enhanced theirleadership status as well as the ability of the planning committee to experiment with newmethods of instruction and new programs for students. These extra resources also served asmorale boosters for both staff and parents.

However, most of these additional resources and grants were only for a few years,some just for one, Every interview resulted in a list of programs that helped in the school'sturnaround, but were no long in existence because of budget cuts or the end of the grantperiod. In the popular mind, an entrepreneur in the private sector has the possibility ofamassing ever more resources. This small group of public sector entrepreneurs, thoughmore successful than some of their peers through a combination of effort and the engagingstory of their school's turnaround, gave the impression of being on a grim treadmill.Foundation grants usually were for creating new programs, not for sustaining programs thathad been successful. The environment of diminishing education resources in whichprincipals functioned was forcing them to continually scramble to create a new fundableprogram to replace another lust to retain critical staff. In the interviews, a few principalswere mournful and even bitter about the demise of programs that had been highly successfulin their school but could not be sustained when the grant ended or the funding was decreasedor eliminated.

Entirely unexpected was that most of the principals, at one or several points in theinterview, interjected their frustration that no matter how much their student achievementlevels had risen (and some had risen considerably) and no matter how hard they and theirstaff worked, they had not yet found an instructional strategy that brought the students up tothe level they wanted them to achieve. These unsolicited comments communicated a sense ofintense dissatisfaction, not with themselves, their students, or their teachers, but with thecurrent range of instructional strategies: "Something is wrong with everything we'retrying." "I am not satisfied that anyone has really found the way to teach kids today." "Weare working so hard and we've been working hard for so long a time, you would think thatwe'd get past just having half our kids at grade level -- I don't know what the answer is, Ireally don't." While all the principals were pleased and relieved that their school wasremoved from the SURR list, this was far from a self-satisfied group of principals. Theircontinuing emotional engagement in the struggle to improve student achievement levels wasclearly expressed, and for some, it was intense.

Another Shared Attribute of the Principals: An Ideal Image of the Teacher inthe Classroom

Just as good generals pay close attention to their soldiers, it could be said that goodprincipals pay close attention to teachers and see their main job as "managing" teachers, notjust instruction in the abstract or all the tasks that go with operating a school. With noexceptions, principals we interviewed explained their school's turnaround as well as whatthey still were hoping to accomplish by describing the teacher in classroom even though thiswas never an explicit question in the interview guide. More than two thirds, at some point inthe interview, articulated the type of individual they held up as an ideal teacher even thoughthe questions in the interview guide did not require or even lead to this type of discussion.Some felt that teachers had to have "a certain type of charisma," "an aura, a commandingpresence," while others saw teachers as "trouble shooters" who should become expert inanalyzing the strengths and weaknesses of their students and the strengths and weaknessesin their lesson plans. Another looked at the bilingual program and wanted instructors whowere comfortable in both English and Spanish. Yet another felt that his matching of theindividual personalities of the teachers to the age level of students had been a factor in schoolimprovement.

Attention to teachers and teaching may explain, to some degree, why the creation of aschool "vision statement" or "mission" succeeded in these schools and not in others. Sincethese were principals who clearly communicated their expectations for teachers in a two tothree hour interviews (though unsolicited), their expectations were clearly beingcommunicated to the instructional staff. In a majority of schools, other individuals in theschool that were interviewed confirmed that the principal's expectations about teacherprofessionalism was an important and continuing dynamic in the school's improvement eventhough this information had not been solicited beyond asking whether "leadership" was afactor in the improvement process.

The School Planning Team: "Buying In"

Virtually all ten schools had strong planning teams made up of teachers, theprincipal, and other administrators. Some included other personnel, such asparaprofessionals or the custodian, while only three included parents, all of whom had beenincluded under new models of school improvement after the school had been removed fromthe SURR list. In virtually all interviews the planning team was credited as a major factor inthe school's turnaround and as providing continuing direction for the school. What theplanning teams accomplished were also nearly universal in our small sample of schools:creating coherence in the instructional program; building morale among staff; developing a

unified vision for the school; developing a schedule of parent involvement activities;changing the methods of instruction; ending the isolation of teachers from one another byinitiating communication; building a sense of teamwork among administrators and teachers;developing an ability to analyze student performance in classes and across classes and gradesand thus "testing out" strategies; allowing the introduction of innovative concepts andpractices; and improving staff attitudes towards students and the larger community.

The universality of strong planning teams and the similarities in what theyaccomplish belie the one, sharp difference among them that came through in the interviewsof principals and other staff members. In three schools, the principal and an individual onthe planning team repeatedly characterized the planning team as carrying out the vision andideas of the principal. In two other schools, the principals had to struggle, in the face ofstrong resistance by more tradition-bound members of the staff, to get a "real" teamestablished and to initiate programs. In these two schools and the remaining five schools theprincipal did not see teams primarily as a vehicle to actualize their ideas, but as a collectiveenterprise which unleashed the intelligence and commitment of other members on the staff.In just one school the planning team was characterized as being strong before the newprincipal came in, but it is notable that this planning team predated the school's placement onthe SURR list.

Since a majority of the schools studied had been on the lists of previous state and citylow-performing school programs, a majority had several years of prior experience in creatinga school "vision" or "mission" statement and had already followed a mandate to establish aschool planning committee, either a "School Improvement Committee," a "School-BasedManagement/School Decision Making Committee," or a "School-Wide Planning Committee"for Title I funding. By and large, these experiments with crafting a vision or planningmeetings were treated by the staff as an empty exercise, yet another top-down directive theyhad to follow or the latest jargon-laden gimmick that wasted their time. Obviously, if thecreation of a vision statement or SBM/SDM were a magic recipe like "a principal with amission," many more schools would have been removed from the SURR list. So whathappened that distinguished these early, unsuccessful attempts at vision and planning fromlater attempts?

Throughout the interviews, both principals and other members of the planning teamstried to make it clear to EPP members as we asked them to repeatedly rate and prioritizefactors leading to school improvement, that the staff had to "buy into" any changes that cameabout and that the main vehicle for this was the planning team. "Yes, staff development bycolleges was important" -- but not if imposed from the outside. The staff had to seek outstaff development and the type of staff development it wanted, and this decision was arrivedat through the long, and some times tortuous discussions that occurred at the planningmeetings. "Yes, scheduling changes were important and so was peer mediation to reduceconflict" but not if imposed from the outside. These were decisions that came from theplanning meetings. Even in the three schools where the planning team viewed themselves ashelping to actualize the vision of the principal, the staff was "buying into" that vision. Inturn, the principals of these three schools viewed the planning teams as absolutely necessaryto maintain staff morale and a key agent in school improvement.

A Critical Factor: Significant. Change in the Instructional Staff in MostSchools and Continual "Feedback" in Those Schools without Staff Changes

In eight out of the ten schools studied, those interviewed cited a dramatic change inthe composition of the teaching staff as a critical factor in improving the quality of instructionin the school and in transforming the effectiveness of the planning team. In this project todiscover similarities in the limited number of schools that had been removed from the SURR

list, we did not anticipate finding teaching staff changes a common pattern, and this factorshould be considered in any larger and more ambitious study. In at least six of the eightschools with significant staff changes, the staff changes were not voluntary. The principalhad "forced out" or "ask to leave" certain teachers or asked some teachers to "reevaluate theircareers" or replaced one program with another with the objective of eliminating a group ofteachers. One principal stated, "I have had no fights with the unions and no problems. TheUFT chapter chair has been a doll. She could have created a mess when I wanted to get ridof the deadwood...This school could still be on the SURR list if she wasn't cooperative.Some of the schools that are still on the list have this problem. I didn't have it." Anotherstated, "I am lucky. The UFT chapter chair is a key member of the planning team. Sheknew that some of the teachers should not be in a classroom, so she has been cooperative."These comments were similar to others made by both principals and members of theplanning team and were not elicited by the interview guide since this factor had not beenidentified at the beginning of the study and was not in the interview guide.

Not all the staff changes cited as a significant factor in school improvement cameabout by getting low-performing teachers to leave. One of the characteristics of most lowperforming schools is that there is a rapid turnover of teaching staff. In more than half theschools, a good number of teachers and some administrators left voluntarily and some hadleft specifically because of the "early retirement" incentives offered in 1991. Many of thenew teachers, some with few credentials or experience, proved to be the innovators andleaders in the planning team because they were less fearful of change and more eager to havestaff development at the school. In the larger schools, new administrators were credited withbeing more capable of leadership. It should be noted, however, that history of battles tendsto be written by the victors, not the losers. Some of the stories of school improvementhinted at the prior existence of warring cliques of teachers or strong resistance to the policiesof the principal, so a more detailed story told by those that left the school might haveincluded the vetting or resignation of teachers and administrators that held another vision ofschool improvement but who were highly capable and not "deadwood." The positive goal ofachieving a unified vision may, indeed, involve the exodus of competent staff members thatdo not share the vision.

On the other hand, even though the low performance of those who left these schoolscannot be independently verified, the statements of principals and other members of theplanning team, if taken at face value, are at least an indication that changing the quality ofinstruction of a school may involve some change in the instructors. not just the principal.The flexibility of union representatives and their support in getting inadequate teachers toleave the school was cited time and time again as a critical factor in school improvement. Itshould be noted that the two schools where the respondents reported no significant staffchanges were also the two schools with the most highly developed. on-going system ofanalyzing instructional effectiveness. In one elementary school, the students are tested at theend of each lesson plan unit through the computer driven Comprehensive InstructionalManagement System (CIMS) to see if the students had learned the major concepts in thelesson plan unit. The principal credited this system for making some teachers understandthat the lesson plans they had been using for years were not as effective as they hadassumed. In the high school with few staff changes, every new instructional initiative wastested, with hard data presented at the planning meetings to see whether or not the newinitiative was improving the students' performance on tests. This school had experimentedwith and ultimately rejected more approaches than most schools in the study. Thus, in all ofthe schools that got off the SURR list, management of teachers and instruction was a majordynamic in the initial and continued improvement of the school, even when "management"consisted largely of developing systems for self-assessment by teachers.

11 21

HOW THESE SCHOOLS CHANGEDOne of the objectives of this study was to find out what "improved" schools look like

in their day-to-day functioning. These ten schools got "off the list" because student testscores and attendance improved. But what else changed? And were there any commonpatterns to these changes? A word of caution is needed here. Too often the results ofschool improvement have been interpreted as causal agents. Any number of the positivechanges described in the following pages have been instituted by schools that did not get offthe list and where student academic performance levels were not raised. Nor were all theimprovements universally present in all ten schools that we visited, except for betterproblem solving skills of principals and planning team members. What distinguished theseschools is that all these changes were made in order to improve student achievement. Giventhis important context, there were striking similarities in how these schools changed in theirday-to-day operations.

The Third Eye -- A Student-Centered Approach to Change

Once school improvement efforts take hold, planning teams begin to tackle a host ofproblems, from learning to absentee rates, by beginning to see the school environment andits routines from the point of view of an eight-year old or an eighteen-year old (dependingon their student body). If not all-determining in the final staff decisions that are made, thisnew-found capability of intellectually and emotionally imagining themselves as studentsgives them a new perspective on what programs should be introduced and what proceduresmight work to make the school day more orderly and interesting. In contrast, in someschools where limited improvement takes place, school staff may be very caring andconcerned about students, but, by and large, most of the staff does not develop empathy,the capability of perceiving their school from a student's point of view. As one Board ofEducation staff member observed, "It's not something you can really mandate. You just seethem developing this sensitivity over time." In other words, as the staff begin to seethemselves and their school from the point of view of the student, they begin to develop athird eye.

EPP Monitoring Committee members with experience in conducting school-site visitshave interviewed staff at high-performing schools where little student empathy was revealedin staff answers, so staff empathy is not necessarily a prerequisite for high studentachievement. It may, however, play an important role in raising levels of studentachievement. The frequency with which principals and planning team members in theseformer SURR schools mentioned students and explained their decisions on the basis ofstudents may be explained by the fact that the SURR status forced them to make a muchlarger number of changes than most schools undergo and had also made them moreanalytical about the results of their changes. An unanticipated finding of the MonitoringCommittee was that the most visible product of this staff sensitivity to students was theintroduction of a very scarce commodity in many New York City schools, even those thatare very high achieving -- "fun." Pleasurable activities in the school day came up severaltimes when kindergarten teachers talked about the introduction of little carpeted areas, whenprincipals talked about the greenhouse, the "museum," sports reporting in the schoolnewsletter, team sports, and the after-school program that taught students how to play WestIndian steel drums. In many of these schools, the disciplinary code was supplemented bynew programs to give positive recognition to students who showed up each day and whowere models of good behavior. In 'short, changing student morale, not just "attitudes,"became an objective and part of the school practice.

Similarities in Changes of School Environment

Virtually all schools visited reported that their planning teams had created a calendarof events and activities. The universality of a calendar and also the "vision" statement canbe explained by the fact that the State Education Department's school improvement staffstressed these two activities when providing technical assistance to the planning teams.There were also these three significant similarities:

Linkages with Outside Organizations In nine out of the ten schools describedin this report, principals worked hard to bring in as many outside programs as possiblethrough establishing collaborations with corporations, volunteer groups, universities andcolleges, community based organizations, and service organizations. As the formerprincipal of PS 1600 stated, "I worked towards a Community School concept. The schoolwas so dead, so isolated. I was an experienced administrator, but I was frightened that Icouldn't meet the needs of the children. So, I decided to invite every one into the building.I nurtured associations." This principal described a massive infusion of programs,including bringing in one artist to work with students in painting tiles. The principals of thehigh schools had their students work on building rehabilitation projects and to shadowcorporate volunteers during their work day to expose their students to employmentsituations. Peer mediation and mental health organizations were brought into schools tosolve disciplinary problems and to assist counselors. Outside arts organizations andcommunity-based organizations, in particular, played a prominent role in schoolimprovement, particularly in creating a sense of adventure for students and as a means ofrelating to parents. Doubtless too, these linkages built the morale of the staff and created asense of change for them.

Music, Visual Art, Literature, and Sports Reporting In eight of the tenschools visited the arts were such a strong program component that they stood out incomparison to most other schools. Their vibrancy was also notable. Where the emphasiswas on the visual arts, the hall bulletin boards and classroom decorations wereextraordinary. In one school, large banners were stretched across the entry ways tohallways. In another, the children had made full-sized cut outs of themselves on paper andthen added individual touches to their paper replicas. The finished display in the hallwaylooked like a march of twenty-four, three-foot tall gingerbread people, many with caps, bookbags, and earrings. In another school, a classroom had been transformed into a green leafedthatched hut. The music program that three out of the six elementary schools had was onlyobserved in one school, which stressed opera. But the sight of young children joyouslysinging a Verdi tune with all the lung power nine-year olds could command was a uniqueand captivating experience. It was a also a startling revelation that most school choruses pickpretty tame music. Here was EPP members' first encounter with "power" singing. In theschool which stressed literature and held hallway plays, the library was an integral part of allclassroom work as well as the key to parent outreach and seminars. The school thatencouraged its students to write sports commentary (with some columnists ending with ahint of anguish and concern about the fate of certain basketball and baseball teams) publisheda regular school newspaper, which also featured poems. The school with the mostdeveloped integration of the arts was influenced heavily by the theory of "MultipleIntelligences," but by and large in all eight schools these programs were not "add-ons" ortreated merely as classes to be held so as to give regular teachers their forty five minutes ofpreparation time. While we have described these programs as part of the change inenvironment, the arts could just as justifiably been put into the prior section on howprincipals and planning teams tackled the problem of low student achievement. The arts, atleast in these schools, were a strategy for improving learning.

Scheduling As could be expected, the middle schools and high schools paid thegreatest attention to the scheduling of classroom time. All four schools had created blocks oftime, especially for mathematics instruction and math lab, that allowed more "time on task"for students that ranged from fifty-five minutes to blocks of three hours at least twice aweek. What was particularly impressive was that these scheduling changes had taken placebefore 1994, when many school adopted more flexible scheduling to accommodate highermath and science requirements. Planning team members in the high schools and oneelementary school praised their principals' ability to think creatively about the schedule sothat there could be more time for committee meetings and teacher planning. It should benoted that some of the elementary principals expressed frustration that their ability tointensify staff development was hampered by the cost considerations of having to hiresubstitutes to replace teachers who might want to meet together during some portion of theschool day. In other words, scheduling staff development for an after-school time periodcould be done only to a limited extent. Another principal imposed a lunch schedule so thatteachers in closely related grade levels would have time together on a regular basis. But ingeneral, the EPP Monitoring Committee found that in all these formerly low-performingschools, the principal and the planning committee were conscious that the traditional schoolday should be altered to maximize student achievement and staff development andcommunication. As in most schools, there was also the awareness that the schedule shouldcreate an orderly and predictable day for students. For a minority of the schools we studiedthat were characterized as "chaotic" when they were placed on the SURR list, an orderly andpredictable school day was an achievement. For the rest, the challenge was to understandthat their orderly and predictable school schedules were not producing acceptable levels ofstudent achievement.

Mixed Patterns in Changes of the School Environment

No two schools are ever alike, even in this limited sample of schools. Some faceddifferent challenges. Some faced similar challenges, but their responses and their successvaried due to different approaches and different levels of resources (in this study, due mostlyto size of the student body or the success and aggressiveness of the principal in securingprivate and public grants). Most important of all, while all ten schools improved studentachievement levels and the school environment, not all problems were solved. Here are thesignificant distinctions:

Building Repairs I argely because it features prominently in popular moviesabout heroic principals entering dilapidated buildings, our assumption was that a goodnumber of the schools that were placed on the SURR list were in a state of disrepair and thatthe rehabilitation of the buildings would be a major event in the schools' transformations. Inthree schools we visited, this was the exact scenario. Cleanliness, new paint, and the repairof bathrooms became the visual proof that the school was on the road to improvement. Bothprincipals and planning team members reported that student and staff morale soared. In twoother schools, ironically, the physical plant remained a challenge. Our tours in these twobuildings included complaints about the heating system (the children had to keep their coatson in the classroom on very cold days), a viewing of cracks, unheated and leaking hallways,bathrooms that should have been renovated, and repair work that was taking a long time tocomplete. The recitation of complaints made it clear that the two principals were stillengaged in a heroic, time-consuming, and frustrating battle to get the building into a state ofgood repair and comfort for students. In the sixth school, the staff had grown accustomedand resigned to years of endless renovation. The principal stated, "The project will never befinished in my lifetime or in the lifetime of the kids." This on-going renovation was onlymentioned as posing yearly problems in the relocation of classes. In another school themajor challenge had been to get space for the math lab, but interviews in this and three otherschools revealed that the repair of the physical plant had not been a challenge.

Discipline, Guidance, and Peer Conflict Mediation Only three elementaryschools reported that the creation of a disciplinary code for student behavior was a significantfactor in the improvement of their school. Two elementary schools had guidancecounselors, but only one viewed the service as critical in school improvement efforts whilethe other relied more heavily on community based organizations for student support services.In contrast, schools serving older students viewed guidance as more central to schoolimprovement. In one middle school and the two high schools, guidance services werecentral to comprehensive strategies to reduce student behavior problems. One high school,in particular, had restructured itself into houses built around guidance and the middle schooldepended on a combination of peer conflict mediation and the services of a hospital mentalhealth clinic. The other high school had relied much more on its community-basedorganization and scholarship program to try to turn around its reputation for violence and totry to retain students with few behavior problems. Negotiations with districts to stop student"dumping" was another strategy for several schools. As discussed earlier, staff empathywith students was particularly noticeable in all these ten schools, so the recognition thatstudents need positive role models and, at heart, want to learn and succeeded went waybeyond the usual platitudes that their schools are building "self-esteem."

One of the reasons why guidance services was not identified more often as animprovement strategy in the elementary schools was that there were fewer services. Threeelementary school principals strongly expressed the need for guidance services, and inanother elementary school, large enough to have a full-time guidance counselor, the planningcommittee wanted another counselor. In these schools, linkages with community basedorganizations were termed inadequate to meet the needs of identifying and working withtroubled children and their parents. Symptoms indicating states of severe psychologicaldepression in some children and fighting among students that resulted in serious injuries,such as broken bones, were the most commonly identified problems. Adequate child andfamily counseling was a continuing and critical unmet need. Sadly, two schools that hadfull-time guidance counselors when we made site visits had to accept part-time counselorsdue to the 1995-96 budget cuts.

Parent Involvement There frequently is a point in a school-site study when it isrecognized that one question or several in an interview questionnaire are poorly constructed.The concept of "parent involvement" varied so strikingly from school to school (but neverwithin a school) that we realized that the term had no consistent meaning when applied toschool practice as well as school mission. The issue goes beyond the construction of aquestionnaire. What is meant by "parent involvement"? In our small sample of ten schoolsit had four entirely distinct meanings:

Parent as Volunteer In three elementary schools, when asked about parentinvolvement, the answers were couched in terms of how many and how oftenparents helped out during the school day. One school had a parent that served as thelibrarian, another had a host of parents at the beginning of the day, on hallway patrol,in the cafeteria, and at dismissal time. Their presence was credited to theimprovement in student behavior and was a clear morale booster for the staff.

Parent as Partner in Teaching In two elementary schools, all the activities weregeared to helping parents learn how to read to their children and how to help theirchildren do their homework. The school with the integrated library program hadparticular success in getting large numbers of parents to attend early morning andafter work workshops and, most important, to attend them consistently. Theseactivities were seen as helping to improve the achievement levels of students.

Parent as Advocate In the two middle schools, parents were viewed as importantand even critical in negotiations with their district to get more resources to the schoolsand in backing up the claims of the principals and planning team. The politicalsophistication of parents was viewed as a positive asset.

Parent as Clients and Members of the Larger Community In theremainder of the schools, and in particular the high schools to a varying degree, theperception of parents were seen as key to improving the reputation of the school.Workshops (on health, college selection, and for grandparents) as well as socialactivities (such as going to musical events) and improved communications (lettersand phone calls) were credited for reducing hostilities and retaining stable families.

No matter how different each school interpreted parent involvement, it is important to noteone common pattern: almost all staff reported that it was limited or nonexistent when theschool was first placed on the SURR list, and in virtually all schools, increasing parentinvolvement was a strategy for school improvement. Planning team members, in particular,frequently mentioned that it was expected and was part of the vision for the school. In every"story" of the schools comeback, the initiation of parent involvement activities figuresprominently.

Yet it should also be noted that parent involvement was the one area where bothprincipals and planning team members voiced the most frustration about results not meetingtheir expectations and the continual effort needed to maintain this activity. Parents becameinvolved, and then they went away and new parents had to be recruited. Unlike studentachievement and behavior, where ever-higher standards are attained, those interviewed didnot report ever-increasing levels of parent participation. Regardless of these frequentexpressions of frustration, there was also a consistent pride among those we interviewed thatthe staff was engaged in these activities and "doing the right thing" despite the fact that theresults had not yet attained the desired level of participation.

A somewhat different dynamic was occurring in three schools that were in theprocess of being introduced to more comprehensive models of school planning teams thatincluded the participation of parents as full members. Here the attitude was one ofembarking on a new experiment in relating to parents and hopeful anticipation that thedynamic would lead to another and higher level of school performance. These were veryhigh hopes. Since the adoption of more comprehensive models of school improvementoccurred after the school was removed from the SURR list, yet a fifth concept of parentparticipation, "the Parent as Planning Team Member" could not properly be classified as afactor in the past improvement of these schools. The eagerness of planning team members tohave parents join them, on the other hand, indicated how far these three schools hadprogressed in their attitudes towards parents and their motivation for reachingout to parents.


From the onset of this study, EPP did not attempt to assess the effectiveness of theState Education Department's SURR program. But we did want to ascertain whether outsideintervention played a role in school improvement. Were "top down" models of schoolorganization helpful? Among the different levels of the education system (state, city, andcommunity school and high school district), which level was perceived as most helpful andwhat role did they play? And last but not least, did putting the school "on the list" spurpositive change?

In most interviews with principals, when it came to questions about the outsideintervention of education officials and "who or what" helped the school improve, theiranswers tended to contradict numerous other answers they had given. The contradictions inmany cases can be explained as judgments made from the perspective of school-levelpersonnel, which are often ignored in system-wide judgments of the strengths orweaknesses of particular intervention programs. After all, when a school improves itsperformance, much of the credit (and most of the work) goes to school-level personnel, notthe officials who issued the order to "improve or else." But a system-wide perspectiveshould not be discounted. The "bird's eye" point of view can be just as valid as the"worm's-eye" point of view. What system-wide interventions work and which ones do not?Other issues, however, go beyond a matter of perspective and are indicative of some of theproblems in actually implementing directives to improve. There are also, we found, a degreeof tension and conflict between different levels of the education system when"accountability" goes beyond rosy rhetoric and becomes a reality.

"We Are Not an SBMISDM School"

Until the administration of Chancellor Fernandez, school improvement efforts at thecity level consisted of programs designed either by the Board of Education or the StateEducation Department to assist selected "at-risk" pupils, such as students who do not speakEnglish or students whose test scores are in the bottom quartile of test takers. In EPP's1989 report, The Fourth "R": Rethinking Remediation in the Elementary Schools, we foundthat the inflexibility of these "top-down" programs had eroded flexibility and decisionmaking at the school level and were not leading to increased academic performance by themajority of students in a given school, much less the students targeted for assistance.Instead, there was an obsessive concern with paperwork and procedures to ensure that onlystudents eligible for services were receiving them, with little concern about the effectivenessof those services. What was needed was a program that provided flexibility to use funds toimprove the instructional program for all the students in a school and that encouraged schooladministrators and teachers to make their own decisions about where funds should be spent.

School-Based Management/Shared Decision Making was a major initiativeannounced by Chancellor Fernandez in 1990 which was ratified by the 1991 collectivebargaining agreement with the United Federation of Teachers. Schools had the option offorming planning teams made up of the principal, teachers, other school staff, and parents solong as a majority of the members of the UFT at a school ratified the decision. Schoolswhere 75% of the students were eligible for the free lunch program, and thus defined aspoor, had the flexibility of using Title I funds to make school-wide improvements. With afew exceptions, most low-performing schools could opt into SBM/SDM.

As we stated earlier in the report, virtually every school visited had a.strong planningteam. But in two schools, after lengthy descriptions of the actions of the planning team, the

172 7

principals took time to stress that their teachers had, in fact, more than once rejected havingan SBM/SDM structure. In these two instances the contradictions were almost comical.Here were two schools where the "team" more than fulfilled the model and the expectationsof school-based management and shared decision making, but they were "not" anSBM/SDM school. What these two schools shared in common with the other schools wevisited was a more developed concept of school-based management than had beenenvisioned by. the 1991 SBM/SDM initiative. All schools had gone beyond a generic modelof shared decision making to a more specific model of the type of decision-making theywanted to attain. In most instances, their models were geared to a philosophy or idealpractice of learning or interaction. Repeatedly throughout the interviews, we were told the"type" of school they were. Here is a list of the models they used to describe their schools:Collaborative Learning, Inclusion School, Cooperative Learning, Multiple Intelligences,Core Knowledge, Comer Model, Effective School, and Accelerated Learning School.

When EPP was making school-site visits, the State Education Department's schoolimprovement unit was initiating a new strategy for school improvement called "Models ofExcellence," which offered a variety of different school improvement strategies from whichschools still on the SURR list could choose to follow. Though the initiative lasted for onlyone year and had mixed results, EPP's interviews gave us an understanding of why this"cafeteria-style" strategy was attempted:

Unlike SBM/SDM which was a top-down, uniform structure imposed on all schools,Models of Excellence provided a range of different school improvement models, therebyallowing school principals and team members to have a choice and to adopt a schoolimprovement strategy more likely to "fit" their school.

Models of Excellence provided the planning team with a road map for interactions andthe goals that should be created by shared decision making. The weakness of theSBM/SDM model was that it created a school planning team, but did not give muchdirection on what the planning team should do.

Models of Excellence made school improvement, not just team building, an explicit goalof the planning committee.

Since almost all of the schools we visited had gone beyond SBM/SDM and hadevolved a more developed and explicit model of shared decision- making, there is some meritin exposing schools to more comprehensive strategies of school improvement. But it shouldbe noted that two schools had a history of rejecting a top-down model and in other schoolsthe explicit strategy chosen may have been substantially modified, sometimes simply becausethe resources did not exist to fully implement all components of the model. None of theschools visited had been exposed to the "cafeteria" of choices among Models of Excellencebecause they were all "off the list" by the time this initiative was implemented.

It is conceivable that a few of these schools, if models of school improvement hadbeen "imposed" on them, even where there was some choice about which model to choose,would have resisted all models. Internal willingness to brine about change was cited by allinterviewees as the major dynamic in the schools' turnaround, not the existence of an explicitmodel for change. In other words, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make thehorse drink. A clear, unambiguous directive to improve student achievement levels coupledwith an equally clear implication about the consequences for failure to improve, such asclosing the school, are possibly more important factors than "choice" among models or moredeveloped models of school improvement. This brings us to the most significantcontradiction that occurred in our interviews with school-site personnel.

"This School Would Have Improved Even without the SURR Program"

With a few notable exceptions, the principals asserted that their schools would haveimproved even if the school had not been placed on the SURR list. As noted earlier in thisreport, staff members of schools that had gotten off the list were decidedly not past the angerstage. One principal called the State Education Department unit "the Prince of Darkness."Others stated that all the SURR program did was cast blame and create a sense of shameamong the school staff that could not be eradicated even after years of steady improvement.One principal stated that the SURR designation "doesn't go away, it will be with mealways."

What was particularly striking about the principals' assertions that placement on theSURR list did not lead to school improvement is that, for the most part, they came afterstatements that the sense of crisis, fears about school closure, and worry about job loss hadbeen the impetus for the staffs to create an effective planning teams. Here is a sampling ofverbatim quotes about the impact on staff of the SURR designation:

"It created a fire."

"We were frightened that the school would be closed down."

"It made us internalize change. It was change or not survive."

"Being on the SURR list made the staff more willing to change."

"Being on the list got us more resources and more attention."

"The staff didn't want to be responsible for the closure of the school."

It is notable that, for the most part, in contrast to the principals, planning team members thatwere interviewed stated that the school would not have improved without the SURRdesignation and tended to identify getting off the SURR list as the major motivation for staffparticipation on the planning team. One team member, in particular, in comparing the staffresponse to an earlier school-improvement program with their response to the SURRprogram, stated that the creation of the school team and mission statement under CSIP wasjust a "paper exercise" where the staff resentfully went through the motions of complyingwith steps outlined by yet another set of "administrators with bright ideas." The fear ofschool closure under SURR, he reported, allowed the principal to create a crisis atmospherethat motivated teachers to unite, to change, and to take the work of the school planing teamseriously.

Obviously, if the threat of closure was all that it took to improve school performance,more than thirteen schools would have been off the SURR list by 1995 and more than anadditional eleven schools would have been off by 1996. Nevertheless, the potential ofsanctions for remaining on the list seems to have played an important motivating role in theturnaround of the schools that the EPP Monitoring Committee visited. Despite assertions tothe contrary, the SURR designation seemed to play a significant role in initiating genuineschool improvement efforts on the part of the staff, with the possible exception of the oneschool where student test results changed dramatically after the arrival of a new principal.But even in this school, "getting off the list" was part of the arsenal of motivational strategiesused by the_principal to raise the performance levels of teachers and to encourage them toexperiment with new methods of instruction.

the high school principals, who are in more direct contact with the central office because theDivision for High Schools is part of the central administrative level of the Board ofEducation, two thirds of the principals stated that the central Board of Education played norole whatsoever in their school's improvement efforts. A school-level perspective, wasparticularly salient in the answer to this question. If a central Board of Education staffmember had come to the school to give them technical assistance on Title I program design,SBM/SDM team building or their AIDP program (Attendance Improvement DropoutPrevention) or (in one instance) if a central Board of Education staff member had beenhelpful in identifying grant programs, the central office was judged to have been "helpful,"though not to the extent of the SED liaison.

This response was particularly striking because the interview narratives of mostschools were filled with the names of programs that had been identified as having helped inthe school improvement process that were created or structured by the central Board ofEducation. Title I school-wide programs which allowed principals to use Title I to hire aguidance counselor or secure staff development, AIDP programs that had paired the schoolwith a community-based program, and peer conflict resolution programs figured prominentlyin the narratives of school improvement as "helpful." Each of these programs had beendesigned by the central staff of the Board of Education to provide maximum flexibility toschool-level administrators and planning team members. Indeed, until the EPP MonitoringCommittee visited these improved schools, EPP as an organization expressed concerns aboutwhether the increased flexibility in the use Title I school-wide program funds had resulted inimproved student achievement levels because so few schools showed positive year-to-yearstudent gains. Since in at least half of the schools in this study, the Title I program wasidentified as contributing to school improvement, EPP began to positively reassess theimportance of providing school-site flexibility in Title I funding. Yet, the principals weinterviewed did not acknowledge or possibly know that the central office of the Board ofEducation, under Chancellor Fernandez, had worked to expand school-wide Title I fundingand flexibility. Similarly, the principals did not perceive that their linkages with CBO'sunder the AIDP program were the result of efforts by the administrations of ChancellorsGreen, Fernandez, and Cortines. In short, "assistance" by the central Board of Educationwas interpreted as the presence of a staff person in their building or on the phone. Thecreation or the design of a program by the central staff that proved helpful to their schoolwas not recognized.

The repeated failure of principals to recognize the role the central Board of Educationin the design of flexible programs at the school level that had enhanced their local decisionmaking gave the EPP Monitoring Committee an insight into an unanticipated consequence ofthe new paradigm in education administration. Over a forty-year span of time from the endof World War II until the end of the 1980's, educational systems, like other institutions ofour society, had seen a growth of central and mid-level bureaucracies along with anexponential growth of bureaucratic top-down directives largely focusing on procedures, notnecessarily results. This cycle ended with the recognition that local initiative had erodedalong with effectiveness. The new paradigm, largely borrowed from the businesscommunity, provides greater flexibility and decision making at the local level, but muchcloser attention to results and effectiveness by higher levels of administration. The city'sSURR schools, more than most other schools. have been affected by this new paradigm,Because most of them serve high poverty neighborhoods- most of them are recipients ofcategorical funded programs shaped by the central staff of the Board of Education to enhanceand encourage local flexibility and decision making. At the same time, these are also theschools that are being held accountable for results, that is, poor student outcomes, EPPmembers had assumed, possibly naively, that local school administrators would beappreciative' for more flexible decision making, even though it came at the price of moreoversight for the results of their decision making. In this small sample of interviews,


however, there was no recognition of the central office's role in providing greater discretionover funds and continuing anger about their being held responsible for student results."Accountability" is a popular slogan in education reform circles, but its actual implementationmeans there will be school-based administrators and instructors that do not measure up andthis will create anger and conflict. We conclude that it may well be possible that the newparadigm of results-oriented school administration may lead to even higher levels ofalienation and tension between different levels of school administration than even under theold bureaucratic, process-focused paradigm. This may well be the price that must be paidfor raising student academic performance.

Principals and other staff members may significantly change their perception of therole of the central office in school improvement when the new SURR regulations, adoptedby the New York State Regents in July 1996, go into effect during the 1996-7 school year.The New York City Board of Education staff will now be replacing the State EducationDepartment staff as the education officials responsible for providing the technical assistanceto SURR schools to try to get them off "the list" within three years. Community schooldistricts will also be given this task. The New York City school district is now alsoresponsible for presenting plans to the State Education Department for schools that remainlow-performing after at least three years, called "corrective action" schools. Either acommunity school district, a high school district, or the Chancellor's staff can "reorganize" acorrective action school (impose limited staff changes, such as the principal and develop anew education plan) or "redesign" these schools (impose staff changes affecting 33% to 50%of staff and develop a new plan). During the 1995-96 school year, nine corrective actionschools were transferred from the jurisdiction of community school boards to a newlycreated "Chancellor's District."

The Role of the District in School Improvement

Once again, the high school principals readily acknowledged the critical role that theirhigh school superintendent played in directing more resources to their school in the forms ofcategorical program funds, building repairs, and staff development. The two middle schoolprincipals also reported significant district assistance. But one of the surprises of thismonitoring study was that fewer elementary school principals than anticipated reported thatassistance from their community school district had played a critical role in the school's turnaround. A few simply stated that their district's major contribution was that "they left mealone." These responses, however, were not direct contradictions of earlier answers butrepresented a far more direct and more complex relationship between student achievementlevels at a school and district administrative practices. In interviews, some districts wereheld partially responsible for the school's low performance. Several principals reported thata contributing factor in the schools' decline had been the district's "dumping" of problemstudents and problem teachers into the school. Both overcrowding and the concentration ofvery low-income students, also factors cited for decline, could have been mitigated by schoolzoning practices, which are district decisions. Never stated, but implied in the very brief andusually tactful mention of the former principals, was that the district's selection of pastprincipals and the failure to remove them despite ever declining school performance was alsoa significant factor in placing the school on the SURR list.

The prediction of the school improvement units that we would find that the schoolsthat had been removed from the list benefited from district intervention and supportcompared to most schools that were still on the list was, to some extent, a much rosierpicture than what we encountered in our interviews. Yet, nine out of the ten schoolprincipals and planning team members mentioned the importance of additional resources thatthe district had provided, most notably the provision of funds for textbook purchases andstaff development. Another common pattern is that the district was mentioned throughout

The Role of the State Education Department in School Improvement

The common contradiction here is that the state's school improvement staff personwas judged as helpful, but the SURR program was not. Seven out of ten principalsidentified the liaison staff member from the State Education Department's schoolimprovement unit as having played an important role in the school's turn around byproviding technical assistance to their planning team. Many of the planning teams'achievements, such as creating a schedule of year's events, analyzing student achievementdata, creating congruence in subject areas, and the introduction of music and art programswere assisted by the state SURR liaison. But when asked if the state SURR program hadhelped, only three were affirmative. A common response was, "The staff person we hadwas terrific and we couldn't have done what we did without her help, but the program is notthat effective." Some stated that their liaison was excellent, but that they had heard that otherliaisons were not. What got our attention was that these principals were commendingdifferent SED staff persons. Asked if the SED program was a factor in improvement, themajority of responses were not favorable, but the SED staff person was given high marks.Given the continuing anger about the SURR program, it may very well be that noassessment by those subjected to a serious program of accountability for student outcomeswill be favorable. After all, bank examiners are not popular among bank officials.

Three principals mentioned that at one point their school was visited by a principalfrom a school outside of the city, and all three stated that this visit or the relationship that itcreated with the other principal helped to build their morale. The type of "morale building"that ensued, however, may not have been the intention of the SED's pairing of high-performing schools with low-performing schools. The objective was to have the principalsof high-performing schools give the principals of the SURR schools advice or at leastanother perspective. All three New York City principals stated that the visiting school teamshad ended their tours "shaken" and "wide-eyed" about the challenges faced by the New YorkCity school, such as high student mobility, poverty, the numbers of students who were notEnglish speaking, and the student disciplinary problems the school had to handle. Oneprincipal continued to get calls from the principal of the visiting team to ask advice abouthow to handle such problems as students carrying weapons. For these three principals the"pairing" experiment reinforced their perception, shared by several of the other principalsthat were interviewed, that the State Education Department had a "suburban" or "upstate"perspective and that their school was being evaluated by unfair standards.

Due to significant changes in the SURR program adopted by the NYS Regents inJuly 1996, State Education Department staff will in the immediate future confine themselvesto the identification of SURR schools and to monitoring whether state regulations for schoolimprovement are being followed by local school districts. Local school districts will be incharge of assisting low-performing schools. In this new plan of action, the lines of authorityand responsibility have been clearly delineated for state and local education officials. SEDstaff, freed from providing technical assistance, will now ensure accountability forinstructional quality. Local school districts, especially New York City where the bulk ofSURR schools are located, are now responsible for raising the performance of schools.Since the State Education Department still retains the authority to place schools on "the list"and to ultimately revoke a school's registration, a considerable amount of anger will stilllikely be directed at this agency by the principals of schools cited for poor performance.

The Role of the Central Board of Education in School Improvement

City-school improvement officials did not fare any better than state education officialsin the estimation of the school principals. In fact, they fared considerably worse. Except for


3 2

the interview in response to numerous questions, while both state and city school officialswere mentioned only in response to a direct question from us. The cumulative impressiongained by the EPP Monitoring Committee from interviews is that districts were perceived ascritical in the provision of additional resources and thus played a significant role in theprincipals' and planning teams' ability to initiate new academic programs and studentservices. In schools that had been the victim of student or staff "dumping," their districts'abandonment of this practice could also be cited as a positive contribution to schoolimprovement. With the new SURR regulations, community school district involvement inschool improvement is required from the beginning, unless the school is transferred to the"Chancellor's" district. This change in the SURR program may significantly change thedynamics between community school district officials and SURR school principals.Hopefully, it may also make some community school boards more responsible in theirappointment of new principals.

One last note about the relationship of these schools' improvement efforts and districtpolicies and practices. Two principals described how they were able to continue practicesthat they or the school planning team had initiated despite district policies that prohibitedthem. Because of the sensitivity of these issues, no further description will be providedother than to say that both schools were situated in districts with a greater tendency tomicromanage school practices. In these two instances, district policies, were to some extentviewed as providing barriers to continued school improvement, and so they were quietlyignored. In two other schools, also functioning in districts where more limited discretion isprovided to principals and planning teams, those interviewed reported that they werecomplying with the district's policy but cited the policy as limiting their school's potential forraising student achievement levels. Thus, in two thirds of the small sample of elementaryschools, a district's directive in an academic area was viewed as "a problem."


One of the key questions we wanted to answer through our interviews with schoolstaff members and a review of student achievement data was whether only selected groups ofstudents improved their academic performance. In the school-site interviews, principalsstated that all students had benefited from improvement. Some principals, though, hadtargeted specific groups of students for additional assistance. A few developed specializedinstructional programs for the lowest-achieving students, while others had tried to retain andenhance the performance of their higher-achieving students. In some schools, the principalsstated that they had very little say in the special education classes located in their buildings orknowledge about their achievement rates, so they could not say whether these studentsbenefited from improvements they and the planning team had instituted.

A consultant looked at student achievement data provided by the State EducationDepartment and the Board of Education for these schools to independently verify theprincipals' statements. No detailed analysis was done for special education students becauseof the difficulty of securing data on special education achievement, our small sample ofschools, and the wide variety of special education programs within these schools (somefunctioned as part of a school's program, some functioned as part of a district program).

There were other significant problems posed by the data that was available. In threeelementary schools the building contained, for a variety of reasons, two schools. The criticalquestion that emerged was "Who really are your students?" The answer could not beverified with certainty by EPP. The data from these three schools contained conflictinginformation on the numbers of students in the school. In one school, which was visited bythe Monitoring Committee but not described in this report as an improved school, the testresults of students in the second school that shared the building were combined with theschool that had been removed from the list, thereby raising the average student achievementlevels of the SURR school. In response to a direct question to a second principal, there wasan admission that the second school's test results may have been combined with the otherschool that shared the building. In the third instance, special education referral rates werehigh as a proportion of all students in one school. Again, the principal reported that totalspecial education referrals from the two schools were reported as the referral rate of oneschool. Since more and more schools are sharing the same school building, and some"mini-schools" still remain semi-official entities for a variety of reasons, the complexity ofdata gathering on the student achievement levels of individual schools has become a morecomplicated task. The staff at the central office of the Board of Education, the officialsresponsible for this data gathering, have assured EPP that they have recognized this problemand have improved their ability to develop more accurate school profiles as more and moreschools begin to share buildings. Yet, it is interesting to note that over the course of this oneyear study, the problems with the three schools have not been corrected

EPP's consultant did find that while student achievement levels and otherperformance indicators significantly improved among all ten schools, the principals'assertions that all students benefited from school improvement was not substantiated for onegroup of general education students. In three out of the four elementary schools where datawas available, the proportion of Limited-English Proficiency (LEP) students meeting theChancellor's standards for English-language acquisition fell significantly even in the twoschools where Spanish language classes and instruction had been reduced to encourage moremastery in English. LEP data was not available for the middle schools and one of the highschools, but in the one high school where this information existed, LEP student performanceindicators dropped sharply. In fact, with the exception of one school, average test scores



and year-to-year gains of this population declined in all schools studied where this data wasavailable. (See Appendix for more details).

The best method to encourage second-language acquisition remains a challenge forNew York City schools as well as school systems across the nation and in other countrieswith increasing immigration. Despite the controversies, prejudices, and ideologysurrounding the debate about whether Bilingual, English-as-a-Second Language, andImmersion programs are effective, the reality is that most children from families whereEnglish is not spoken continue to fall significantly behind their peers in academicachievement. These students face a double burden. They are attempting to learn a secondlanguage along with mastering their course work. Especially at risk for academic failure areLEP students from low-income families. The schools studied in this report raised theachievement levels of their English speaking students, but non-English students continued toperform at lower levels.

It is interesting to note that many of the principals interviewed remarked that the highpercentage of students in their schools that were non-English speakers had contributed toplacing the schools on the SURR list and could possibly jeopardize their school's ability toremain off the list. Since seventeen percent of all children in New York City schools arerecent immigrants, there is an urgent need for the Board of Education to develop and test avariety of models for language acquisition and to encourage the introduction of the mostsuccessful strategies to schools with high immigrant student populations. Failure to meet thechallenge of second-language acquisition has serious implications for the over-all academicperformance of students in our city. Over the last decade, virtually all the growth in thestudent population of the New York City public school system has come from the children ofnew immigrants.




A common complaint of those interviewed for this study was that the SURR programwas "unfair." A frequent remark made by both principals and other school staff is that if theschool were functioning in a middle class community, the school would not have beenplaced on "the list" and the school staff would not have to work so hard to raise the academicperformance of their students to relatively modest levels of achievement by state standards.Not stated in the interviews was the fact that other schools similarly situated in the high-poverty communities were performing at higher levels, though only a handful were at thestate norms of student achievement. It is important to note, however, that there is somevalidity to the charge that the SURR list largely identifies school serving high-povertycommunities, especially those with high numbers of recent immigrants. Almost allprincipals interviewed expressed the unsolicited opinion that their schools, if improvementefforts did not continue, were at risk of once again being placed on the SURR list. This"demographic" argument about the unfairness of the SURR list focused on four challengesfaced by their schools that do not exist in much of the rest of the state outside of New YorkCity:

A Concentration of High-Poverty Students No matter how positive theschool's Mission Statement was about how "every child can learn" or about "highexpectations for every student," most administrators we interviewed were painfully aware ofsubstantial evidence in numerous research studies of the correlation between a school'sstudent achievement levels and the socio-economic status of the community served by theschool. Simply put, schools serving large numbers of children from low-income familiestend to have significantly lower student achievement levels. Only a very low percentage ofschools serving low-income communities are able to attain achievement levels closer to thenorm for a city or state. By both national and state standards, virtually every SURR schoolin New York City is serving a higher poverty community than the norm. In 1994, ofseventy-two SURR schools in New York City, fifty eight had concentrated poverty rates ofover 40%, according to table B2 of the State Education Department's State of Learning. Itshould be noted that the awareness of principals that the children their schools serve comefrom high-poverty families was not used as an explanation in our interviews for why theschool was placed on the list. All of the administrators and planing team membersinterviewed by EPP's Monitoring Committee for this report readily admitted that studentachievement levels at their schools had been unacceptably low. But the issue ofdemographics came up frequently as a reason why the SED program had a built-in bias ofidentifying schools in largely high-poverty areas and also why their school had suchdifficulty in raising performance levels despite developing higher expectations for students,teacher professionalism, curriculum standards, and sophisticated assessment capabilities.

A Concentration of Non-English-Speaking Students Those administratorswith large numbers of children whose home language was not English expressed the mostfrequent anger and allegations of unfairness about the SURR list. (This issue is discussed inseveral sections of this report.) Elementary school principals pointed out that LEP studentswere exempted from English language tests for two years, so their first exposure to thesetests was the third grade, and third grade tests results were one of the performance indicatorsused for placing schools on the SURR list. It should be noted that the SED eliminated theuse of standardized tests in the first and second grades. One principal in particular talkedabout the length of time it took for second-language acquisition (four to seven years in aquality bilingual program), and stated that a fourth grade or even fifth grade indicator wouldbe fairer. All of the growth in New York City's student population has come from the


enrollment of children of recent immigrants. By March of 1995, the SED reports, one ineight New York City public school students, was a recent immigrant.

High Student Mobility Rates Principals stated that their schools' high rates ofmobility meant that as much as a fifth to a third of the students in the third grade were newentrants to the school. By the time the school's third grade students had reached the sixthgrade, less than half of the students tested had been attending the school for the past threeyears. Even a year-to-year analysis of whether students had made at least a year's academicprogress would be flawed, they argued, because "the same students" would not be tested.In PS 500, an astonishingly low 58% of students finish a complete year in the school. In therest of the schools in this study, the average is roughly 70%, still low.

A Concentration of Low-Achieving Students Resulting from the"School Choice" Program The two high schools visitedwere both affected by the highschool "Choice" program instituted over twenty-five years ago by the New York City Boardof Education. Once students could attend high school programs outside of theirneighborhoods beyond the limited choices of vocational schools, both neighborhood highschools in lower income neighborhoods and vocational high schools had greater difficultyattracting higher achieving students. It is also interesting to note that the two middle schoolsin this report are situated in districts that emphasize "Choice," and, while the principalsreport that more students than formerly now list their schools as a first choice, both schools'report cards reveal that few of their students are high scoring on standardized tests.

There are no easy answers to the question of whether measurements of schoolperformance should factor in student demographics. While some schools serving low-income neighborhoods have received national attention because their students are performingat high academic levels, these schools are the exception to the rule. Both anecdotal evidenceand well-designed, ambitious and comprehensive studies have shown a strong relationshipbetween low student achievement and poverty, especially concentrations of poverty. This istrue even during the "golden age" of the New York City public school system. Studentperformance levels in the city lagged significantly behind those of the rest of the state, eventhough per-pupil expenditures were always higher than the state average up until 1984. AFebruary 9, 1930 New York Times first-page article reported that New York City studentswho were graduating from elementary schools and who were entering the secondary schoolswere given a state-wide test. Only 30% of the pupils passed the arithmetic test, 20% theEnglish test, and only 21% the geography test. Annual Board of Education reports during1935-36 state that city schools had many more students over age for their grade levels andthat the lack of English spoken in many homes was one of the reasons so many studentsfailed to be promoted and took longer to graduate from high school. As late as 1950, thehigh school drop-out rate for New York City schools was 50%, again far higher than the restof the state.

It could be argued that bias towards the students' ethnic and religious groups was afactor in low-student achievement from the 1930's to the 1950's in New York City schoolsand that bias may still be a significant factor today, even though the bias is now directed atAfrican Americans and Latinos. An April 1996 report by ACORN, Secret Apartheid,documented this bias in a test they conducted. Parents of color who came to schools toenroll their children were rarely informed of "Gifted and Talented" programs in the schoolsor allowed to meet a teacher or principal, but white parents sent to the very same schoolswere frequently given this welcoming treatment. Some parents were even directed to otherschools as being more "suitable," the white parents being steered towards higher achievingschools and parents of color steered to lower achieving schools .

Yet studies by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. General AccountingOffice find that even within different racial and ethnic groups, students from middle-classcommunities achieve at significantly higher rates, on average, than students from high-poverty communities. Children receiving "A" grades in elementary schools serving poorcommunities achieved the same scores on standardized math tests as "D" students in the mostaffluent schools, according to a January 1994 report from the Office of Research of the U.S .

Department of Education entitled "What Do Student Grades Mean? Differences AcrossSchools." A July 28, 1992 GAO report found that in schools serving high-povertycommunities, defined as serving at least one hundred and twenty six poor children, almosthalf the poor children were low achieving. In schools with less than fifty poor children, lessthan a third of the poor children were low achieving. It should be noted that all schoolsstudied for this EPP report have far higher numbers of poor children than the GAO study.Even more telling was a finding of a 1993 study by the Office of Policy and Planning of theU.S. Department of Education, "Reinventing Chapter 1" that compared public schoolsserving the most affluent neighborhoods with those serving the poorest. While only eightpercent of students in the lowest-poverty schools were low achieving, over half the studentsin the highest-poverty schools were low achieving.

Given this positive correlation between student achievement and poverty, forwhatever set of complex reasons, any program to identify low-performing schools on thebasis of student outcomes will mirror the demographic characteristics of the studentpopulations that schools serve. For example, an earlier SED program to identify low-performing schools identified almost every school in New York City serving predominatelylow-income children. The criticism that the socio-economic status of students was beingmeasured, not the performance of staff in schools, had some validity. But SED's change in1989 in its methodology of identifying low-performing schools by declining indicatorscreated a perception of unfairness because schools with constant, but lower levels ofperformance were not placed on the SURR list. Even with this new methodology, however,the overwhelming majority of schools were situated in high-poverty neighborhoods.

In response to the complaint that the lowest performing schools are not beingidentified, SED has now returned to the previous methodology but with some recognition ofdemographic issues. The new regulations now allow local school districts to provide "valueadded" data, most notably student progress from grade to grade and second languageacquisition, to challenge an initial list of low performing schools drawn up by the SED. Ifthe New York City Board of Education can point to certain schools where initially lowstudent performance levels were improved significantly, even though their higherperformance levels were still below state standards, these schools could be removed before afinal determination is made. SED officials have characterized this proposed change asmerely formalizing an already existing dialogue. The New York City Board of Educationcurrently provides "value added" data in an attempt to get the SED to more accurately assessthe performance of administrators and teachers serving high-poverty communities.

Permitting a "value added" defense, EPP concurs, is an important step towards afairer evaluation of staff performance where there is a high concentration of student poverty.If most students are performing below grade level, but most low and middle scoring studentsare making more than one year's progress academically, the staff should not be characterizedas poorly performing. This attempt to recognize demographic factors is preferable tocreating lower standards of achievement for schools with a concentration of povertystudents. The very best solution, of course, would be to eliminate the gap in average studentperformance levels between schools serving high-poverty neighborhoods and schoolsserving largely middle class or affluent neighborhoods. This may involve the eradication ofracial or economic bias or the eradication of poverty itself, not likely events in the immediatefuture, to put it mildly. But reducing this academic performance gap between schools is a

realistic goal for the immediate future. This means that much more attention must be given toschools serving high concentrations of students from low income and immigrant families.As we discuss in the next chapter, the performance gap has grown smaller over the last fewdecades because of greater investment in poor children's education, most notably federalTitle I funds and a better distribution of resources among schools in different states. Moneydoes make a difference,

EPP is fully aware that until the day when demographic differences have negligibleimpact on student performance, programs that seek to identify low-performing schools willinevitably identify a far higher percentage of schools serving high-poverty neighborhoods.The principals and teachers in these schools will continue to be, unfairly, measured againstthe performance of school staff in higher income neighborhoods. But the SURR programdoes not seek to negatively sanction all schools performing below the norm set by schoolsserving students from middle and high income families, just those furthest from the norm.This is true so long as the recent changes in the SURR program do not mimic the state'sprevious attempt to label hundreds of New York City schools as low performing, whichamounted to little more than a public shaming campaign. The closure or reorganization ofschools unable to improve and falling below acceptable levels of student academicachievement, on the other hand, may help to narrow the performance gap between studentsof different socio-economic communities. Whatever the complex reasons why students inhigh-poverty schools lag behind their peers in other schools (such as, bias or the role ofparents' educational attainment), there are no demographic factors that we find convincing,including high concentrations of students with limited English proficiency, to explain thecontinued operation of 161 New York City elementary schools where two thirds of studentsare performing below grade level as measured by standardized reading tests. If anything, thedemographic argument for too long has resulted in the toleration of low- functioningprincipals and teachers and the acceptance of very low levels of student achievement inschools serving high-poverty communities. As we discuss in our recommendations and inthe next section, there should be a recognition that students in high-poverty and high-immigrant neighborhoods need additional resources, better performing staff, and greateroversight by school officials to ensure that instructional effectiveness is being achieved.

Note: Three other common complaints about the state's SURR program issuescame up repeatedly in our school-site interviews. At the time that this report is being drafted,SED addressed these complaints: 1) Even lower-performing schools were not placed on thelist. The SURR program, unlike the previous state program for low-performing schools,looked at schools where key indicators of student achievement were declining for threeyears. Schools where achievement levels were very low, but not declining, were not placedon the SURR list. 2) .Several principals told us that while the SURR guidelines were clearabout how schools got on the list, there were no clear guidelines for removal. As oneprincipal told us, "I didn't know we had really gotten off the list until you called for anappointment, so I am very glad to see you." 3) There was no positive recognition given tothe school for having improved. Principals and planning team members were justifiablyproud of how they had turned around their schools and of their students' higher achievementlevels. Yet no formal ceremony or other form of public recognition marked the occasion oftheir schools' removal from the list. Amendments adopted by the NYS Board of Regents inJuly 1996 to Section 100.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education change themethodology used to identify low-performing schools. Schools farthest from meeting statestandards will be placed on the list, rather than those with merely declining indicators ofperformance. Another series of changes clearly delineates where progress should bedemonstrated so that a school can be removed from the SURR list. In 1996, when elevenmore schools were removed from the list, SED made a public announcement about theirimproved performance. The result was that, in the words of one SED official, theseprincipals were "treated as through they had won the lottery."

FUNDING SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTEPP had several funding questions about school improvement. The first is whether

it could be done in a fiscal atmosphere of budget cuts and without a massive infusion of newmoney? We also wanted to know if there were specific funds available to schools forimprovement efforts, and if so, what materials and services were purchased with thismoney. If more funds had been available, would they have made a difference? A relatedquestion was whether the 1995-96 budget cuts had hampered the efforts of school staff toraise student achievement levels.

Special federal and state funding programs make school improvementpossible.

As we explain later on in this section, on a per-pupil basis the New York City publicschool system receives $1,090 less than the average school district in the rest of the state.Funds that come to schools from state operating aid and the municipal budget barely maintainclass sizes required by the collective bargaining agreement with the teachers' union. In someschools there are not enough funds for supplies, textbooks, and an additional schoolsecretary or assistant principal. Few of the initiatives described by principals and planningteam members were funded by these tax levy allocations to schools.

Despite a wide assortment of small grants that purchased additional staff orprograms, such as a teacher trainer or an art program, all the schools relied primarily onfunds that came to their school from a federal program to provide compensatory educationfor poor children (Title I) and a state program to provide remedial services to children withlow levels of academic performance (Pupils in Need of Compensatory Education).Currently, all schools in New York City serving a school population that is 65.99% poorreceive Title I funds, a criterion that most, if not all, SURR schools meet. All schoolsreceive the state PCEN allocation on the basis of the number of academically under-achievingstudents, which means that all SURR schools receive much higher PCEN allocations thanbetter performing schools. In fact, the school that served the less poor community, PS 400,where the student poverty rate was "only" 62% at the time that it was first placed on the list,and thus was the only school in this report ineligible to receive Title I funds, was able tobring about improvements with just state PCEN funds, though it received higher amountsfrom this source than most other schools in the community school district and the rest of theschools in our small sample of ten schools. (As of the 1996-97 school year, PS 400 is noweligible to receive Title I funds.)

Until 1989, most of these federal and state funds were used by schools to pull outeligible students from their regular classrooms for remediation sessions where they would bedrilled on basic skills of math and reading. EPP's 1989 report, The Fourth "R": RethinkingRemediation in the Elementary Schools, questioned the wide practice of havingparaprofessionals, rather than teachers, provide these remediation services, often withouttime for consultation with teachers, and the disruption that these "pull-out" remediationsessions created for the classroom. Another common pattern was for the communitydistricts to utilize a high proportion of these funds for their own district, possibly anindication of patronage practices. EPP urged that more funds be driven to the school to hireteachers and that administrators be allowed to pool federal and state funds and to use themfor efforts to improve the whole school.

The good news is that district headcount reductions have curbed some patronagepractices and that over the course of six years, federal, state, and city educationadministrators have consistently worked towards driving more of these funds to the schools



and to allow schools maximum flexibility in the use of these funds for "school-wide"improvement efforts. Five of the nine schools received their Title 1 allocations under aprogram pioneered in 1989 that allowed schools with student poverty rates of 75% to receivetheir funds directly and to have local decision making on how best to use the funds called"School-Wide Project." As of 1995-96 school year, the federal threshold for eligibility forthese funds was set at 65% student poverty. Virtually every Title I eligible school in NewYork City now qualifies for this type of funding. But only slightly over four hundredschools of the seven hundred and nine schools receiving Title I funds in New York Cityhave opted to be in the school-wide program, which requires the submission of a plandeveloped by principals, teachers and parents as well as the agreement of the districtsuperintendent.

How much money was available for school improvement?

Nine schools received $248,264 to $1.6 million in federal and state funds above theirschool's per-pupil allocation from the district for general education (school year 1991-92).The range of funding depended on the number of pupils eligible for these funds in theirschools and whether their districts used a portion of these funds for district programs. Theone school that was eligible for state funds only, received $271,225 in state funds. On aper-pupil basis, the funding came to $1,293 to $2,118 in additional funding for every Title Iand PCEN eligible student. Some schools reported receiving less than the amounts listed indistrict allocation reports of the central Board of Education. The district reported the amountas an allocation to the school, but part of the money was actually used for a district programwhich was deemed to benefit the school. These issues were not pursued in the interviewswith principals because of their reluctance to go into details. EPP conducted a study of howmuch funds reached the classroom during the 1991-92 school year, Equity in the Funding ofPublic and Elemental), Schools in New York City, which provides some data on fundsactually at the disposal of school administrators. On the basis of each pupil eligible for TitleI and PCEN, the community school districts received anywhere from a low of $1,715 to ahigh of $3,785, but funds actually allocated to the schools came to $818 to $1,968. EPPwas told that funds retained at the district level covered employee fringes, such as healthinsurance, but we were unable to obtain documentation of this.

Title I and PCEN, for most schools, was not the sole source of funding for schoolimprovement. As reported in the previous sections of this report, most principals alsosucceeded in getting small grants for their schools, and the two high schools were recipientsof a large Attendance Improvement Drop Out Prevention funding. It should also bementioned that the state's school improvement unit provided technical assistance at no chargeto the school. Virtually every school mentioned that their district had provided extra fundsfor textbooks and most utilized district staff training or training that had been arranged for theschool by the district.

What needs to be funded for school improvement?

There was such a variation among schools in the programs, services, and materialsthat they funded that EPP staff had to summarize the interview material and then ask follow-up questions to get a better picture of common patterns. Title I and PCEN funds, in all theseschools, were still used primarily to help students who were falling behind academically.Funds were used to reduce class size, provide remediation in reading and math, hireparaprofessionals, buy computers and books, improve attendance, hire guidance counselorsand librarians, and buy supplies and books. We asked principals to tell us what services andmaterials they purchased with Title 1 and PCEN, beside direct assistance to students,supported school improvement efforts. With the exception of one principal who refused to



give an opinion, there was consensus among the rest of the principals as to the basicmaterials and services for school improvement that needed to be funded:

Books All schools upgraded most of textbooks in use in the classroom. In someschools there had been old textbooks or incomplete sets. In many of the schools inthis report, efforts to align curriculum or to try new methods of teaching meant thatwithin a few short years the school discarded several sets of textbooks. Several alsoexpanded or began using their libraries again. In short, the investment in new bookswas quite extensive.

Staff Training While there was a wide diversity in how schools conductedtraining, all of the principals reported expenditures in this area that were large and forthe most part continuing, whether or not it was the school or the school district thatwas purchasing the training or it was being provided through a collaboration with theUnited Federation of Teachers sponsored Teacher Training Centers. It was in thisarea where additional grant money was used extensively either to purchase an on-sitetrainer from another institution, hire a school 'teacher trainer, or send teachers fortraining to another site.

Substitute Teachers These expenditures supported staff training activities. Inorder for some teachers to attend some off-site training sessions or even, at times, toattend specific training sessions at the school with staff developers, substitutes had tobe hired for a certain number of days each year to replace teachers in the classroombeyond those needed for normal coverage.

Per-Session Compensation This was another expenditure that, for the mostpart, supported either staff training or planning committee activities. While manyschools reported that participation in after-school staff development and in schoolplanning teams had been uncompensated, or initially uncompensated, funds wereeventually needed to compensate teachers for what amounted to overtime, called"per-session" by the Board of Education. In some other schools, participation inschool planning teams and after-school training had initially been compensated, butno longer was for budgetary reasons. Several of the schools had also reorganizedthe school day, so that students needing remediation or high school students whowanted to take extra courses could do so after school. This required per-sessioncompensation for teachers.

Linkages with outside organizations. Bringing in arts organizations andactivities or supporting collaborations around art were one of the more frequentexpense items. Peer mediation programs, partnerships with mental health services,and some college and university programs required either additional staffing andcoordination to support these services or some matching funds. Even serving as asite for a volunteer tutoring program necessitated fund raising by one school so thatvolunteers could be transported to the school.

Three principals expanded this list of critical resources for school improvement thatneeded funding by citing additional classroom materials, computers and technology, andmore staff. It should be clarified that for the purposes of this discussion, we have created adistinction between funds used to help students directly and funds used for schoolimprovement, a distinction that is entirely artificial at the school level. In actual practice, theacademic achievement of students improve because of both direct assistance and betterquality assistance. Yet the majority of schools, especially those not on the SURR list, useTitle I and PCEN funds exclusively for direct assistance to students, some still usingparaprofessionals, with little investment made in staff development to upgrade the quality of



instruction and remediation or the decision making in the school. The result is not that thesefunds are "wasted" or "squandered," but that the school's students as a whole do notsubstantially improve their academic performance. Despite efforts to help individualstudents, the instructional environment itself remains plagued with a lack of a consistentcurriculum, a lack of problem-solving skills and self-assessment by staff, and poorsupervision and communication by administrators. Board of Education officials were alsocritical of the nature and duplication of staff development that they had witnessed in someschools that had not been removed from the SURR list. Their criticism was that instead ofhiring more teachers, the principal or superintendent had put three or four school and districtstaff developers with questionable expertise on the payroll to work with the troubled schoolwith little thought on how all these developers should work together.

Would more money make more of a difference?

This question is always fraught with ideological biases of one sort or another andcircular reasoning. Routinely, when the question of whether money matters in education,the question tends to be interpreted as abstractly as possible with little reference to actualfunding practices. Another question has to be asked: "Money for what?" The repair andconstruction of schools, while critically needed in New York City, will not improve theacademic performance of students, except marginally in those schools where overcrowdingis a problem. The studious avoidance of the question of "Money for what?" marks thosecritics who point to the budget increases nationally and in New York State that have gone topublic education and the lack of significant improvement on such measures as ScholasticAchievement Tests. A national research study sponsored by the Economic Policy Instituteand the Metropolitan Life Foundation, Where's the Money Gone? Changes in the Level andComposition of Education Spending by Richard Rothstein, published November 14, 1995,and a state study on cost-effectiveness in education commissioned by the State EducationDepartment, The Allocation of Resources in New York State School Districts: 1979-80 to1993-94, by Hamilton Lankford and James Wyckoff, published March 1, 1996, show thatthe increases in public education spending over the last few decades have gone primarily tospecial education and a slight increase in teacher salaries over inflation, not into improvingthe instruction of general education students whose test scores determine studentachievement rates.

An ambitious study that tracked rates of student achievement as they relate to familycharacteristics on a longitudinal basis from 1970 to 1990 was issued by the Rand Institute onEducation and Training in December, 1994. Student Performance and the ChangingAmerican Family found that on the basis of parents' education, family income, family size,and the mother's age at the child's birth, black and Hispanic students made the greatestacademic improvements. Gains made by non-Hispanic whites, when family characteristicswere fully accounted for, were slight. While there is still a minority-nonminority test scoregap, the researchers attribute the narrowing of this gap to public investment policies. Whatis particularly noteworthy about this study is that the researchers utilized the NationalAssessment of Education Progress test scores as indicators of student achievement, ratherthan the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores that are not designed to compare studentperformance over time because they are not taken by a statistically representative sample ofthe nation's students. In fact, because these tests exclude non-college bound students. SATdoes not capture the group registering the largest gains in scores and is particularlymisleading as a measure of the performance of the nation's schools.

Would more money make a difference for all schools?

The more direct question for this report is whether an additional ,$500,000 to $2million per school would significantly improve student outcomes in SURR schools. The


answer is a highly qualified yes. Providing these sums to a school with a poorly performingprincipal, a low-morale staff, a high proportion of poor instructors, all functioning without astrategy or even understanding of curriculum would produce marginal improvements, if any.In a public school system that has tolerated poorly performing schools for too long and tendsto monitor schools and districts for compliance with budget and administrative directivesrather than instructional effectiveness, there is no assurance that all schools will use theseadditional funds well. But it is encouraging that twenty-nine percent of schools, after at leasttwo years on the SURR list, and, most with no significant additional funds than thosereceived by other high poverty schools, were able to improve their performance enough to beremoved from the list. We therefore speculate that if these schools had more resources, theymight have made additional gains in student achievement and school improvement. It shouldbe added that schools that are not on the list and performing at equally or higher levels thanthe improved schools, would also be able to benefit from increased investment in generaleducation instruction.

When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was up for reauthorization in1994, EPP along with many other education reform organizations, urged Congress tochange Title I policy so that funds within school districts would be allocated to schools onthe basis of the number of children from low-income families, not on the basis of lowachievement, though there is a strong relationship between the two. Our reasoning was thatschools with low-achievement rates were given a perverse incentive to remain low achievingbecause, if student performance increased these schools would lose money. And, indeed,several of the schools in this study lost a portion of their Title I money just for this reason,though district funding practices helped soften the blow. Because these were sensitiveissues, the principals would not give more details. Unfortunately, state PCEN funds are stilldistributed in New York City on the basis of low student achievement. However, there hasbeen a history in some community school districts of redirecting PCEN money, regardless ofstate and city guidelines, to compensate schools that are ineligible for Title I funds and thathave much higher student achievement rates. This practice is continuing in the 1996-97school year. In some districts, this misdirection of funds tends to reduce allocations to high-minority schools and increase allocations to low-minority schools. In other districts, withlittle distinction among schools as to student characteristics, community school boardmembers have explained this practice by stating that most of the high-poverty schools hadsuch incompetent principals that they did not want to see the money "wasted."

The Educational Priorities Panel, faced with a decision in 1994 on whether toendorse a legislative proposal to provide a significant amount of state funds to all SURRschools, whether or not they were in the process of improvement, came to a somewhatsimilar position. We came to the conclusion that a large investment in all SURR schoolswould produce a perverse reward for poor performance and that there was no guarantee thata majority of poorly performing schools would use the additional funds well. Though bothexamples involve the issue of whether many low-performing schools are capable of utilizingadditional funds effectively, an important distinction, however, needs to made here betweenobjecting to rewarding schools for poor performance and denying schools the allocations thatare due to them on the basis of a state policy of providing funds to schools with largenumbers of students performing below state standards. We would suggest that both the stateand the city should begin to monitor community school districts and schools on the basis ofwhether both Title I and state PCEN funds are being effectively used to improve theacademic achievement levels of students in the lowest-performing schools. More attention toeffectiveness in the use of this money would inspire more compliance by some communityschool districts in ensuring that funds are fully directed to schools on the basis of theireligibility. As it stands now, there are provisions in the Elementary and SecondaryEducation Act that require the state to verify that students are making academic progressunder Title I. The state and the city are now developing a Title I School Improvement

Accountability System to identify schools where students are not making adequate progress.An open question is what consequences will follow from a school's designation as "in needof Title I School Improvement"? The lack of previous monitoring for remedial effectivenessin the use of Title I and PCEN funds has helped to create a vicious cycle whereby schoolswith high-poverty populations are perceived as "squandering" the extra funding they receive,and so in some districts these funds are directed elsewhere, and high-poverty schools do notget the full funding they need. If there was greater oversight over instructional quality inschools and earlier intervention in failing schools, there would be, hopefully, bettercompliance with allocation policies and more resources would be directed to schools needingthese additional resources.

Most of the schools in our study made limited gains in student performance becausetheir funding for school improvement and instruction was limited by the constraints ofunderfunding of general education in New York City public schools. Compared to theaverage for the rest of the state, on a per-pupil basis New York City public school studentsreceive $1,090 less (Table 10 of Analysis of School Finance issued by the State EducationDepartment in October 1995). For an average New York City classroom of twenty-fourstudents this means $26,160 less in resources than an average classroom outside the city inthe 1993-94 year. The results are larger class sizes, fewer books, fewer art, music and otherprograms, less sports and other after-school activities, and fewer computers in comparisonwith the average for the rest of the state. Yet New York City educates the highest proportionof children living in poverty and whose native language is not English. In our sample of tenschools where student achievement had improved, with two exceptions, the resulting studentachievement levels still fell below state standards. More resources, in the hands of capableadministrators and teachers, could bring achievement levels up further. This brings us to arelated question.

Have recent budget cuts had any affect on school improvement?

The EPP site visits and interviews took place in the spring of 1995, before thedramatic budget reductions of the 1995-96 school year. In our follow-up phone survey, wehad the opportunity to ask the nine current principals whether the city's $752 million inbudget cuts had significantly impacted their schools and whether this had affected theirimprovement efforts. Five principals answered that the city budget cut had a negligible effecton their school. These same five principals, not surprisingly, in answer to the question"Have the budget cuts affected school improvement?" stated that there had been none or onlya slight impact. The four principals that reported losses of personnel and programs, on theother hand, answered in very strong terms, from "it has slowed us down" to "absolutely!"As we discussed in the section on environment, there was an unmet need for counseling inthe elementary schools. But two of the elementary schools that had full-time counselorswent to a part-time counselors. Class sizes increased because of the loss of teaching staff,and one school had to form "bridge classes," made up of students in two grades. Saddest ofall was the impact on the high schools that had to abandon advanced placement courses fortheir brightest students and cut into sports. The one high school that had been very proud ofits music program, which was believed to have helped turn around the school, had to end theprogram in order to preserve its math and English writing laboratories. The principal statedthat he had not been proud of his actions, but there were no other budget options. Thisquestion on the impact of budget cuts is interestingly another variation of the question ofwhether money makes a difference for school improvement. For those principals for whomthe question remained essentially an abstract Proposition, the relationship of funds toimprovement was questionable. For those principals directly affected by budget cuts theanswer to the question was tangible and they perceived a direct relationship between fundsand improvement.

RECOMMENDATIONSWhat can be learned from the small sample of ten schools that are the subject of this

monitoring report? The most important lesson is that school improvement is possible,though not as easily achievable as some may believe. In an era when "top down"administrative directives are rejected and local school initiatives are encouraged, whatpolicies and practices at the system-wide level would lead to higher levels of performance bypublic schools in New York City? The Educational Priorities Panel ends this report withrecommendations in four areas. But, in essence, we end this report with one majorrecommendation: Improving low student academic achievement must becomethe central mission of the school system at all levels of its functioning.

What follows are prescriptions for the implementation of consistent practices, mostof which require no changes in current laws or regulations. At the time that this report isbeing written, various proposals have been introduced in the state legislature proposingsignificant changes in the structure of New York City's public education system. Given theuncertainty of whether governance reform will become a reality and whether the "reform"will amount to much more than a reconfiguration of power and lucrative contracting authorityamong city officials, most of our recommendations do not depend on enactment of law.


Like many of the formerly low-performing schools that EPP members visited wherethe former principals were so consumed with managing their buildings that they were notmanaging instruction, policy makers at the central and district levels are so busy managingmulti-million dollar systems that they are not providing policy oversight over instructionalquality. The ironies are that the education system is awash with data and statistics aboutstudent achievement levels and that significant resources are devoted to their collection anddissemination. But as school principals and planning team members admitted to us ininterviews for this report, the voluminous data most often remains largely unexamined. Thereason for this is that the information has few consequences.

The occasional media attention to student outcomes has been largely irrelevant to thecareers of school officials. Most press coverage of student achievement is devoted to theranking of elementary schools on the basis of student reading and math test scores and highschool dropout statistics. Because it is limited, partial, and does not provide any follow-upreporting on changes, press coverage does not in and of itself provide the incentive that moredetailed and regular reporting at meetings of deliberative bodies would provoke amongadministrators. School report cards, which are currently distributed to parents, lackmeaningful information on the academic achievement levels of the school's students. Andonce the report cards are issued to parents, there are no public forums at the school or districtlevels for discussing either the report card or strategies for improving the school'sperformance levels. While school report cards should be improved and their distributioncontinue. public disclosure of data is not enough. Administrators and policy makers must becharged with taking action on the basis of meaningful data on student achievement.

1. Establish routine, public disclosure and discussion of understandable andmeaningful data on the academic progress of students in every school andbenchmarks for school improvement by policy-making bodies at all levels ofthe school system. Any review of the deliberations and actions of the members of theBoard of Education and the members of most community schools districts will show that theagendas are filled with approvals of contracts, promotions and salary increases, the results of

disciplinary proceedings, reviews of budget items, and the adoption of personnel or schoolpolicies. A presentation and discussion of student academic achievement levels by individualschools are relatively rare occurrences. EPP urges the Board of Education, communityschool districts, and schools to hold public hearings and meetings to present clear andmeaningful data on current levels of performance and annual goals for improvement bydistricts and schools and to ascertain whether these goals have been achieved.

2. SED and BOE must define and gather data on schools to more accuratelymeasure school and student performance. In this study of a small sample of elevenschools, EPP found three instances where school performance data was suspect. Oneschool contained an unofficial "mini school" and in another school the principal stated that hesuspected that student achievement scores from an annex of another school located in hisbuilding may have been combined with his school. In the third instance, the performance ofthe school that had been created from two schools was difficult to evaluate because studentperformance data were still being reported for the two schools, not the unified school. Alarger issue is the Board of Education's frequent use of a norm-referenced analysis of testresults rather than a criterion-referenced analysis. Test results analyzed on the basis ofnorms (that is, whether students' average scores fell below or above the average for allstudents in the city) are not as meaningful as test results analyzed on the basis of a specificcriteria (that is, whether students' average scores fell below or above what students shouldscore at a given grade level). By analyzing scores on the basis of a norm for the city, halfthe schools and half the students will be below the city norm and half will be above. Whatparents and the public need to know is the percentage of students that are performing atacceptable levels for their grade.

3. BOE must present a clearer picture of the percentage of studentsperforming at grade level on standardized tests in school report cards andother publicly distributed measures of school and district performance. Thecurrent "Annual School Report" distributed for elementary schools during the 1995-96school year devotes two full pages to measuring the performance of all students or studentsin selected grades against city, state, and national norms and standards on the basis of scoreson five standardized tests. However, not one of the seven tables of statistics actuallyprovides information on what the norms or standards mean. Table 1 is particularlyconfusing for the average parent of an elementary or middle school student because itpresents statistics on the number of the school's students in grades three, six and eightmeeting the state's standards. Not stated was that the state's standards are very low: theyare based on the percentage of children testing above the bottom quartile of test takers. Mostparents of children in a given school would not have understood, for example, that when65% of the school's students met the state's standard for third grade reading, more than twothirds of students could have been performing below third grade reading levels as measuredby the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. As of September 1, 1996, the state'sstandards for school performance have been increased for all elementary and middle schoolgrades to 90% of students testing above the bottom quartile. This higher standard, however,will give parents and the public no indication of the percentage of students in a school thatare performing at grade level.

4. Student achievement statistics must no longer separately report theperformance statistics on general education students and mildly disabledstudents. New state education regulations require the public reporting of special educationstudents' test results by school, but test results will still be given separately for generaleducation students and for special education students. The quality of a school's instructionalprogram should be measured by the test results of all its students without distinction betweengeneral and special education for a variety of reasons. An important reason is to ensure theintegrity of measurements of school performance. The Institute for Education and Social

Policy of New York University in its October 1995 policy paper, Focus on Learning,reported that in 1985 and 1992, NYU found that 84% and 85% of students classified aslearning disabled did not meet the clinical definition or state standard for placement in thesespecial education programs. A contributing factor in the high numbers of children referred tospecial education programs for the mildly disabled may be that their scores are reportedlyseparately from those of students in general education and resource room programs. RichardL. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen of the National Research Center on Student Learningand Achievement in English, in an article in the August 7, 1996 issue of Education Week,comment on how school-performance monitoring programs, like the SURR list, may betempting principals to make more referrals to special education programs: "Allowing schoolsto continue to exempt students with disabilities from public-accountability frameworks alsocontinues the current incentive to identify low-achieving children as disabled in order toartificially enhance reported student achievement levels (removing the lowest-achievingchildren from the public accountability reports raises the reported achievement)." If school-performance monitoring leads to the possibility of genuine sanctions, there will be even moreof a temptation to raise the average level of student achievement in a given school by merelyreferring the low-achieving students to special education programs.

Even if this is less of a factor in over referrals to special education than supposed, theinclusion of this population's academic achievement in the overall measurement of a school'sperformance will encourage a greater attention to curriculum and academic performance forspecial education children. As Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen conclude, thereare "enormous incentives for dumping low-achieving children into special education and thenproviding services that produce minimal academic benefit." Special education studentswhose level of disability makes testing inappropriate are exempted. But most specialeducation students are tested, though some are allowed testing modifications, such as moretime. Currently, school principals have little control over the administration and instructionof segregated special education programs within their buildings. EPP makes thisrecommendation for the inclusion of special education test results in overall schoolperformance measurements under the assumption that principals would also be given moredirect oversight over the instructional programs for special education students in theirschools. Some care, however, must be taken in accurately identifying the students' schools.Schools that are overcrowded tend to send students to segregated placements in otherschools. Schools that are underutilized tend to accept special education students from otherschools. Since the Board of Education has been able to account for students at schoolannexes, the variety of locations of special education programs should not prove aninsurmountable problem so long as students referred to segregated placements outside thebuilding still remain identified as students of the originating school. Since we assume that,in most cases, the inclusion of special education test scores will lower a school'smeasurement of performance, the proper identification of a student's "home" school will notprovide some schools with no special education classes an unfair advantage.

5. Provide more training to all school staff, parent groups, and policy-making bodies on understanding school and student performance statistics.Principals and planning committee members whom we interviewed for this study readilyadmitted that they had not utilized information they had received on students' testing results.Some even confessed that they had not understood them. With technical assistance from theState Education Department and the central Board of Education staff, principals, teachers,and other planning team members discovered a powerful tool for analyzing what worked andwhat students needed the most help. Parent groups also need to develop a betterunderstanding of performance statistics if they are to play a meaningful role in schoolplanning teams and the evaluation of the performance of principals and teachers. Similarly,policy makers need to have a full understanding of standards and norms of school andstudent performance if they are to provide meaningful oversight.



From the 19th century on, there were complaints about standardized, lock-stepcurricula in public schools. By the end of the 1970's, considerable initiative was given tocommunity schools districts, principals, and teachers in crafting what and how studentsshould learn at each grade level. Reflecting this new flexibility, the central Board ofEducation issued "guidelines" for curricula for each grade and each subject and communityschool districts fashioned "standards." In the 1991 collective bargaining agreement betweenthe Board of Education and the United Federation of Teachers, under the concept of teacher"professionalism," principals could no longer compel a teacher to submit lessons plans forreview. But by 1994, both the State Education Commissioner and the City Chancellor beganto earnestly deal with the emerging reality that district and school staff had only arudimentary understanding of curricula and its alignment across and between grades andwithin subject matter. Teacher training institutions were also, apparently, not providing theirstudents with knowledge of curricula. However, even these improvements in college-leveleducation department course offerings may not help. Many newly-hired teachers in high-poverty schools are only given a temporary license, because they have not taken the requisitenumber of education courses in college. These problems were exacerbated by the first Boardof Education early retirement program instituted to lower the overall payroll costs in 1991,when large numbers of experienced professionals left. By 1994, EPP found that one out ofevery four principals and one out of every six teachers had less than five years experience inthe New York City public school system.

The lack of focused curricula seems to be especially true in special educationprograms for more moderately disabled students and for schools in low-incomeneighborhoods. Because of the expanding education system and because of the growth inimmigrant populations, more numerous job openings for principals and teachers occurred inthese programs and in low-income, high-immigrant neighborhoods. Thus, in New YorkCity public schools the least experienced teachers serve students with the greatest academicneeds. Faced with challenges that even experienced teachers would find difficult, thesenewteachers frequently quit in frustration or remain in these school only until they are able totransfer out to other schools in 5 years. The result is that schools in low-incomeneighborhoods tend to have the highest staff turn-over rate in the state, further de-stabilizingthe academic environment of these children.

The great irony is that standards for experience, expertise and skills of administratorsand teachers in schools serving high-poverty communities and special education programsshould be higher than the norm. Board of Education, high school, and community schooldistrict staff training on curriculum alignment, supervision skills, teacher peer evaluationtechniques, college and university teacher and principal training assignments, and linkagesand partnerships should be targeted to schools serving the lowest-income communities.Instead, in at least two community school districts, but still prevalent in other districts,efforts are made to compensate schools with lower poverty levels (though far higher than thestate average) with grants or special programs because these schools do not get additionalfederal Title I funds. The fear that additional resources and programs will be squandered bystaff in low-performing schools also may be a factor. This only reinforces the need toensure that schools serving low-income communities have highly capable administrators andteachers who can utilize the additional half a million to two million dollars in extra state andfederal funds in ways that maximize student learning.



6. Strengthen curricula in all schools and align it across grades and withinsubject matter. While curriculum frameworks as well as voluminous guidelines andstandards exist, the extent of their implementation at the classroom level in all schools is anopen question. For institutions of higher learning where a majority of graduates will beteaching in New York City schools, there should be required courses on the curriculumframeworks and standards adopted by the Board of Education. More instructional structureshould be encouraged at the school level through sustained training of principals in curriculaand alignment and district briefings for new teachers. At a minimum, curriculum standardsand materials must be communicated to all teachers. Any infusion of textbook funds must beaccompanied by a requirement that grades and courses must be aligned. In addition, sincetextbook sales staff play a more direct and important role in consulting with principals andsuperintendents in creating curriculum and alignment than is generally recognized, the Boardof Education should brief area sales staff more thoroughly on curriculum frameworks andstandards of performance. The State Education Department and the Board of Educationshould continue to explore the possibility of changing standardized tests in all grades fromthose that measure comprehension to those that require mastery of subject matter and higher-level problem solving skills.

7. Strengthen teacher training and performance in all schools. Better trainingof teachers and better supervision of instruction should be encouraged. SED and BOE mustsecure the commitment of universities and colleges to expand classroom experience byrequiring student teaching in the first year of choosing to major in education and to placestudent teachers in SURR schools. The 1991 collective bargaining agreement that teachersno longer have to submit lesson plans for review by principals should be repealed. The peerreview program, where teachers are trained on how to evaluate other teachers in theirschools, should be funded as a pilot program in a given number of SURR schools.$108,000 for planning grants of $2,000 was allocated to schools in community schooldistricts during the 1995-96 school year for peer review. Ironically, none of the districtswith a high number of SURR schools applied for these funds. School teams, made up ofprincipals, teachers and parents should be allowed to hire instructional staff with safeguardsthat openings have been widely announced and that the most qualified staffare hired.

8. Better oversight of principals' performance. The common practice of grantingtenure to principals where less than a third of students are performing at grade level issurprising and disheartening. It also tends to reflect very low expectations for low-incomestudents by district school officials, since to EPP's knowledge virtually all schools that fallbelow these performance levels serve this demographic population. Irrespective of anychange in education law or union agreement, superintendents must begin to developobjective standards for adequate principal performance. Unfortunately, even parents with asophisticated understanding of student performance measures and state standards cannotdecipher from the school report card the percentage of students at or above grade level intheir child's school. For this reason, recommendations #3 and #4 need to be implemented,so that parents can better assess the performance of principals.

9. Introduce more high quality, school-based art, music, journalism, andliterature programs in schools. Unfortunately, some of the collaborations betweenarts organizations and public schools expose only a few students to the benefits ofprofessional expertise in these areas and are funded only on a short-term basis. The result ofthis type of linkage is that the arts programs become high profile, "add-on's" to schools thatare largely devoid of art and extracurricular activities. In contrast, most of the schools thatwe studied for this report had a strong arts program that was infused throughout theinstructional program and that included most students in the school. What is particularly sadin many low-performing schools is the absence of even minimal levels of fun activities forstudents.



10. Require school staff to provide a "student-centered" and "parent-friendly" environment. This is a particular need in schools serving low-incomeneighborhoods, where too often both students and their parents are perceived by school staffas passive recipients of services. Unlike schools serving middle-class communities, wheresome element of fun for children and communication with parents is the norm, many schoolsserving high-poverty and high-immigrant communities tend to be joyless institutions with astress on discipline and isolated from the surrounding community. Since there are a varietyof programs and even differing concepts of parental involvement, school staff members needto be given a wide variety of strategies they can adopt.

11. Strengthen bilingual and ESL programs. Failure to serve LEP populationswas cited in EPP's 1988 report on the state's school improvement program. Eight yearslater, among most of the schools that were removed from the SURR list, this group ofstudents did not experience the benefits of school improvement or show progress in attaininghigher achievement levels. More funds from federal and state bilingual grants and otherfunding sources should be provided directly to schools for them to develop more effectiveprograms, since virtually the entire growth in the city's school population has come fromrecent immigration. Since students' difficulties in acquiring the English language accountsfor some of the achievement gap between students in the city and the rest of the state, EPPdoes not understand why so few dollars have been invested in experimenting with a varietyof instructional strategies to ensure that LEP students gain a mastery of academic subjects inEnglish and, as a matter of parental choice, in their native language. Surprisingly, EPPfound that a high proportion of funds from state bilingual grants coming to New York City,which were threatened for elimination by the Governor, were used to provide generic staffdevelopment or to facilitate the administration of testing with very little funds left over toallow schools to develop model bilingual or ESL programs. As we have recommended inthe past, bilingual monitoring itself must go beyond issues of administrative compliance andfocus on effectiveness, regardless of what strategy is used for English-language attainment.

12. Create more collaborations between schools and outside institutions,corporations, community-based organizations, and foundations.A large number of such collaborations tend to be in Manhattan, with schools serving the"outer boroughs" left with few partnerships with volunteer organizations and corporations.Colleges and universities with programs to prepare teachers and principals have fewerlinkages to schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, though ironically, their graduates aremore likely to be employed in these settings because of the high staff turnover. Schoolbuses, a certain number now utilized at no extra cost for school field trips, could be used tofacilitate the transportation of volunteers to and from schools.


We believe that the SURR program and any program by the New York City Board ofEducation to identify low-performing schools should not be an exercise in public shaming,but should be a data-driven monitoring program to ensure that children from low-incomecommunities are receiving an instructional program that brings them up to state norms ofacademic achievement. Current discussion of public education issues are replete with callsfor "accountability." But strategies for creating genuine accountability require realconsequences for individuals for poor instructional performance. The main value inidentifying academic failure is the hope that it is the beginning point of developing strategiesfor success, and the corollary to this is that the academic success of students should have apositive consequence for the careers of individuals.

A results-oriented system, the goal of much corporate sector, rethinking andrestructuring, seems to be more difficult to implement in public school systems beyond the


level of rhetoric. Urban school systems, in particular, have been characterized as far back asthe 19th century as a major source of jobs and contracts, with educational performancerelegated to a secondary consideration. 100 years later, this still seems to be the politicalenvironment within which the New York City Board of Education functions at the city andstate levels. A results-oriented approach to education threatens vested interests. In light ofthis, the State Education Department must be credited with pursuing an effort to curtailunacceptably low student achievement rates in New York City under three Commissioners inthe face of varying levels of cooperation by the Board of Education, unions, and the statelegislature.

The most significant danger to school improvement comes from behind-the-scenesefforts to save the jobs of staff of low-performing schools. It has been long rumored thatprincipals in some districts are appointed as the result of bribes. Special Commissioner ofInvestigation for the NYC School District, Edward Stancik, has verified that these rumorshave some foundation in fact by tape recording bribery offers to willing community schoolboard members. Further complicating matters, unions have sought job protection rights fortheir members, even those characterized as poor instructors. Currently, there is anagreement with the United Federation of Teachers that 50% of the teaching staff will remainin a "redesigned" school under the newly created "Chancellor's District" and 66% of theteaching staff will remain in a "redesigned" school remaining in a community school district.The end result of these agreements in a few years may be that "closure" or "redesign" willlargely amount to a fictitious event, with much of the staff remaining in place but"reorganized." The clock will then be allowed to start for another three years, andunacceptably low student academic achievement levels will continue to be tolerated.

The larger context for EPP's stress on the full implementation of sanctions is that webelieve that they must be equally balanced by programs that reward high-performing schoolsand their employees in low-income, high-immigrant neighborhoods. The issue of rewardsalso presents an array of political problems. Too often, in the past, Board of Educationofficials have sought to create inducements to attract teachers to work in high-povertyschools, irrespective of the school's performance, such as providing extra preparationperiods for teachers and floating ideas such as building parking lots adjacent to the school.These rewards, however, tend to send an unfortunate message that inducements are neededto teach in certain neighborhoods. Another problem is that rewards were not linked toperformance because that union officials have been as fearful of unfair administrativefavoritism of selective teachers as they have been about harassment.

Chancellor Crew's efforts in May 1996 to publicize forty-seven elementary schoolswith poverty rates above 90% where more than half the students are at or above grade levelin either math or reading is a promising beginning of linking recognition with performance inlow-income neighborhoods. Furthermore, the reports give credit to a whole school effort.State grants of $5,000 to SURR schools that have improved are also a good beginning. Butmore should be done to recognize and positively reinforce administrators, teachers, and otherschool staff that have raised the academic performance of their low-income students abovethe norm for city schools.

13. Work with the unions that represent principals and teachers to createincentives and rewards for professionals serving high-poverty communitieswho succeed in bringing their students up to state standards. Since manychildren from low-income communities, some of whom do not speak English, come toschool with greater academic needs, administrators, teachers and planning team memberswho create an instructional program in their schools that bring these children up to statenorms should be recognized as "master" principals, "master" teachers and "model" planningteams. Rather than selectively identifying only a few outstanding individuals as a "master"

in any given school, administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals who assist them shouldbe eligible for a school-wide reward if students in a school serving high-povertyneighborhoods meet state standards for academic achievement. The Board of Educationshould develop strategies with teacher and principal collective bargaining units on how tocreate meaningful incentives and rewards, but only if the school-wide effort by theseprofessionals succeed.

14. Total reorganization or closure of schools must remain an ultimatesanction and it must be utilized within a set time period. Given theovercrowding in some New York City school districts, all school buildings available must beused. By closure, we mean that a new school staff is organized to utilize the building thatused to house the SURR school. Changes in state regulations have now made the SURRprocess clearer. Local school districts are now responsible for school improvement effortsfrom the beginning of the process and there is a clearer three-year time line for appropriateactions. EPP supports these changes with the understanding that failure to improve will leadto school redesign or closure, not yet another lengthy attempt at rescue during whichstudents continue to fall behind academically. Sixteen schools placed on the SURR list in1989 have remained low-performing for five years. SED has now required the New YorkCity school district to take "corrective action." Initially, the Chancellor stated that theschools would all be reorganized, but subsequent public statements clarified that in many ofthese schools only the principal was replaced, while others were being "redesigned" withmuch of the current school staff essentially in place. Our concern is that "redesigns" ofschools could become even more modest in the future, thus negating the effectiveness of thissanction.

EPP believes, on the basis of the findings of this study, that the ultimate sanction ofredesign or closure of schools has made the SURR program more effective than itspredecessor, especially in encouraging the creation of effective planning teams and thewillingness of staff to try new methods of instruction. Many of these schools have seen arapid turnover of principals, so the removal of yet another principal provides insufficientmotivation for some staff members to work collectively to turn around their school. Thethorny question is whether staff members who were performing at lower levels than theircolleagues should be able to remain in a "redesigned" school. EPP believes theseindividuals' employment rights should be protected, but that "employment rights" should notcarry more weight than the urgent need to create a new educational environment for students.

In addition, the academic improvement of students in the schools we visited camefrom a "whole school approach." We were told by various members of school planningteams that before their school was placed on the SURR list, capable teachers remainedisolated in their classrooms trying to do the best they could with the children in theirclassroom, but with little knowledge of the textbooks and curriculum in other classrooms.With the threat of school closure, they developed the leadership skills to work towardscollective action and the improvement of the entire instructional program. The new stateSURR regulations create a limit of three full academic years before the sanction of correctiveaction is invoked. This is a sufficient enough time period within which well-intentionedteachers can work with their principals to create effective planning teams so that the school isnot redesigned. The NYC Schools Chancellor, however, has entered into agreements withthe United Federation of Teachers allowing 50% of the staff to remain in the "redesigned"school in the newly created "Chancellor's district" and allowing 66% to remain in a"redesigned school" in a community school district. If the sanction of iob loss is onlyselectively invoked, so that higher performing teachers have a good chance to remain, theseteachers may simply wait out the three years rather than work towards emergency, collectiveaction.

15. The State Education Department and the Board of Education, jointly orseparately, must be empowered to intercede in districts with high numbers o fSURR schools. Should community school districts remain part of the governancestructure of the New York City public school system or be replaced by another subunit of theNew York City public school district, they should be held responsible for low-performingschools within their jurisdictions. In the 1995-96 school year, Community School District119 in the Bronx had thirteen SURR schools, Community School District #10 in the Bronxhad nine, Community School District #7 in the Bronx had seven, and Community SchoolDistrict #8 in the Bronx and #5 in Manhattan were tied with six SURR schools each. So far,the courts have issued different rulings as to whether the Chancellor can take actions toensure instructional effectiveness by community school districts. Possibly, legislation isneeded to explicitly give the State Education Department and the New York City Board ofEducation the authority to act decisively to end poor instructional environments for children.

16. Large numbers of schools must not be identified for corrective action allat one time. Instead, SED and BOE should continue to identify a moremanageable number so that the identification of low-performing school leadsto instructional improvement or the total reorganization of schools whereperformance has not improved significantly. The first efforts of SED in 1985consisted largely of public disclosure and "shaming." With 393 New York City schools outof 504 schools identified as low-performing, the state's school improvement staff wasspread too thinly to make much of an impact. Its 1989 SURR effort identified fewer schoolsand was more successful in actually raising the performance in 29% of them after schoolshad been in the program for at least two years. Under Commissioner Mills, however, theSURR program has been changed once again, with no specified limit as to how manyschools will be designated but with an unambiguous three-year time limit for improvementbefore corrective action must be taken. Unofficially, we have been told that plans are thatupwards of 40 to 80 schools a year will be cited by the state for low-performance. Given thenew arrangement whereby the local school districts are to provide sustained technicalassistance, their continued involvement is presenting data to keep some schools off "the list,"and the districts' continued monitoring of progress or lack of progress of schools "on thelist," local districts will soon find themselves stretched thin.

The identification of even 40 schools per year may place too large an administrativeand monitoring burden on the New York City school district given the shorter time periodfor corrective action. In a mere three years, the Board of Education staff could findthemselves working with upwards of 200 to 300 schools through the various processes ofdefending various schools from inclusion on the SURR list, providing technical assistance toschools currently on "the list," and "redesigning" corrective action schools and monitoringthe progress of schools that have already been "redesigned." If these efforts are spread toothinly over hundreds of schools, effectiveness will be lost. Chancellor Crew, in his budgetrequest to the Mayor and the City Council for the 1996-97 school year, asked for $6.65million to build the capacity of field-based teams to work with 124 low-performing schoolsand to improve assessment of student achievement. No city funds were provided for thesenew functions, though there are additional state funds that could be used for these purposes.Given limited staff and limited funds to provide sustained technical assistance and oversightto anywhere from 116 schools to 124 schools in the 1996-97 school year, the new stateSURR program may already have placed the New York City school district at some risk ofover extending its ability to provide meaningful assistance to low-performing schools andschools that have been "redesigned."



17. Successful programs must have sustained funding through both publicand private sources. BOE needs to provide more assistance to principals, especiallythose in the boroughs outside of Manhattan and those serving low-income, high-immigrantcommunities, in identifying private sources of funding. Legislature should further increaseExtraordinary Needs Aid funds so that successful after-school, Saturday programs, andguidance counseling services can be sustained. The funding community needs to recognizethat continuing foundation support for effective programs can be as important to theirmission as developing initial pilot projects.

18. The Board of Education and the State Education Department mustmonitor schools' and districts' use of Title I and PCEN funds forinstructional effectiveness. Both the state and the city should continue to explore waysin which schools and districts where students make limited academic progress, despiteinfusions of Title I and PCEN funds, can be identified. Strategies should be developed toencourage these districts and schools to direct a greater proportion of funds into teachingpositions and to improve the quality of instructional and remedial programs. State and cityeducation officials could also require schools and districts to adopt a prescriptive program toimprove low student achievement, with the threat of withholding funds. At a minimum,both the State Education Department and the central Board of Education must stop thepractice of redirecting state PCEN funds from Title I schools to other schools to"compensate" them for not being eligible for Title I funds.

II. CASE STUDIESSince all of the schools we visited were at one time on the SURR list, and of these a

majority had been on earlier lists of city and state low-performing schools, the staff weremore experienced than most in presenting "a public face." In other words, they knew how toconduct tours for outside groups of monitors, field intrusive interview questions, and tell the"story" of their school. The questionnaire guide was partially constructed with this in mind,requiring those interviewed to repeat the "story" several times in response to differentquestions. Nevertheless, in most cases the discrepancies in the interviews were notsignificant, though some of the reoccurring contradictions were and are discussed in the firstsection. As stated earlier, many of the principals interviewed were familiar with RonaldEdmonds' writings on effective schools, which has helped to shape the perceptions of manyeducators in New York City for the last twenty years, and he was cited with somefrequency. Undoubtedly, his concepts have influenced the "story" as well as the questionswe asked.

On-site school visits and interviews can provide, at best, only a "snapshot" of theopinions of school staff at one point in time. Schools continue to change and to experienceimprovements in student achievement levels as well as decreases. With the exception ofthose members with years of experience as principals and teachers, one of the unexaminedpreconceptions of the many of the EPP Monitoring Committee members before the start ofthe study was that these schools, if their performance truly had improved, would begin asustained and unbroken upward trajectory towards higher and ever higher levels of studentachievement. The principals and school planning team members that were intervieweddisabused us of this pat notion of evolutionary development. School improvement remainsan "up and down," "two steps forward, three steps back" experience for both administratorsand staff. And most sobering of all, there is no magic threshold through which the schoolstaff, students, and parents emerge after which they can coast along. School improvementcontinues to take extra effort. From all our interviews, we learned that even when it gets"easier," it doesn't get "easy."

Schools and staff were promised that their identities would be kept confidential.Rather than create fictitious names for them in this report, schools are designated by anapproximation of the number of students they serve and individuals are identified by theirfunction. Of the ten schools, eight are located in very high-poverty areas and two are inwhat could be considered working class neighborhoods with poverty rates that are still high.Poverty rates cited at the beginning of each school description are from the 1994-1995school year as reported by the Board of Education's budget office in memo BOR #1, August1996, Table G:5. The percentage of elementary and middle school students scoring belowstate academic standards (bottom quartile of scores on standardized tests) in reading andmath after improvement that are cited at the end of each case study are from the Board ofEducation's "1994-95 Annual School Report." Comparisons between the school's and thedistrict's percentages of students falling below the Board of Education's standards (bottom25% on the DRP reading test or bottom 15% on the CAT math test) come from BOR #1,August 1996, Table H:4, with percentages rounded to the nearest percent. High schoolachievement data comes from the State Education Department for the 1993-94 school year.The summary of measures showing improvement are from Table 4-B in the Appendix. Allschools serve mostly African-American and Latino students, some of them from families thathave recently come to the United States. The data on the percentage of students that havelimited English Proficiency (LEP) come from the "1994-95 Annual School Reports."

One last note is the description of the physical rehabilitation of some schools mayinadvertently give the impression that most low-performing schools had been in a state of


disrepair when placed on the SURR list. Where no mention is made is of repairs, (seven outof ten schools) it is because the building conditions did not pose a significant problem. Intwo of the ten schools there had been or continues to be a problem of overcrowding. Themajority of the schools we visited, however, were far below capacity before the turn aroundbecause 1) parents were choosing other schools (many having to manufacture otheraddresses to do so) or 2) the neighborhood had lost population in a transition from being astable working class neighborhood to an unstable concentration of poor people living amongmany abandoned apartment buildings.

The Elementary SchoolsP.S. 400 Placed on list 1989 to 1992

Student Poverty Rate: 75%Students with limited English: 4%Improved in 7 out of 9 Measures

When the new principal entered the school in February 1990, less than a third of thestudents could read at grade level. He saw the lunchroom in chaos and bathrooms andbulletin boards destroyed by vandalism and graffiti. The teachers ran the building becausethere was no leadership coming out of the main office. Classrooms were groupedhom*ogeneously, with each grade containing "a top" class and "a bottom" class. The teacherassigned to the "bottom" had to deal with all the students with discipline problems. The newprincipal realized that "the children who entered the school on the bottom remained on thebottom throughout their stay at P.S. 400."

In an on-site interview with the principal and a phone interview with a kindergartenteacher, we were told that the school improvement program focused on reading and mathinstruction and encouraging parent involvement. The principal found that there was notextbook continuity. The teachers had been individually choosing the curricula they likedbest. As a result, first graders in one class would be taught from a basal reader and thenmove on to a second grade class that used a literature-based reading program. In the thirdgrade they would be back to the basal approach. The principal outfitted the school with oneset of textbooks, a basal reading series, for four years, but in the fifth year the entire teachingstaff adopted a literature-based textbook series. District and state education staff werebrought in to provide staff development for the teachers. The kindergarten teacher remarked,"We did a lot of curriculum and standards work. We followed our state and districtmandates and coordinated learning experiences throughout the school."

"Learning to Read through the Arts," a special program for students testing in thelower quartile, was very enthusiastically received because the staff could see that it madelearning fun. (The program is no longer funded.) Yet of all schools visited by the EPPMonitoring Committee, P.S. 400 had some of the most extraordinary art work inclassrooms. One classroom's walls were completely covered by large green leaves made outof construction paper so that the effect was like walking into a green hut. The principal alsoinstituted "Peer Tutoring" that paired high-achieving students with low-achieving students, aprogram that the teachers have found improves the academic performance of both students.Now that the classrooms are heterogeneously grouped, many of the school's disciplinaryproblems have ended.

A School Improvement Team was formed, which included some parents and manymembers of the staff, such as aides, the custodian, the school secretary, and, of course,teachers. Even though the committee was very large, every staff member at the school gotnotes about every meeting. This team was critical to the school's turning around. The


kindergarten teacher stated, "It was very important that we wrote down our missionstatement and goals that they were in writing so everyone in the school could readthem...We were after major changes involving the parents and the community. We got lotsand lots of support. Another thing that happened, that changed, was that all the teachersbegan talking with each other about our ideas about changes that could be implemented."The principal also instituted monthly testing of students through CIMS (ComprehensiveInstructional Management System), which is a computer driven program that allowsindividual schools to use their computers to create and mark their own tailor-made tests.CIMS enabled the teachers and the principal to see how well the students had masteredparticular skills and to identify those students who needed help. But it also gave teachersand the principal feedback on how well teachers were communicating their lesson plans.Several of them, as a result, changed lesson plans they had been using for years. Theprincipal, as he got to know teachers, tried to match teachers to the grade-level which suitedtheir personalities.

From the principal's point of view, "parent's should be insiders on what's goingon." Parent involvement was part of the mission statement . "The staff learned that it wasnecessary to aggressively encourage parental involvement," said the kindergarten teacher.Workshops were sponsored to keep parents informed and to increase their involvement. Thecustodian's participation on the planning team influenced him, so teachers went ahead withhis agreement and organized painting parties. The dark and gloomy halls and classroomswere made light and airy, so that everyone could see the change. Rugs, which were donatedby the parents' association, were put on the floor in the kindergarten rooms, which turnedout to be a very important morale booster because it made the classes more fun for theteachers and students.

But the kindergarten teacher cautioned that of all the improvements, parentinvolvement was the most constant task because of the high rate of mobility in theneighborhood (one fourth of the student body leaves the school each year because theirfamilies relocate). Parents that have become active leave in a year or two and a whole newset of parents have to be brought into the school through events and workshops. Theprincipal also expressed frustration that so many of the new children coming into the schoolhad to be brought up to the academic standards that he expected of P.S. 400's students, "Thechallenge is continuous, it just doesn't end. If we don't all work very hard we could get onthe SURR list again." In 1995, 13.3% of third grade students and 33.3% of sixth gradestudents tested in the bottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. Onthe PEP Mathematics standardized test, 3.3% of third graders and 20.0% of sixth graderstested in the bottom quartile of test takers. While 33% of students in the community schooldistrict in grades three to nine test below the Board of Education's standards, 35% of thestudents in this school test below this standard.

P.S. 450Placed on list 1989 to 1993Student Poverty Rate: 95%Students with limited English: 39%Improved in 9 out of 13 Measures

P.S. 450 was started in the late 1960's as a special magnet school for Spanish-speaking children from elementary through to the eighth grade. When the EPP MonitoringCommittee toured the school, we could see that the building was a converted warehouse.There is only one separating wall cutting through each floor, so most classrooms areorganized by the placement of furniture as barriers between each class. Each grade level isdivided into two classes, English only and English-Spanish. Had the classes not been

485 8

orderly, the noise would have been disorienting. The principal' was selected in 1992 in abattle so heated there was a fist fight. He had been a member of the school's original staff in1969, but had left P.S. 450 in 1981. This was one of the four schools visited where theinterviewees did not describe a demographic shift in the community that resulted in a changein student characteristics and placement on the SURR list. Both the principal and the staffperson interviewed believed that the school had been placed on the SURR list and remains atrisk of returning to the SURR list because so many of the students are not English speaking.The problem of low academic achievement in English by non-English speaking children hasbecome even more serious. The UFT Chapter Chairperson stated that since the school hadbeen removed from SURR list, they are beginning to get Spanish speaking students who donot know how to read in Spanish, a new and additional challenge for the school staff.

In his first year as principal, reading scores rose by 15 points. The principal changedthe curriculum so that more student time was devoted to learning reading, writing, wholelanguage, and math. He eliminated the Spanish enrichment program as well as othercourses. The fourth floor is devoted to computer instruction labs, an important support toclassroom instruction. The rapid improvement in academic achievement of students is alsocredited to three other factors: 1) There were significant changes in the faculty. Teacherswho felt that they were not doing their jobs left voluntarily, while other had to be"persuaded" to go. Their replacements, while some still do not hold permanent teachingcertificates, have been enthusiastic and good instructors. 2) The principal and the stafffocused on the mission of the school. The enthusiasm of the school planning team helpedthe turnaround of P.S. 450. 3) A good working relationships between the principal, thefaculty and students developed. Staff development workshops are held every Wednesday,but they are not mandatory. While there are no regularly scheduled staff meetings, lunchtimes are arranged so that teachers at the same class level can talk.

The school has a "museum" with changing exhibits. While we were there, it was awall of fish tanks with brightly colored tropical fish. The children who were ushered inwere clearly enthralled. A music program developed through a partnership with a privatecompany is an important part of the school and an important morale booster for the principal,teachers and students. Another important focus in the school is sports, both in fieldingmiddle school teams and sports reporting features in the school's newsletter, published byeighth grade students. But student poems, in both English and Spanish, are also featuredprominently in the newsletter. There is a strong parents' association that works with thestaff in all areas of curriculum, and several volunteer during the day in the school, which ishow the library is staffed. The school receives various grants and has a working relationshipwith a university. In 1995, 37.0% of third grade students and 12.0% of sixth grade studentstested in the bottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. On the PEPMathematics standardized test, 3.0% of third graders and 15.2% of sixth graders tested inthe bottom quartile of test takers. While 58% of students in the community school district ingrades three to nine test below the Board of Education's standards, 52% of the students inthis school test below this standard.

P.S. 500 Placed on list 1989 to 1993Student Poverty Rate: 95 %Students with limited English: 9%Improved in 5 out. of 6 Measures

When the school was built in 1967, the population in the area was so large that therewere two annexes. But during the late 1970's and early 1980's, African-American workingclass families began to leave the neighborhood, and abandoned buildings became common.P.S. 500's student population and those of another school dropped to such an extent that the

two schools were combined into one. By 1988, this school was ranked 617 out of 619elementary schools in New York City on the basis of student scores on standardized readingtests. When the new principal walked into the school, she saw "an overwhelmingly dismalphysical and social environment." In a joint interview with the principal, the parentassociation president, and 7 teachers, they listed the major problems of P.S. 500 when itwas placed on the SURR list: 1) a "deteriorated" educational program with no reading ormath programs; 2) a building in a state of physical disrepair; 3) a non functioning library; 4)an "exceptionally" negative parent group; and 5) very poorly controlled children. Some ofthe classrooms did not have doors. When the principal walked into the library, it wascovered with cobwebs and the books were very outdated. Anything put on the bulletinboards in the halls was quickly defaced, torn down, or destroyed. Children frequently lefttheir classrooms. Security was so bad that people off the streets could be found wanderinginside the halls, and there was theft of food supplies. The conflict between some parents andteachers reached such a crisis point that staff members became a target for harassment whenthey left the school building.

At the time that the new principal was appointed, 13 out of 27 teachers on staffsought employment elsewhere. When the principal did a review of the textbooks andworkbooks that the teaching staff had been using, she found that it was a mix of differentinstructional approaches and in some cases, no discernible approach at all. The strategy ofthe principal to get P.S. 500 off the SURR list was to 1) improve the physical environment,2) create a cohesive instructional program, and 3) create a vision for P.S. 500 staff, childrenand parents.

Just getting the school clean and in a state of good repair was such a task that theschool went through 3 custodians in one year. The cleaning, painting, and opening of thelibrary was a major event to all whom we interviewed. A bank helped to reconstruct theplayground. At the time of our visit, P.S. 500 was clean, nicely painted, and, most strikingof all, the school's halls and classrooms were gaily decorated with beautiful student artworkand projects. Keeping the school clean still remains a strong focus, and the improvements inthe physical environment has been important in building student and staff morale.

In order to improve the instructional program, teachers began by meeting at leastonce a week to discuss what changes should be made. For the first time, teachers beganevaluating the instructional program offered by P.S. 500 and "we began to say what weneeded." The first order of business was. to choose a set of textbooks and workbooks forthe staff that reflected a consistent instructional strategy. For the reading program, the staffchose a basal series that stressed phonetics. But after a while they found that it didn't workfor their school, and the instructional program was changed to one that combined bothcommunication arts and math. Unsatisfied with the results of this new curriculum approach,the staff choose a literature-based program in which children read whole stories at a time,rather than fragments of basal readers. This third approach did not improve their studentstest scores or the school's ranking at first, but they kept with this "whole language" approachbecause the teachers felt strongly that the children were genuinely learning and thateventually their scores would improve. Training teachers in this new method was veryimportant, and they met twice a month for 2 hours at a time. The principal and the teachersat the interview stated that, in retrospect, the instructional staff could not have gone from anincoherent curriculum to "whole language" all at once. The basal approach gave the teachingstaff their first experience in developing a unified structure, which was a critical evolutionaryfirst step. By the time they adopted a literature-based approach, they had several years ofexperience in group planning and analysis. Some of the unlicensed teachers hired in the firstyear of the .principal's appointment proved to be among the leaders in strengthening theacademic program.

Math improvement is credited to staff training by a college that challenged theteachers to "really think hard" about the way their students learned. Other improvementscame about through a retreat that resulted in the formation of six committees (math,communication arts, social studies, parents, discipline, and science). Remediation forstudents who were not progressing academically was changed from a "pull-out" model,where students were taken out of a classroom for small group work, to a "push-in" model,where another teacher would come into the classroom to work with the teacher. At the timethat EPP visited the school, the principal had programs in conjunction with three universitiesand three colleges and had secured numerous grants, some of them through a nation-widecompetition.

While those interviewed felt that group planning, scheduling, changing thecurriculum and method of instruction, and technical support/staff development were allcrucial in helping the school move forward, they stated that the key was really the vision ofthe principal. However, it was also added that the principal must be able to articulate thisvision and to get the staff to see it and believe in it. If the principal does .not have staffsupport, the changes cannot take place. The group also felt that constant re-evaluation hassustained the academic growth at P.S. 500. But the principal cautioned that she has learnedthat academic improvement really means a "series of peaks and valleys it's not a straightline going upwards, upwards like I thought."

The school has established a "Student of the Week" program to build a sense ofempowerment. The parent association president came in every day to work as a volunteer.While the principal stated that parents were more involved in the school, she was notcompletely satisfied. P.S. 500 sponsors a Parent Breakfast, makes a special outreach tograndparents, has special workshops, such as one on asthma (a serious health problem in theschool), and includes parents in outings to theater and music programs. We were told thatone of the most positive differences from the past was that now the people hanging aroundthe outside of the building (there is high unemployment in the area) seem to watch out for theschool and staff and will run in to tell them if there is a suspicious stranger lurking about.P.S. 500 is now, they believe, a "community in the community." In 1995, 38.5% of thirdgrade students tested in the bottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardizedtest. On the PEP Mathematics standardized test, 23.5% of third graders tested in the bottomquartile of test takers. While 43% of students in the community school district in gradesthree to nine test below the Board of Education's standards, 61% of the students in thisschool test below this standard.

P.S. 560 Placed on list 1989 to 1991Student Poverty Rate: 100%Students with limited English: 24%Improved in 6 out of 8 Measures

When the new principal came to the school in 1988, the data showed that 85% of thestudents were reading on or above grade level. Yet, in the first standardized testing cycle thestudents' scores dropped so dramatically that they indicated that something had been amissabout how the standardized tests were administered in the past. The testing cycles thatfollowed confirmed that the real academic situation was that most students were achievingbelow grade level. But these more accurate results placed the school on the SURR list, evenas the school was beginning to turn around. P.S. 560, which serves a mix of African-American and Hispanic students, was also "physically disgusting," in the words of theprincipal. In order to show staff that she was trying to improve their work environment, sheset about to have the school plastered and painted.

It took the principal, she stated, about two years to "really figure out" what wasbeing taught in the classroom. The instructional methods of the teachers were diverse andtraditional, with every teacher using a different reader. In the two kindergarten classes, oneteacher had a developmental approach, but the other one, teaching the bilingual class, didnot. "But nothing we have done in this school has followed the normal course ofdevelopment," said the principal. Instead of changing the reading materials from basal towhole language beginning at the kindergarten level, she began at the fifth grade, because itwas the fifth grade teachers who volunteered to be the first group to try out this new methodof teaching reading. When they reported that it was a much more interesting way of teachingand that their students were being helped with this new approach, other grades converted tothe whole language approach. At this stage, the curriculum of the school is aligned. Thereare not three different types of educational programs in this school, there is one. Specialeducation students are taught using this program, even though its modified to meet theirneeds.

Another important factor in the school was the "weeding out" of the staff. Theprincipal quoted a colleague who placed teachers in four categories: 1) the willing and theable; 2) the unwilling and the able; 3) the willing and the unable; and 4) the unwilling and theunable. She said that the latter two categories of teachers at P.S. 560 were asked to re-evaluate their teaching careers. About ten percent of the staff left in the first year, but the"weeding out" process has continued every year along with recruiting of new teachers. Thereplacements have stayed and, since the SURR designation, the staffing has been stable.Both the principal and the staff developer, who was also interviewed, stated that theenthusiasm of the staff on the planning committee and their commitment to get off the SURRlist were major factors in the school turnaround. In the past, the teachers spent most of theirday within their classrooms, and, after the school day, they went directly home. Nowteachers are asking for more help, and the biggest change, is that there is "more talking."The teachers talk with each other. And now that there is a less "authoritarian" atmosphere,the students are more open and less on guard because more of them feel that their teachersare there to help them.

Now, more than half of the school is learning on or above grade level because of thehard work of the principal and the staff. There are a multitude of federal, state, and districtgrants to the school along with college and university linkages due to the entrepreneurialefforts by the principal. Continual staff development and on-site technical assistance takesplace at P.S. 560. There is a Library Power Program, after-school and summer schoolprograms, a greenhouse attached to the school for science projects, a little instrumental band,and a choral "initiative" that brings in a choral director once a week. The stress is on"multiple intelligences" to develop and work with the strengths of each student. Ten percentof the student body lives at the shelter across the street, and even when the family getspermanent housing, most of them manage to keep on attending the school. Efforts to getparent participation are ongoing. The principal stated that the parents at the beginning of theyear are wonderful, because they tend to be the ones who want to better themselves and beupwardly mobile. But they become less active by the middle of the year, because they arebusy pursuing their goals of educational or economic self improvement. "It is very hard,"states the principal, "to keep an active group that stays with the school throughout the entireyear." Currently, the staff conducts workshops for parents interested in being in thevolunteer program, but also holds workshops on topics of more general interest, such aschild development, community resources, and health and nutrition. In 1995, 23.3% of thirdgrade students tested in the bottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardizedtest. On the PEP Mathematics standardized test, 5.9% of third graders tested in the bottomquartile of test takers. While 60% of students in the community school district in gradesthree to nine test below the Board of Education's standards, 54% of the students in thisschool test below this standard.

P.S. 1500 Placed on list 1989 to 1993Student Poverty Rate: 100%Students with limited English: 57%Improved in 3 out of 7 Measures

Built in the last century, the school is very large, but well planned in terms of space.Since the 1950's, it has served a largely Hispanic population of middle class Cuban refugeesand working class Puerto Ricans, but by the mid-1980's there was a shift to Dominicanfamilies which resulted in far fewer English-speaking students. "It was a shock when wegot these new kids we handled it very poorly," said the principal. As severeovercrowding became more of a problem (the school had a student register of 1900), readingscores began to drop for three years in a row. As the principal feared, his school was placedon the SURR list, even though P.S. 1500 ranked at the mid-point in average reading scoresamong all public elementary schools in New York City.

This principal, who has been at the school for 29 years, tried various strategies toprevent getting on the SURR list. He put three of his strongest teachers in the third grade,but two of them were in an automobile accident together and were out for the remainder ofthe year. When P.S. 1500 was placed on the list, he continued to try other strategies withfew positive results. "At the beginning I tried to tell the staff what to do," the principal toldus at the interview. "After a month I could see it wasn't going to work. Then I decided to tryto make some changes. I threw out a lot of gifted and talented programs to see if the staffwould demand that they be put back. I just kept closing down programs to see if there wasone they cared enough to keep. But whenever we went on retreats to hotels, it was still justme and an AP that kept coming up with ideas and doing all the talking. It was terrible."

The turn around came when the principal locked himself into his office and made alist of 10 things he cared about. At the top of the list was that every child in P.S. 1500should be able to read. Then he created a committee that met from 1 to 3 every Wednesdayto talk about the list, "which amounted to a lot of soul searching." The principal explained,"The staff didn't want to make decisions and I knew I couldn't make them for them. So allwe did was talk about what mattered. And then we started building, but it was no longer meand the A.P." Instead of just focusing on the third grade, the committee began focusing onall grades and on how to strengthen reading. The principal also restructured the bilingualclasses and replaced staff who he felt were speaking Spanish all the time in the class andoutside the class, and did not seem comfortable speaking English. The principal stated, "Iwanted bilingual teachers that could be role models for the kids, to show them that therewere adults who could speak both languages fluently. ESL periods are longer now." But healso discovered that the better Spanish-speaking children read in their native language, thebetter they read in English. The principal and a librarian that was interviewed separately,also credited the school's turnaround to an early-retirement program in 1991 when 25% ofthe staff left, including two assistant principals. Three years ago, the planning committeebroke into three curriculum areas. Planning in the school is still going strong, with fiveteachers having a joint trip to Costa Rica so that they could spend part of their vacation inmeetings together.

Though P.S. 1500 was not as bedecked with art work as the other schools visited, ithas a unique program where at the end of the year each class puts on a small play for theother classes that share their hall way. The library, supported by grants and Title I, is a coreprogram for P.S. 1500. Parents are taught how to use the public library and to read to theirchildren in Spanish or English. Children are assigned week-end book reports, so that theyhave to spend some time reading by Monday. This has resulted in more children writing and



reading than before. Parent workshops are held at 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. The reformedparents' organization does do "a lot" of fundraising, but the AIDP program has made adifference in the level of parental involvement. This Attendance Improvement DropoutPrevention program works with children who are truant, but the person who runs theprogram is "very dynamic" so activities have included visiting sister schools in other statesand taking students to Yankee games. The level and quality of parent participation has alsobeen increased by this dynamic individual. Unfortunately, this program's funds werereduced, so many of the activities can no longer be sustained. The school has receivednumerous grants and now works with two universities. But there is still a 20% mobility rateat the school, with very few of the children remaining in the school for their entireelementary education. In 1995, 51.9% of third grade students tested in the bottom quartileon the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. On the PEP Mathematics standardizedtest, 13.1% of third graders tested in the bottom quartile of test takers. 56% of students inthe community school district in grades three to nine test below the Board of Education'sstandards and 56% of the students in this school test below this standard.

P.S. 1600 Placed on list 1989 to 1993Student Poverty Rate: 93%Students with limited English: 39%Improved in 7 out of 7 Measures

The predominately Irish, Italian and Scandinavian neighborhood became largelyHispanic and Asian by the 1980's. An ineffective principal, appointed in the mid-1970's,left the school with a history of low staff morale and conflict, student discipline problems,and poor academic achievement. In 1975 the school was put on the list of poorly performingschools (CSIP, see Appendix), but no changes in the school resulted. The principal, it wasreported, used the school improvement committee to play one group of teachers off againstanother group. Too often, the planning meetings degenerated into blame secessions. Staffabsenteeism was high. Even class scheduling for this very large school had become chaotic,with some ethnic heritage celebrations spilling over from a day to a week of special events.Poorly functioning teachers from other schools in the district were "dumped" into P.S.1600. Teachers felt isolated from one another and functioned on their own as a survivalmechanism. Because of its size and the poverty of its student body in comparison withother schools in the district, it was also the site for a comprehensive health center withstaffing by a nurse, physician, and psychologist, as well as other after-school programs.Ironically, the existence of these programs created additional demands on the principal,whose strength was not administration. His replacement is credited with getting P.S. 1600off the SURR list. This was the only school EPP members visited where we could notinterview the principal credited with turning around the school, and, instead, we interviewedthe acting principal, who had been in the school for twenty years as a teacher andadministrator and had been on the planning team. However, EPP staff had visited the schooland met with the principal at an earlier occasion before he successfully secured employmentin another position and had a follow-up phone interview with him after the school visit.

The acting principal related that when the new principal came, he found that theschool used five different readers. One system was chosen for the school, and the teachersbroke into committees and monitored student progress under the new reading series.Computers were introduced into the classrooms. The district office sent in experts oncurriculum to help the staff evaluate progress, to develop "alignment " and "congruence"across grades and among grades and to provide teacher training in other instructional areas.In 1991, a "Dual Language Academy" was initiated in order to integrate children fromdifferent ethnic groups, to teach a second language to all students, and to infuse computertechnology in all subject areas. The principal stated that the most important milestone for


him was the creation of this "Gifted and Talented" program because it meant that the childrenwere looked at differently. Being bilingual was promoted as a benefit and no longer viewedas a deficit. In the 1994-95 school year, a Core Knowledge curriculum was piloted for allthe grades. Now P.S. 1600 has a computerized system that allows the staff to follow eachstudent's academic growth since kindergarten (the CIMS program used in P.S. 400). Oneof the key elements credited for the turnaround of the school is that almost a third of the staffleft or "were asked to leave." The acting principal stated that many of these teachers hadbeen in the system for years and had "retired on the job." The new teachers and those thatremained worked with the principal to develop a mission statement and goals to promote"excellence and equity." Their morale improved as they were able to see that changes ininstruction were bringing about better student outcomes.

The new planning committee which included the principal, assistant principals andteachers also worked on administrative changes. The principal stated that he workedtowards a "community school" concept, and his strategy was to flood the school withactivities and programs with outside groups so that everybody felt welcome. He stated, "Iwas an experienced administrator, I had already been a principal at another school. But thisschool was so isolated that I was worried that I couldn't begin to meet the needs of thechildren. So I wanted to invite everyone in who could help." The school adopted a policyof student uniforms, which instantly helped to create a sense of belonging. Greater parentalinvolvement was encouraged, which included a series of workshops for parents to assistthem in dealing with problems concerning their children at home. A parent volunteer groupwas established, and the school now has a "parent room" set aside for their use. On the daywhen the EPP Monitoring committee came, twenty parents were working at the school on adaily basis to help with hall patrol, morning line-up, dismissal, and other volunteerassignments. The presence of parents in the school has had a positive influence on thebehavior of students. The planning committee has continued to stress creating a positiveschool climate and holding children to high expectations. A strong student governmentprogram was developed that has helped build student morale but also has created more parentparticipation. The staff is now no longer afraid of parents, but see them as part of theschool's strength. Even though P.S. 1600 students are poorer than those in the rest of thedistrict's schools, their attendance rate was so high that it had the highest student attendancerecord in the district in October 1994. The school has a large number of grants andcollaborative programs with outside agencies, including a hospital, a college, youthprograms, art and music institutions. The physical condition of the school building is good,but constant construction of classroom additions has disrupted class locations every year.

The acting principal felt that the school could not have improved without the SURRdesignation, even if the same level of resources had been provided, because the schoolneeded instructional and administrative leadership. The staff needed to share a vision andclearly defined goals. Because P.S. 1600 serves so many Hispanic and Asian students whoscore below the fortieth percentile on the English LAB test, this was one of the factors that,she believes, placed her school on the SURR list. This lag tends to depress studentachievement levels at P.S. 1600, even with the remarkable improvement in instruction andenvironment that came about through the hard work of the principal, other administrators,teachers, parents, and students. In 1995, 51.9% of third grade students tested in the bottomquartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. On the PEP Mathematicsstandardized test, 13.1% of third graders tested in the bottom quartile of test takers. While36% of students in the community school district in grades three to nine test below the Boardof Education's standards, 45% of the students in this school test below this standard.

The Middle SchoolsI.S. 160 Placed on list 1991 to 1994

Student Poverty Rate: 74%Students with limited English: 6%Improved in 6 out of 6 Measures

When the principal came in 1985 with a directive from the superintendent to turnaround the school, gangs were running the school. All the "problem" students of anotherdistrict were sent to I.S. 160 along with the other acting-out students of the district. "I don'tlike the term 'problem student,' because it's pejorative," said the principal, "they're just kidslike other kids and the school was working with them. The real problem was instruction."The teachers were either totally inexperienced, because they had just graduated from college,or too experienced and no longer interested in trying new methods of teaching. Lessonswere given through a "chalk and talk" method which did not create interaction in theclassroom and which made the subjects boring to many of the students.

Early in 1990, IS 160 pioneered as a "School-Wide" program school, before School-Based Management/Shared Decision Making was initiated by Chancellor Fernandez. TheSBM/SDM initiative created school planning teams in high-poverty schools and allowedthem to use Title I funds in a flexible manner to improve the whole school, not just forremediation. But the creation of the IS 160 school planning team created problems andcontroversy. Those who were on the committee were not inclusive in their decision makingor good at communicating with other staff members about the decisions that had taken place.A sense that members of the planning committee were an "elite" developed, along withresentment by those not on the committee. But the Title I School-Wide program alsobrought about positive change. It provided money for a family worker to work withstudents and their families. A peer mediation program, where the students participated inconstructing a positive reward system, also improved the conflict-plagued environment ofthis small school. Student assignment from the other district was stopped. IS 160 was stillattracting "rough kids," and sixty out of its one hundred and sixty students were in ResourceRooms, but the principal felt that the school was doing a good job.

Placement on the SURR list in 1991 for low math scores was a blow to the principal,the planning committee, and the rest of the staff because they believed that the school wasimproving despite some problems. The principal's strategy was to identify math andcommunication arts as a special focus of instructional improvement, reduce class size, andfocus on first quartile students to improve their achievement levels on tests. Theinstructional staff began to attend district staff development workshops on how to improveattendance, reading and math. In the first year of being on the SURR list, out of twelveteachers, seven left. But the school still had problems recruiting a licensed math teacher.The principal and planning team abandoned the seven period schedule and created one-hourperiods so that there was "time on task" for students. A linkage with a college brought instaff development on how to use manipulatives in math instruction, but there are a plethoraof other linkages to colleges, universities, and health and social services agencies. In thepast, only thirty-seven percent of ninth grade students passed the Regents' CompetencyTests in math. In the 1994-95 school year, the percentage was eighty. While the school stillgets "the rougher students in the district," a few students in the district are listing IS 160 astheir first choice.

The teacher that was interviewed by EPP told us that she had been working at theschool so long that she found herself teaching the children of the children she had taughtyears ago. She stated that she had decided to stay because the teachers get support and

56 66

technical assistance from the school. She was thrilled at having an hour for instruction ratherthan the old forty five minute session because her students are now completing theirhomework assignments. She used to dread going to work, now she looks forward to theday. Though there is conflict on staff, the planning committee is strong and goes on retreats.Teacher contacts have brought many notable speakers to the school as well as linkages withsmall businesses that provide some of the rewards for good student behavior under the peermediation system, such as discounts on slices of pizza. Sophisticated photography journalshave been produced by students working with staff. There is also a "Museum Club" wherestudents take trips to the various museums in New York City.

Forty parents showed up at the parents' meeting just before the EPP Monitoringcommittee visited the school, a very good showing for a middle school where parentinvolvement is not the rule. Both the principal and the teacher believed that theparent leaderswere knowledgeable and strong advocates for the school, and now that the school isevolving as an "Accelerated Learning" school, the principal and the staff view them as criticalto I.S. 160's ability to achieve a higher level of functioning. The principal remarked that theold planning team had been perceived as elitist, with only a chosen few making decisions forthe rest of the staff. The new planning team modeled under "Accelerated Learning," incontrast, has a better grasp of the communication process needed to get other staff membersto participate and to try innovations. In 1995, 33.3% of eighth grade students tested in thebottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Power standardized test. On the RegentsCompetency Mathematics standardized test, 43.1% of ninth graders tested in the bottomquartile of test takers. While 47% of students in the community school district in gradesthree to nine test below the Board of Education's standards, 46% of the students in thisschool test below this standard (this percentage represents the combined scores of all "mini-schools" associated with a larger umbrella middle school).

I.S. 200 Placed on list 1991 to 1994Student Poverty Rate: 100%Students with limited English: 3%Improved in 2 out of 6 Measures

I.S. 200 occupies the top floor of a large elementary school. Of all schools visited,this middle school was the most staff directed before being put on the SURR list, duringtime on the list, and after its removal. The planning committee, which includes all staffmembers, had been meeting every week throughout this period and directed all the changes.The principal, who arrived after the school had been placed on the list, stated that he had notgotten much of an impression of what the school was like before the designation, but that astaff developer from a college told him that the students used to be as noisy in the classroomas they are now playing during recess. The school, serving predominately Hispanicstudents, was cited by the state SURR program for low math scores. Though the state didnot cite the school for a lack of parental participation, there was no functioning parents'association.

The turnaround is credited to a series of improvements: getting a math lab and finallythe space to fully utilize it; technical support and staff development that resulted in better andmore knowledgeable planning by the school team; staff openings that allowed them to recruittwo teachers with a background in math for the first time; and the development of parentalparticipation. The state SURR staff helped the planning team to develop activities in math,English, and parental involvement. A linkage with a college informed the staff that thecentral Board of Education had a standard curricula for middle school English, which a staffmember then obtained. The state's SURR program liaison worked with them on how toteach math, and this was followed up with more training by other staff developers and

attendance at the district's workshops. Most of the teachers were inexperienced, so they hadto be shown how to do closed-book practice sessions before major standardized tests weregiven and how to deal with chronically truant students on the registers so their lack of scoreswas not counted against the school. The weekly staff meetings branched out into threedifferent committees that also met weekly and also went on retreats. The principal,especially, worked on the problem of parent involvement, but the whole staff worked tomake sure that parents knew when students were to take tests so that attendance wouldimprove.

The principal stated that the school has no classes for students with limited-Englishproficiency or special education students, but that the teachers' improvement in their abilityto analyze student achievement allowed them to realize that two to three students in everyentering class really do not speak English and that an equal number should have beenclassified as learning disabled. The classes used to be organized by high and low achievingstudents, but now they are heterogeneously grouped. Seven forty-five minute classroomperiods have been changed to six fifty-minute sessions. With the help of the math lab,teachers focused on improving the math achievement of students at the bottom two quartilesin math. They were assisted by a group of university students who volunteered to tutorstudents after school hours. Parents were key to further improvements in this area, evenafter I.S. 200 got off the list. The three parents on the school based team served as thenucleus for the first fledgling parents association, but all three moved out of the district.While still small, a hard core of sophisticated parents have proved to be effective advocatesfor the school at the district level, and they finally succeeded in getting the full day use of aroom for the math lab. A school "museum" and a series of "pow-wows" are scheduled toattract more parents. The school is now following the "Accelerated Learning" model, whereboth parents and students are part of the school improvement process. More than half of thestudents who enter the school have listed I.S. 200 as their first choice. In 1995, 33.3% ofeighth grade students tested in the bottom quartile on the Degrees of Reading Powerstandardized test. On the Regents Competency Mathematics standardized test, 43.1% ofninth graders tested in the bottom quartile of test takers. While 47% of students in thecommunity school district, in grades three to nine test below the Board of Education'sstandards, 42% of the students in this school test below this standard (this percentagerepresents the combined scores of all "mini-schools" associated with a larger umbrellamiddle school).

The High Schools

H.S. 1700 Placed on list 1989 to 1991Student Poverty Rate: 43%Students with limited English: 3%Improved in 6 out of 9 Measures

In 1980, this vocational school had a student body that came largely from thesurrounding working class neighborhood, but eight years later it was 85% African Americanand from another part of the borough. The working class neighborhood also changed. Itbecame a largely immigrant community that had no history with the school and begansending their children to other high school's in the neighborhood. The high school "Choice"program became another factor. Because H.S. 1700 remained a traditional vocationalschool, higher achieving. students bypassed it in favor of "Career Options" programs offeredby other high schools. The school staff did not adjust to a new population of students thatoften appeared to them to be less motivated and less academically prepared.

In an interview with the principal, the assistant principal for guidance and the teacherwho chaired the school's "School-Based Management/Shared Decision Making Committee,"a more detailed picture was given. "We were not prepared for these kids. In the past, thekids who came here would have a father who was an auto mechanic, carpenter, orelectrician. Now the kids either don't have a father living with them or the father'soccupation is not clearly defined. What this means, let's say for auto mechanics, is that thereisn't a family member who is also educating the student along with the teachers of automechanics. But it wasn't just shop interest or academics. Suddenly we had lots of socialservice problems and our counseling was inadequate. There were cultural differencesbetween the staff and students that we didn't have before." Ironically, before H.S. 1700was placed on the list and during most of the time it remained on the list, the schoolcontinued to attract large numbers of students because of its reputation as a "safe" school.So this school, unlike many of the other SURR schools, did not experience a drop inpopulation beyond the first year when the newspapers reported its placement on the SURRlist.

The three major problems were low achievement, loNV attendance, and low testscores. It was not unusual during a test for a student to get up from his or her desk and justdrop the papers to the floor and storm out of the room. "You'd have a class taking a test,and four or five guys would just get up and leave the room." Support from Project Achieve,a major initiative of Chancellor Joseph Fernandez, was credited with help in turning theschool around. "No one was reading or understanding the statistics we were getting. All weknew is that we looked bad. Because we were one of the early Project Achieve schools, thepeople with that program helped us to understand the reams of data we were getting. Thishelped us become aware of our performance." A teacher was picked to head the new schoolimprovement planning committee. Working with the principal, the committee memberstackled student test taking and attendance. They looked at what kinds of courses worked andwhat new programs worked to improve students' performance. The chair told us, "Youknow some school teams are good at discussions. But we really began to use statistics. Soit wasn't 'Oh, let's do this or let's try this we looked to see if our ideas worked." Justafter H.S. 1700 was placed on the list, two new programs suggested by the state schoolimprovement team, Sharing Success and Decision-Making Math, were brought in. But aftera year they were judged as not successful. New occupational sequences such as computerdrafting, audio visual, building maintenance, business and accounting, foods management,and marketing were created or expanded to better meet the needs of the students. Newprograms of instruction were instituted based on the team's analysis of student achievementdata.

The principal and the planning team looked at building the school around its naturalstrengths. H.S. 1700 used to have both an academic track and a vocational track. Thesetwo tracks were eliminated. In their place, three occupational theme "Houses" were created:Building Trades (electrical, wood), Services (foods, auto, HVAC) and Professional Careers(electronics, computers, CAD, business/accounting). Each House has a strong academicprogram and a strong guidance program. Each House has a separate physical space forclasses built around a space that contains an assistant principal, a guidance counselor, acoordinator from the trade area, an advisor from the academic areas, and an aide that servesas assistant to the counselor and receptionist for the House. There is also an open meetingarea in each House with vending machines, computers, and tables for students. EachHouse has 400 students, and the counselor stays with the students in each house until theygraduate. The principal remarked, "Lots of high schools have houses, but they are not realin the sense that they are just capricious themes without special staff or space. Ours are realunits with separate courses structured around our traditional strengths as a vocational schooland around' guidance." Congruence specialists were brought in to help train staff in newtechniques, such as cooperative learning and learning styles. Parent outreach is done

596 9

primarily through the House structure. Interestingly, a fourth House was also created forspecial education students, and this resulted in the staffs discovery that many of the studentsreceived guidance services for the first time through this structure. Before the creation of theSpecial Education House they did not understand that most of the special educationcounselors' primary duties were evaluation and assessment, not working with students afterthey were placed.

Another factor credited in the turnaround was scheduling. The school faculty was solarge that none of them met at the same time. The ninth period on Mondays was cleared forstaff development, House meetings, clubs, and the SBM/SDM committee. A tremendousamount of staff development was initiated on how to improve math and writing skills and oneffective team planning as well as training for guidance counselors and paraprofessionals.Trainers from district and central as well as several colleges and universities were brought in.Attendance improvement focused on urging parents to make sure their children showed up atexam and test time. The Achieve program provided the school with an automated phonemessage system that allowed each House to reach all parents with a pre-recorded messagejust before each test. Parents were told the areas for improvement that had been cited by thestate. "The students also had to be convinced just like the staff that they had to change theirbehavior or the school might close." But student behavior problems still occur. Studentswho need help beyond the guidance services offered at each House are referred to a CBOthat provides them with a self-contained instructional environment. As a result, somestudents improve and some transfer out to other schools. But of those that return, "whenthey come back, they're not anti-social."

For this vocational school, another challenge is the current job market. Though theBuilding Trades House has worked to help the surrounding community fix up buildings in astate of disrepair and cover graffiti, there have been fewer apprenticeship openings becauseconstruction jobs have been scarce. Job placement in the other trades has also been adifficulty. But most graduates go on to college, technical school, or work. Even though theprincipal has worked hard to identify a number of private and public sector linkages thatexpand work and training opportunities for the school's students, he admits that post-schoolemployment remains a problem in this economy. Currently, passing rates for the RegentsCompetency tests for HS 1700 students (followed by the averages for the city and the rest ofthe state) are: 93% Reading (84.7% city/93.9% ROS); 53% Writing (70.3% city/87.7%ROS); 61% Science (55.6% city/82.4% ROS); 60% Mathematics (52.9% city/79.3% ROS):45% Global Studies (38.3% city/66.4% ROS); 45% U.S. History and Government (57.5%city/80.9% ROS)

H.S. 2200 Placed on list 1989 to 1992Student Poverty Rate: 76%Students with limited English: 21%Improved in 7 out of 9 Measures

The new principal, on his first week on the job at this large high school servingprimarily a Caribbean community, was informed that the school had been placed on theSURR list because of its high drop out rate. Prior to his arrival, there had been fiveprincipals in 4 years, some of whom quit and others of whom were removed. It was knownas a "training building," used to prepare assistant principals for assignments to other large,troubled high schools. H.S. 2200 had been ignored for decades, "a dumping ground forstudents that no one wanted, teachers that no one wanted, and administrators that no onewanted." EPP's Monitoring Committee interviewed the principal, an assistant principal forguidance, and an assistant principal for instruction. The A.P. for instruction had been at theschool for 25 years, so she described the school when she started: "It was a school where

60 70

the staff let it be known that the students were not to be given textbooks. I was told that 'itwasn't done here.' At times, there were more students in the hallways than in class and kidscame into the class only when they felt like it. The school was disrespected by the students,and the students were disrespected. It was a vicious cycle that just kept getting worse bydegrees every five years." Other problems cited were the lack of relationship of the school tothe community and low staff morale over many years. The school had been built as a girl' shigh school. When the new principal came in, he found it in disrepair and "a disgrace, nourinals and no proper gym." Today, one third of the school is under remodeling and thetemporary gym is full sized and well equipped.

Asked about what turned the school around, the interviewees said frankly that theplanning team developed unified goals because they wanted the school to get off the SURRlist. Everyone in the school began to stress attendance with students, and teachers beganpaying attention to evaluating what each student needed in terms of building academic skillsand then developing a program for him or her. Another joint effort was to "keep the rightkids." The principal explained, "When we see that a good student might want to transferout, we really work with the parents and the student to keep the student here because thereare so few positive role models at H.S. 2200. That's why we stress the college scholarshipprogram we've raised more than a million dollars to help kids get into college."

Another major factor credited with the school's improvement is that a quarter of thestaff was let go, twenty four teachers and three A.P.'s. Their replacements were dynamicteachers and capable AP's with leadership skills. The team looked at math scores onRegents' Competency Tests and changed the whole schedule so that students get three daysof math lab following their math class and in the third period a science course. The bottomquartile students got ten periods of academic math. "We went from "Mickey Mouse" math toreal algebra and geometry. The principal is still vigilant about teacher and substitute teacherperformance, and a week before the EPP interview he had asked that a teacher who had beenshowing cartoons in the social studies class be removed. Title I funds were used creativelyto lower class size. The school atmosphere changed dramatically because the principalinstituted an open door policy with continual meetings with assistant principals, teachers,and students. But the "open door" description is misleading, because the principal often isnot in his office but instead just parks his chair in a hallway chosen at random and uses thetime to do paperwork in between talks with students and staff.

The third major change was that the school linked up with an effective community-based organization with strong ties to the Caribbean community. This CBO got a van andwent out looking for students who were marked absent. Three other CBO's have programsat the school. The fourteen percent drop out rate fell to eight percent and attendanceincreased. A Saturday high school was initiated that served students and one thousandcommunity people. Unfortunately, the Saturday high school was discontinued for lack offunds by the time EPP members visited the school. H.S. 2200 still has an extensive after-school offerings, including a steel drum music class, largely staffed by AIDP (AttendanceImprovement Drop Out Prevention) youth programs, but additional courses in math are alsooffered. It was discovered that providing food at programs and simultaneous translation inHaitian Creole improved attendance at parents' meetings. One hundred parents usuallyattend regular meetings, but at the most recent "college night' four hundred showed up.

The challenges for H.S. 2200 still remain enormous. The three interviewees agreedthat the core of "bright kids" was still small at the high school and that one feeder middleschool, in particular, causes a problem. The A.P. for instruction said that she spent most ofthe fall trying to get students that had come from this intermediate school to understand thatthey could not roam the halls and instead had to stay in their classrooms. Yet, staff morale ishigh, largely because now "there is an acceptance that we have low-achieving students, but

617 1

we're also proud that after a few years we really improve their level of academicachievement, that make us all proud." A quarter of the students are recent immigrants. Inthe profile of the entering class, fifty five percent of the students are over age for their grade,their average daily attendance in their prior middle school spring semester was seventy eightpercent, and only twenty percent test at or above the fiftieth percentile in reading and only tenpercent test at this level in mathematics. Yet, by their fourth year in high school the percentof students meeting high school pass rates in mathematics exceeds the average for all highschools. But the stress on math performance has created an unanticipated problem for theprincipal who is concerned that reading scores are getting lower and the school will again beplaced on the SURR list.

Though the relationship of the school to the community has changed dramatically, theschool has a reputation for violence that is not easy to dispel. The staff interviewed statedthat they felt they had been able to communicate to parents and students that once in theschool, there was no violence. But they felt that the perimeter of the school was stillthreatening and a problem they could not solve. Nevertheless, the staff committees are stillworking hard and the entrepreneurial principal had established multiple joint programs withcolleges and universities and large, prestigious companies that help to provide some of thescholarships that helps to motivate and reward their students. Currently, passing rates forthe Regents Competency tests for HS 2200 students (followed by the averages for the cityand the rest of the state) are: 83% Reading (84.7% city/93.9% ROS); 61% Writing (70.3%city/87.7% ROS); 44% Science (55.6% city/82.4% ROS); 35% Mathematics (52.9%city/79.3% ROS): 36% Global Studies (38.3% city/66.4% ROS); 56% U.S. History andGovernment (57.5% city/80.9% ROS)



Since 1985, low-performing schools in New York City have been the focus of a series of Cityand State Education Department improvement efforts. For the most part, these efforts have not beencarefully studied, and their effectiveness appears to have been limited.

In December 1985, the New York State Education Department (SED) released its first listof schools identified as most in need of assistance, based on Comprehensive Assessment Report(CAR) data submitted by school districts to the State. The lowest-performing schools were identifiedon the basis of the proportions of their students meeting State-specified criteria in grades threethrough 12. In the elementary and middle schools, the criteria were based on student performanceon State-mandated reading and mathematics tests. In the high schools, the criteria included thedropout rate, as well as performance on the Regents/RCTs in reading, writing, and mathematics. TheState required the designated schools to improve student performance in the designated area bydeveloping a comprehensive school improvement plan in consultation with school administrators,school staff, students, and parents.' Participation in the planning process was mandatory.

In 1985, the State identified 504 public schools as low-performing, or CAR schools. Of these,393 were in New York City. To support the schools, the Board of Education established the Officeof Comprehensive School Improvement Planning (OCSIP). OCSIP facilitators provided technicalsupport, additional resources, and assistance in school wide planning.

$chool Improvement Under Fire. By 1988, dissatisfaction with the comprehensive school-improvement (CSIP) process was voiced in a study conducted for the Educational Priorities Panel(EPP) by Interface.2 The study reported that only 201 of the 417 schools designated as CAR in NewYork City had received regular technical assistance from OCSIP. Overall, wide-scale improvementhad not occurred.

The report identified problems which limited the program's impact. These included the limitedimplementation of school-improvement plans stemming from teacher shortages and a fundamentallack of basic resources, including funding for staff development, technical assistance, and adequatespace. Because of the lack of resources, the EPP report called for more flexible use of categorical

New York State Board of Regents (1984). Regents Action Plan. Albany, New York, StateUniversity of New York.

Section 100.2 of the Commissioner's Regulations, cited in Educational Priorities Panel (1988).Appendix A.

2 Interface (1988). Small change: The Comprehensive School Improvement Program. New YorkCity: Educational Priorities Panel.


funds to address local needs. The study also noted a host of other local problems, some of whichwould resurface again and again. These included:

The needs of limited English-proficient students were too often unmet.

Rather than an integral part of school functioning, collaborative school-improvementefforts appeared to be a "peripheral add-on program, deprived of the opportunity tosucceed in most schools."

No one seemed to be responsible for the quality of a school's improvement plan or itsimplementation.

School personnel felt a great deal of anger at what they saw as very stigmatizingprocess.

The report also noted that the criteria for placing a school on the list of low-performingschools did not take into account any of the problems faced by many of the schools, including studentand staff mobility, poverty rates, or large numbers of limited English-proficient (LEP) students whosescores were included in the testing which was used to evaluate school performance.

Recommendations for Change. The EPP report offered a number of recommendations forchange on the State and City level to address the problems identified. These includedrecommendations for changes in the funding formulas for state aid to education, and provisions forcreating a Building Authority to renovate existing schools or build new ones. The report alsorecommended that:

All schools should undertake a formal school-based planning and improvementprocess to make the SURR identification less stigmatizing for low-performingschools.

More comprehensive, ongoing training should be offered for all participants in theplanning process, including facilitators, principals, teachers, and parents.

The legal mandates to serve the needs of LEP students should be met.

Additional technical assistance should be provided to schools unable to establish anacceptable improvement plan or failing to improve.

Clear consequences should be spelled out for schools unable to improve following theprovision of additional assistance.

Categorical funding constraints should be waived for schools with CS11 planningcommittees.

Many of these recommendations were addressed in subsequent Board of Education effortsto encourage improvement in the City's low-performing schools.

Recent Improvement Efforts

In 1989, the CAR/CSIP identification process was folded into the State's EducationalAccountability Project, which subjected all New York's schools to registration review based onperformance in relation to specific state standards While the CAR process hadidentified all low-performing schools, the Registration Review process focussed on a smaller andhopefully more manageable number of very needy schools with low and declining performance onState standards. As intended, this resulted in a smaller number of schools being identified as in needof improvement, but possibly even greater stigmatization of the schools identified.

As in 1985, schools identified as under registration review (SURR) were to be provided withintensive technical assistance by SED in developing school improvement plans and undertakingassociated staff and curriculum development efforts. In fall 1989, 39 New York City public schoolswere identified as SURR. By spring 1993, a total of 67 schools had been identified.

The Board of Education's Role

Since 1989-90, both City and State have continued to fobus attention and resources onimproving low-performing schools. In 1990, the Board of Education recommended the use ofadditional criteria to identify SURR schools. These included:

the use of additional information on instructional effectiveness and a report from a sitevisit by a New York City review team prior to identification; and

using both the State EAP standards and the Chancellor's Minimum Standards toidentify schools.

The Chancellor's Minimum Standards went beyond the State's criteria to include measures ofstudent progress (growth) in reading and math, as well as LEP students' progress in acquiring English(see Tables 1-A, 1-B and 1-C for statements of the State and the Chancellor's Minimum Standards).The State approved the proposal beginning in the 1990-91 school year.

At about the same time, the Fernandez administration pressed schools with high proportionsof low-income students to apply for federal Chapter I school wide projects. This allowed the schoolsto use their monies more flexibly, and make more of the funding available for use at the school level.The Federal Chapter I application process also required schools to engage in school-basedmanagement/shared deciSion making (SBM/SDM) -- a collaborative planning process, involvingteachers and parents in setting the school budget, hiring personnel, and developing improvementplans.

Additional Chapter I and private foundation grants were also secured to provide staffdevelopment for 230 schools which opted to participate in a process of school-based management


and shared decision making (SBM/SDM), and to hire project management for the Board ofEducation's central office. Additional funding for bilingual/ESL and mathematics remediationprograms was aimed at improving the academic performance of limited English-proficient students.The overall focus was on increasing resources and encouraging innovation, collaboration, andplanning at the school site. Some low-performing schools chose to join the process, although thisinitiative was not specifically targeted to them.

Table 1-AState EAP Standards for Elementary

and Middle Schools

Grade 3 Pupil Evaluation Program (PEP) Reading: at least 65 percent of the students scoreat or above the State Reference Point on the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP).

Grade 6 PEP Reading: at least 65 percent of the students score at or above the StateReference Point (SRP) on the DRP.

Grade 8 PCT Reading: at least 75 percent of the students score at or above the StateReference Point (SRP) on the DRP.

Grade 3 PEP Mathematics: at least 75 percent of the students score at or above the StateReference Point (SRP) on the PEP Mathematics Test.

Grade 6 PEP Mathematics: at least 70 percent of the students score at or above the StateReference Point (SRP) on the PEP Mathematics Test.

Grade 9 Regents Competency Test (RCT) in Mathematics: at least 70 percent of thestudents on register in grade 9, as of March 31, pass either the RCT, Regents, or anotherapproved test in mathematics.

4 7 6

Table 1-BAdditional Elementary and Middle School

Chancellor's Minimum Standards

Reading Progress (Quartile 1): in elementary schools, at least 70 percent of the students(general education and resource room students only) scoring in the lowest quartile in theprevious year make gains of 10 or more DRP units. In middle schools, the standard is 60percent of the students in the lowest quartile make gains of 7 or more DRP units.

Reading Progress (Quartiles 2 and 3, combined): in elementary schools, at least 60 percentof the students (general education and resource room students only) scoring in either quartile 2or 3 in the previous year make gains of 7 or more DRP units. In middle schools, the standard is60 percent of the students in quartiles 2 and 3, combined, make gains of 3 or more DRP units.

Reading Progress (Quartile 4): in elementary schools, at least 60 percent of the students(general education and resource room students only) scoring in the highest quartile in theprevious year make gains of 3 or more DRP units. In middle schools, the standard is 60percent of the students in the highest quartile make gains of 2 or more DRP units.

English-Language Acquisition Progress: In elementary schools, at least 60 percent of allLimited English Proficient (LEP)-eligible students make gains of 5 or more NCE's (NormalCurve Equivalents) on the Language Assessment Battery (LAB) or test out of LEP entitlement.In middle schools, the standard is 60 percent make gains of 4 or more NCE's.

Attendance: in elementary schools, an average daily attendance rate of at least 90 percent. Inmiddle schools, an average daily attendance of at least 85 percent.

5 7(

Table 1 -CHigh School State EAP Standards

Reading: 80 percent of the 11th graders on register as of March 31 have passed either theRCT, or the Regents, or another approved test; and 90 percent of the 12th graders on registeras of March 31 have passed either the RCT, or the Regents, or another approved test. Bothparts must be met in order to pass the standard.

Writing: 70 percent of the 11th graders on register as of March 31 have passed either theRCT, or the Regents, or another approved test; and 90 percent of the 12th graders on registeras of March 31 have passed either the RCT, or the Regents, or another approved test. Bothparts must be met in order to pass the standard.

Mathematics: 70 percent of the 10th graders on register as of March 31 have passed eitherthe RCT, or the Regents, or another approved test; and 90 percent of the 12th gradersonregister as of March 31 have passed either the RCT, or the Regents, or another approved test.Both parts must be met in order to pass the standard.

The Annual Dropout Rate is no higher than 10 percent.

Additional High SchoolChancellor's Minimum Standards

Reading Progress: at least 60 percent of the students (general education and resource roomstudents only) scoring in the lowest quartile in the previous year make gains of 5 or more DRPunits.3 Note: additional reading progress standards for the high schools were not establishsedbecause of the ceiling on test performance above grade 8 for average and high-scoring students.

LAB Progress: at least 60 percent of all LEP-eligible students make gains of 3 or more NCE'son the LAB or test out of LEP entitlement.

Attendance: average daily attendance is at least 85 percent; and no more thanfive percent ofthe students are Long-Term Absentees (LTA's); and no more than 20 percent of all studentsare absent for 16 or more days in a semester. In order to meet the attendance standard, aschool must meet all three parts of the standard.

This standard is applicable to schools with 20 or more students in the bottom quartile, or with20 or more LEP-eligible students. This criterion is applicable to this and the following standard.

State Education Department Efforts

Since early 1993, the State Education Department has taken a number of steps to focusattention and resources on low-performing schools. The first action was its Plan of Action for Low-Performing Schools, issued in February. This included plans for legislative and budgetary proposals,policy statements, regulatory changes, program assistance, and shared initiatives with other agencies.A variety of supports were offered, including intensive technical assistance and on-site training byState personnel. By March, all SURR schools were reported to have been included in the ChapterI Program Improvement initiative,' and could opt to participate in an innovative reform model. Theseincluded the Community Schools Program, the Comer School Development Model, AcceleratedSchools, and the Two-Way Bilingual Education program. According to the report, grants had beenmade available for schools to develop improvement plans, and to support program activities after theplanning period. State funds also supported training for parents, as well as staff development(including five Consortia for Leadership Development, in which community and high school districtscollaborated with local colleges to provide training for administrators in low-performing schools).

In June 1993, the Regents appointed an Advisory Council to serve the Regents' Subcommitteeon Low Performing Schools. The Council was headed by Regent Sanford and was made up, of adiverse group of 35 individuals representing parents, educators, advocates, unions, corporations, andgovernment. Early in 1994, the Council prepared a draft report presenting over 60 recommendationsin support of improvement in low-performing schools.

By mid-1994, both the City and the State had developed new comprehensive plans to improveperformance in low-performing schools. In June, the Board of Education under Chancellor Cortinessubmitted the City's plan for improving educational performance in 100 schools -- 55 identified asSURR and additional 45 identified under the Chancellor's Criteria. These schools were to beprovided with a variety of supports targeted to their level and type of need, including comprehensiveplanning, technical assistance, staff development, university/corporate partnerships, and effectiveapproaches to serve the unmet needs of special populations (e.g., special education, gifted andtalented, and LEP students). Incentives to improvement were to be provided, and sanctions appliedwhere improvement did not occur. Implementation of the plans was scheduled for the 1994-95school year.

In fall 1994, the State Education Department issued its new and comprehensive "Plan ofAction to Implement the Recommendations of the Report of the Regents Subcommittee on Low -Performing Schools Advisory Council." The plan targeted specific types of legislative and regulatoryactions to be taken, including reallocation of resources in a "systemic effort to ensure that everySURR school has sufficient qualified staff, effective leadership and instructional programs, essentialsupport services, and appropriate levels of parent and community involvement" (page 2). The ActionPlan acknowledged that additional resources would be needed to address the "savage inequalities"persisting in the support provided to students in the State. Ironically, the modest amount of funding

Arthur L. Walton (March, 1993). Item For Discussion submitted to the Members of theBoard of Regents: "Report on Schools Under Registration Review in NeW York City." Albany:State Education Department.

7 7 9

for school improvement efforts ($1 million) was almost completely eliminated from the budget inspring 1995.

8 30



This appendix presents a closer look at certain aspects of the study methodology. It includesmaterials describing the content of the surveys and how the school improvement was defined andmeasured for the purposes of this study.

Survey Content

The survey asked the interviewees to describe the major problems facing the school at thetime it was placed on the SURR list, and the changes that led to school improvement. Theinterviewees were also asked to review a list of school-improvement areas and indicate theimportance of each. These included school leadership, staffing, management and planning, curriculumand instruction, scheduling, parent involvement, staff development, school climate/expectations,resources, and the student population. The interviewees were also asked to describe the people whohelped the school make progress, as well as the activities and resources which were most helpful.Finally, the survey asked what lessons other low-performing schools could learn from the SURRexperience. The interview data were content analyzed following a "debriefing" session with the EPPteam.

Measures of School Improvement

All the schools had been removed from the SURR list because they had demonstratedimproved performance in the area in which they had been cited. Most commonly, this was third-grade reading. However, since the criteria for removal from the SURR list were unclear in practiceif not in principle, it was important to know whether the schools had in fact really improved, andwhether improvement was visible only in the targeted area, or was in evidence across the curriculum.

To determine whether progress was real and general, multiple "before" and "after" measuresof school performance and other indicators were compared. These included performance on Stateand well as City standardized tests, progress by LEP and low-achieving students, and other indicatorssuch as dropout and attendance rates.

Data for the school year prior to the SURR designation were used as the baseline, since thesewere the data which were used to make the decision to cite the school. Eight of the 10 schools werenamed to the list in fall 1989, so their baseline year was 1988-89. Two of the schools were cited inspring 1991, so their baseline data came from 1989-90.

For the "after" or comparison year, we chose the year prior to that in which the school wasactually removed from the list, since this was the information used to make the decision. Thus, ifaschool was removed from the list in December 1994, the "after" data came from the 1993-94 schoolyear.

9 81

Ten schools were included in the analysis'. For the elementary schools, the data includedoutcome data for grades 3 and 6 reading and mathematics, grade 4 science, grade 5 writing, andgrade 6 social studies (if the school had a sixth grade). For the middle/junior high schools, theoutcomes included grade 6 reading, math, and social studies (if the school had a sixth grade), as wellas the Preliminary Competency Test (PCT) results in reading and writing.' In the high schools,performance on the Regents/RCTs in reading, writing, and mathematics were included, as well asdropouts and the percentage of students graduating with a regents diploma. For all the schools, wealso collected school-wide attendance, the progress of LEP students in acquiring English-languageskills, and progress made by low-scoring students on the Degrees of Reading Power (the DRP).These students were defined on the basis of having scored in the first quartile (Q1) of the DRP in thespring of the previous year.

Complete School Profile data for 1989-90 through 1993-94 were provided by the New YorkCity Board of Education. Data for 1988-89 were unavailable from the Board, and so had to beobtained from the CAR reports generated by the State Education Department.

The "before" and "after" data were tabulated for each school. Gains/losses were thencalculated for each school on each performance measure. For each school, only a ratio of gainstolosses was calculated, since most performance areas had different scales of measurement and couldnot be summed together. This procedure allowed us to create a rough measure of the degree ofimprovement, and to determine whether improvement in student performance was limited to oneacademic area or had occurred across the curriculum. The gains/losses in each performance areawere also totalled across all the schools to compute an overall average gain for each performancemeasure. This allowed us to examine the areas of greatest and least improvement across all theschools.


A number of cautions must be kept in mind when interpreting the outcome data. The State'sCAR data did not include all the information reported in New York City's School Profiles, so someof the 1988-89 baseline data were missing for nine of the schools. This included English-languageacquisition for LEP students, and low-scoring students' reading progress on the DRP. Informationfor the following year (1989-90) was therefore used as the baseline in these two areas. Thisinformation may have been different from the 1988-89 data.

In any given year, there were minor inconsistencies between the outcomes and reported in theState Education Department's CAR data and those reported by the Board of Education in the SchoolProfiles. To this degree, some pre- and post-measures may not be exactly comparable since they may

The restructured schools were omitted, as well as the school which was failing at the timeof the study.

2 New York City Mathematics Test performance was not included for the elementary ormiddle schools because the test was changed during the study period, making "year-on" and "year-off" comparisons difficult to interpret.


not have been calculated with numbers generated in precisely the same way. The available recordsdid not always report the numbers of students tested, which made it impossible to weight the overalloutcomes, and the numbers were not always consistent when available.

For two schools, the actual degree of improvement could not be accurately measured fromthe School Profile data, because each shared a building with one or more other mini-schools. TheSchool Profile was generated for the entire building, and therefore included the outcomes for all thestudents, and not just those in the targeted mini-school. These schools are the mini-schools at IS 160and JHS 200. Because the outcomes for the targeted mini-schools are combined with those for otherstudents, it is difficult to determine from the available data the basis on which the mini-schools wereplaced on the SURR list, and then were removed. If the Board of Education generates profiles forthe mini-schools, as has been suggested, the information will be helpful in determining the extent oftheir progress with greater accuracy.

I I 83



School Characteristics

Table 3-A presents a reference summary of demographic characteristics for the schoolsincluded in this study. This information was taken from the fall 1994 School Profiles. For eachschool, the table presents:

the percentage of resource room students and students in self-contained special educationclasses,the three-year stability rate,the number of students in temporary housing, andthe racial/ethnic breakdown of the student population.

In addition, below the name of each school are two codes, as follows:

T = Title/Chapter I school; N = not Title/Chapter I.P = the school reported many collaborative, externally funded programs.

If the school reported only two or three programs, the number ofprograms appears in thetable where the "P" would be. For example, there were only three collaborative programsreported in the Profile for PS 1500. Perhaps by mistake, there were no collaborativeprograms reported for PS 400.

Student Populations

Ethnic Composition. Like most of New York's public schools, all these schools servedpredominantly black and Hispanic students. In eight schools, black or Hispanic students made up 93to 100 percent of the school population. Two of the 10 schools had student populations that included15 to 17 percent white or Asian students. Black students comprised the largest raciaVethnic groupin five of the 10 schools; Hispanics comprised the largest group in the other five.

During the time these schools were on the SURR list, three experienced some changes in theproportions of racial/ethnic groups in the school.' None of these changes appear to have beendramatic enough to have had an impact on student performance.

Poverty. The Board of Education's School Profiles provide a "poverty index" for each school.This index was used to determine whether the school was eligible for Chapter 1 funding. For any

The proportion of Blacks increased at PS 560, while that of Hispanics decreased. At PS450, the proportion of Hispanics increased and Blacks decreased. At PS 1600, the proportion ofAsians and Blacks increased slightly, while the proportions of the other ethnic groups decreasedby a marginal amount. No dramatic changes were in evidence.

12 84


School % FreeLunch

% LEP % Re-sourceRoom



N of Studs.In Temp.Housing

% Black %Hispanic

% Asian(A), &White (W)

PS 500T, P

97 14 11 10 77 3 82 18 --

IS 160T, 2

59 3 43 3 65 1 44 50 2A,3W

PS1500T, 3

95 53 2 2 71 0.00 5 93 1A,1W

PS 560T, P

95 26 3 16 60 50 53 46 --

PS 450T, 3

94 35 4


0.00 67 0.00 14 85 1A

PS1600T, P

86 41 3 0.00 62 0.00 5 78- -


JHS200T, P

98 3 6 11 85 2 41 58 1A

PS 400N, 7

60 5 3 12 44 0.00 93 5 1A,1W

HS1700N, P

37 3 8 10 92 1 62 22 12W,3A

HS2200T, P

51 15 3 7 65 3 94 6 --

given school, it was the higher oftwo measurements -- either the total number of free-lunch formssubmitted to the school, or the total number of children living in the attendance area who wereassisted by public welfare programs, divided by the October 31 active pupil register for the school.Again, the proportion of low-income students varied widely, from 37 to 98 percent. Six schoolsreported very high poverty rates -- from 86 to 98 percent. Three schools reported a poverty index

from 51 to 60 percent. Only HS 1700 reported a low poverty index of 37 percent free lunch-eligiblestudents.'

Percentage of Limited English-Proficient (LEP) Students. There was a good deal of variationamong the schools in the proportion of LEP students served -- from 3 to 53 percent. Four schoolsreported relatively few LEP students -- from about 3 to 5 percent of the total student population.Two schools reported LEP populations in the middle range of 14 to 15 percent. Four elementaryschools reported high proportions of LEP students (21 to 53 percent). These schools' performancewas most likely affected in third grade, when LEP youngsters are first included in the State testswhich serve as criteria for the SURR designation. For these schools, the data on the ESL progressof LEP students is especially significant. (See Appendix 4 for a discussion of their performance.)

Percent of Special Education Students. In most of the schools, the proportions of specialeducation students in resource rooms and self-contained classrooms was small, but it was notablylarge in several of the schools. The proportion of resource room students varied from a low of twoat PS 1500 to a high of 43 percent at IS 160, which reported serving 60 resource room students outof a total student body of approximately 160. Five of the 10 schools served from about 2. to 4 percentresource room students; three schools served from about 6 to 11 percent.

The proportion of students in self-contained special education classes ranged from zero tothree percent in four schools; five schools reported from seven to 12 percent of their total populationas students in self-contained classes. One school reported relatively high proportions of thesestudents (16 percent at PS 560).

If we examine the proportions of the students in resource rooms and self-contained specialeducation classes taken together, we again see great variation across the schools. One group of threeschools served only 3 to 4 percent special education students (resource rooms and self-containedclasses, combined). These were PS 1500, PS 450, and PS 1600. A "middle group" of five schoolsserved from 15 to 18 percent special education students. Two schools served more than 20 percentspecial education students -- PS 500 and IS 160.

Three-Year Stability Rates. The School Profiles include a three-year stability rate as anindicator of how long students are likely to remain in a school, thereby having the opportunity tobenefit from continuity in instruction. This statistic represents the proportion of students in a schoolwho were on register in that same school for at least three years (including the current year). Again,the schools varied widely, with stability rates ranging from 44 percent at PS 400 to 92 percent at HS

2 It is not unusual for high schools to report relatively low percentages ofpoor studentsbecause older students frequently do not return to school the Federal forms required to documenttheir family income.

14 86

1700. PS 400 had the lowest stability rates (44 percent). Five schools fell in the middle range of 60to 67 percent, while another five reported stability rates ranging from 71 to 92 percent.

Students in Temporary Housing. Very few of the schools reported serving any students atall in temporary housing. PS 560 was the only school to report serving 50 students, or 10 percentof the school population, but school staff indicated that these students were fully integrated into theinstructional program.

School Leadership. As might be expected, the history of leadership in these schools varied.Some schools had languished under one ineffective principal for years as conditions worsened. Otherschools had experienced 'revolving door leadership with as many as four principals in as many years.Of the current principals, one had been in the school for 29 years and another for 20, but not asprincipal. Several were selected to be principal of the school just as the school was designated asSURR, meaning that they were expected to turn the school around. Two had been principals of theirschool for only three years.

15 87




In each school, differences were calculated between the baseline and final year for eachperformance measure, using whatever metric had been reported in the CAR report or SchoolProfile. These were usually the percentages of students meeting each criterion, or attendance anddropout percentages. On each measure, the "score" could be an improvement, a decline, or nochange in performance.

For each school, the areas of improvement were calculated as a proportion of all the areasmeasured. This simple procedure allowed us to create a rough measure of the extent ofimprovement in each school, and to determine whether improvement in student performancewas limited to one academic area or had occurred across the curriculum. A score of "no change"was included along with the decreases in calculating the proportion of improved measures. Thedifferences (improvements/declines) were also totaled to compute an overall averageimprovement/decline for each performance measure (for example, the grade 3 PupilEvaluation Program or PEP test in math). This allowed us to examine the areas of greatest andleast improvement across all the schools.

It should also be noted that if a school did not improve on a particular measure, this doesnot imply that performance on that measure was low; it may not have been. However, this studychose to focus on improvement because so many of the pre-SURR indicators were in fact low.

Some Points to Remember

The data tables in this appendix do not, for example, present the actual percentages ofstudents passing the SRP on the PEP Grade 3 Reading test in the baseline year and the year offThey present only the differences between the two measures. In addition, on all three tables, thearea (or areas) in which the school was cited are marked with a footnote.


The Elementary Schools

For the elementary schools and the K-8 school, Table 4-A presents the degree ofimprovement or decline in:

The percentage of students scoring above the State Reference Point (SRP) on the PupilEvaluation Program (PEP) Tests of reading and math in grades 3 and 6, and of writing ingrade 5.

16 8 8

The average raw score on the content part of the Elementary Science Program EvaluationTest (ESPET) in grade 4.

The average total raw score on the grade 6 Program Evaluation Test (PET) in socialstudies.

Table 4-A also report the degree of improvement or decline in:

The school-wide attendance rate.

The percentage of students who scored in the first quartile (Q1) during the previous yearwho make gains of five or more DRP units of the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) test.

The proportions of LEP students who make gains of 3 Normal Curve Equivalents (NCEs)on the English Language Assessment Battery, or who test out of entitlement tobilingual/ESL services (when appropriate).

Improvement in the Elementary Schools

The bottom line on Table 4-A shows that, across the elementary schools, improvementswere made on eight of the 10 measures reviewed. In three areas (PEP 3 reading, PEP 3 math,and PEP 6 math), the gains were particularly dramatic. In these three areas, the proportions ofstudents meeting the State's competency criteria increased by more than 10 percentage points.All the elementary schools had been cited for performance on the PEP grade 3 reading test, andthis was one of the three areas of greatest improvement. The PEP reading, math, and writing dataare presented in Figure 1.

Across the elementary schools, most other performance areas also showed moderateimprovement of one to 10 percentage points. These included performance on the grade 4 ESPETscience test, the grade 6 PEP reading test, the grade 6 PET social studies test. (The PET dataappear in Figure 2.) Performance on the grade 5 writing test was more variable. The dataindicate large improvements in three schools, and large declines in two schools, for an overalldecrease of 1.6 points in the percentage of students meeting the State minimum competencycriterion. Across the elementary schools, attendance either remained constant over time, orimproved. (Attendance data appear in Figure 3.)

The results for low-achieving (Q1) and LEP students were more variable. Overall,students in Q1 on the DRP made good progress at three schools, but lost ground at two others.Although the average gain for Q I students was positive, their performance varied greatly fromschool to school. More disturbingly, at three out of the four elementary schools reporting datafor LEP students, the proportion of students achieving the Chancellor's criterion for English-language acquisition fell, showing dramatic declines at two schools. This suggests that theemphasis on improving English reading achievement in grade 3 may have been achieved at theexpense of bilinguaVESL services for LEP students. Evidence for this appears in the interviewdata, in which two principals indicated that they had eliminated special programs for LEP students



School PEP 3Reading(Incr. In% AboveSRP)

PEP 3Math(Incr. In% AboveSRP)

PEP 6Reading(Ina. In%AboveSRP)

PEP 6Math(Incr. In% AboveSRP)

PEP 5Writing(Incr. In% AboveSRP)

ESPET 4Science(Incr. InAvg.RawScore,


PET 6SocialStudies(Incr. InAvg.TotalRawScore)


Q1 Pro-greas (In-crease in%

GainingS NCEs)


(Ina. in%()gain-big 3NCEs)



17.7 N.A. N.A. -13.9 4.9 N.A. 4.4 20.3


23.0 14.6 N.A. N.A. -2.3 4.1 N.A. -.8 -2.5 -7.7




9.9 N.A. N.A. 13.4 1.9 4.5 4.4 -10.5 -21.0



5.1 -4.4 20.8 7.5 5.2


_ _

1.4 24.9 -10.1



28.3 N.A. N.A. 26.0


3.0 N.A. 4.2 20.5 7.7



8.3 23.7 43.7 93.14(4)

4.5 2.7 -.2 -1.2 N.A.



27.5 12.6 7.6 24.0 -1.6 4.1 4.0 2.2 7.7 -10.4


(1) Each cell presents the improvement between the baseline year and the "year off."Differences of +1- 1 point were considered as no change.

(2) The areas) in which the school was cited.(3) See the middle school table (Table 4-C) also.(4) Probably due to a reporting error in 1988-89. This value was not included in the column average.(5) Unwcightcd average (insufficient data in the baseline year or the "year off').

18 0 0

9 /



1: P








es in







ve th



, Gra


3 an




In %



e S















P 3




P 6








ce P




P 3




P 5




6 R






re 2

: Ave




re G



e E




4 S



est a

nd th








, Gra


6 &



ge R

















T 4




T 6


. St.



T: c




t; P


: tot






T 8


. St.


25 20 15 10



3: A






in F


er S









nt C
































to emphasize reading in English. The data for Q1 and LEP students appear in Figure 4.

Table 4 -B presents the percentage of outcome areas showing improvement for each of the10 schools reported. Four of the six elementary schools improved on 75% or more of themeasures. Even the elementary school with the lowest improvement ratio still gained on threeout of seven measures, or about 43 percent of its outcome measures. The data suggest thatimprovements were substantial and fairly general in the elementary schools.



School Percentage of Improved Measures

CS 450 9/13 = 69.2%

PS 500 5/6 = 83.3%

PS 1500 3/7 = 42.9%

PS 560 6/8 = 75.0%

PS 1600 7/7 = 100.0%

PS 400 7/9 = 77.8%

IS 160 6/6 = 100.0%

JHS 200 2/6 = 33.3%

HS 1700 6/9 = 66.6% .

HS 2200 7/9 = 77.7%

Performance in the Middle Schools

For the middle schools, Table 4-C presents the degree of improvement or decline in:

The percentage of students scoring above the State Reference Point (SRP) on the PupilEvaluation Program (PEP) Tests of reading and math in grade 6 (when reported).

The average total raw score on the grade 6 Program Evaluation Test (PET) in socialstudies (when reported).

The percentage of students scoring abo9ve the State Reference Point(SRP) on thePreliminary Competency Tests (PCTs) in reading and writing in grade 8.


30 20 10 0

- 10


re 4




ent o

f Q

1 an













se In



g P






- 20


- 30























ile (








The percentage of students passing the Regents Competency Tests (RCT) in mathematics(when reported).

The school-wide attendance rate.

The percentage of students who scored in the first quartile (Q1) during the previous yearwho make gains of five or more DRP units of the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) test.

The proportions of LEP students who make gains of 3 Normal Curve Equivalents (NCEs)on the English Language Assessment Battery, or who test out of entitlement tobilinguaVESL services (when appropriate).


School PCT-Rdg.(Increase in% Passing)

PCT-Writ.(Increase in %Passing)

PET -Soc. St.(Increase InAvg. TotalRaw Score)

RCT MathIncrease in %Passing)

%-PointImprovementin Attendance

Q I Progress(Increase inthe % Gaining5 NCEs)

LEP progress(Increase inthe % Gaining3 NCEs)

IS 160 (2) 6.8 16.9 7.5 30.8 (3) 2.5 3.2 N.A.

JHS 200(2)

-7.7 -20.2 5.8 4.5 (3) -2.0 -18.1 N.A.

CS 450 (4) -3.7 -11.5 8.9 N.A. See elem.(5)

See elem.(5)

See elem.


ColumnAvg. (6)

-1.5 -4.9 7.4 17.7 .3 -7.5




(1) Each cell presents the improvement between the baseline year and the "year off."Differences of +1- 1 point were considered as no change.

(2) These schools' statistics include students from other mini-schools in the same building.(3) The area(s) in which the school was cited.(4) See the elementary school table (Table 4-A) also.(5) Because CS 450 serves mostly students in grades K-6, their data appear in the table with the otherelementary schools. It would not be appropriate to compare CS 450 with the other middle schools.

(6) Unweighted average (insufficient data in baseline year and "year oil").



Findings for the Middle/Intermediate Schools

There were two intermediate schools in the sample, as well as one community school (CS450) serving students in grades 1-8. Because CS 450 serves primarily students at the elementarylevel, its outcomes for attendance, LEP progress, and progress for low-achieving students areincluded with the other elementary schools in Table 4-A. The performance of CS 450's 8thgraders on the PCT reading and writing tests and the PET social studies test is reported with theother middle schools in Table 4-B. Figures 2 through 5 present theseoutcomes in graphic form.

IS 160 and JHS 200 were cited for RCT mathematics, the area in which they made thegreatest progress. Performance also rose consistently in social studies at all three schools.Compared with the elementary schools, however, performance in the middle/intermediate schoolswas more mixed in the other areas reported. Performance on the PCTs in reading and writingwas very variable, declining at two of the schools while they were on the "SURR" list. (SeeFigure 5 for PCT performance.)

Overall improvement ratios for the middle schools are reported on Table 4-B, above. Onemiddle school appeared to make progress in more areas than the others, but each improved inmore areas than just the one for which it had been cited.

Performance in the High Schools

For the high schools, Table 4-D reports the degree of improvement or decline in:

The percentage of students passing the Regents Competency Tests (RCT) in reading,mathematics, science, writing, and US history.

The percentage of students graduating with a Regents diploma.

The school's dropout rate.

The school-wide attendance rate.

The percentage of students who scored in the first quartile (Q1) during the previous yearwho make gains of five or more DRP units of the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) test.

The proportions of LEP students who make gains of 3 Normal Curve Equivalents (NCEs)on the English Language Assessment Battery, or who test out of entitlement tobilingual/ESL services (when appropriate).




- 10


- 30

Figure 5: PCT Reading and Writing TestsChanges in the Percent of Students

Above the SRP

Change In % Above SRP

I I i1

IS 160 JHS 200 CS 450 Avg.


\ Reading I I Writing

SRP - State Reference Point







Figure 6: Changes in the Percentof Students Passing RCT Exams

Change In % Passing

-30IS 160 JHS 200 1700 2200


ISM Math Reading VA WritingScience US Hist.

RCT - Regents Competency Tests





School RCT-Rdg(Incr. in


RCT-Math(Incr. in%


RCT-Science(Incr. in%


RCT- USHistory(Incr. in%


RCT -Writing(Incr. in%


Incr. In%Getting aRegentsDiploma

%-pointChangein theDrop-outRate (2)

%-pointImprove-ment inAttend-ance

Q IProgress

(Incr. In%Gaining 5NCEs)

LEP Pro-gross

(Incr. In%

Gaining3 NCEs)


21.8 14.6 (3) 11.4 -.1 -20.0(3)

-1.2 -2.3 5.0(3)

8.0 N.A.


25.8 (3) 4.4

(3)10.0 -19.6 N.A. 2.0 -1.8

(3)9.3 5.2 -20.0


23.8 9.5 10.7 -9.9 (5) .4 -2.1 7.2 6.6 (5)


(1) Each cell presents the improvement between the baseline year and the "year oft"Differences of +1- 1 point were considered as no change.

(2) In this case, a negative change is a desirable outcome -- a reduction in the dropout rate.(3) The area(s) in which the school was cited.(4) Unweighted average (insufficient data in baselineyear and "year off").(5) No averages were calculated because of insufficient data.

Patterns of Improvement in the High Schools

The two high schools in the sample were cited in various areas. HS 1700 was cited forRCT performance in math and writing, as well as attendance. HS 2200 was cited for RCTperformance in reading and math, and for its high dropout rate (see Table 4-D). The availabledata show that, except for the RCT in writing at HS 1700, the schools improved in all the areas inwhich they were cited. Both schools showed improvement on the reading, mathematics andscience RCTs (see Figure 6). They also showed improvements in the progress of low-performingstudents on the DRP, as well as the school wide dropout and attendance rates. Performancevaried more on the US history RCT, and again, the pattern of declining performance for LEPstudents was discouraging. Overall, however, both high schools showed improved performancein at least two-thirds of the measures reported (see Table 4-B, above).




All the schools showed some improvement. Almost universally, the schools improved inthe areas for which they had been cited. But beyond that, eight of the 10 schools improved intwo-thirds or more of the measures included in the analysis. Across the schools, the data indicatethat all schools demonstrated stronger performance, and that the improvements were oftensubstantial.

2410 5

U.S. Department of EducationOffice of Educational Research and improvement (0ERI)

National Library of Education (NLE)Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)




0 D0302


0( ../vvorcivote./4- (v\ uouAuthor(s): oreein Cimoe_11Corporate Source:

akta-kl\ c--t cr: A-1es fkrefiPublication Date:

PO lie.t/Kber-


In order to disseminate as widely as possible timely and significant materials of interest to the educational community, documents announced in themonthly abstract journal of the ERIC system, Resources in Education (RIE), are usually made available to users in microfiche, reproduced paper copy,and electronic media, and sold through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). Credit is given to the source of each document, and, ifreproduction release is granted, one of the following notices is affixed to the document.

If permission is granted to reproduce and disseminate the identified document, please CHECK ONE of the following three options and sign at the bottomof the page.

The sample sticker shown below will besuffixed to all Level 1 documents







Check here for Level I release. permitting reproductionand disummination in rniaoliche or other ERIC archival

melds (e.g.. electronic) and Prom coro

The sample slicker shown below will beMixed to ail Level 2A documents








Level 2A

Check here for Level 2A release. permitting reproductionand dissemination In microfiche and In electronic media

ray ERIC archival =Section subscribers only

The sample sticker shown below well beWaxed to all Level 28 documents






Level 2B


Check here for Level 28 release. ewielitinereproduction and dissemination In micsollche only

Documents Mil be processed as Mdcated provided reproduction gustily panting.If permission to reproduce is granted. but no box Is ducked. documents WI be processed el Level 1.

I hereby grant to the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) nonexclusive permisslOn to reproduce and disseminate this documentas indicated above. Reproduction from the ERIC microfiche or electronic media by persons other than ERIC employees and its systemcontractors requires permission from the copyright holder. Exception is made for non-profit reproduction by libraries and other service agenciesto satisfy information needs of educators in response to discrete inquiries.


Please adttk AcA.-'sokte,i Priort+iCS 1464c Uhtrre,r El7 le" Poor ivy Ny (0007

Prated tierno/Posilia9(11tie:

No fe-e-14 DI/ yellAce641 02. 1)4' rector1.12:2?6q- 73 417E Mad Address: .

Af y C-43ard. Co_

FAX: 73Sf

HI. DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY INFORMATION (FROM NON-ERIC SOURCE):If permission to reproduce is not granted to ERIC, or, if you wish ERIC to cite the availability of the document from another source, pleaseprovide the following information regarding the availability of the document. (ERIC will not announce a document unless it is publiclyavailable, and a dependable source can be specified. Contributors stibuld also be aware that ERIC selection criteria are significantly morestringent for documents that cannot be made available through EDRS.)




IV. REFERRAL OF ERIC TO COPYRIGHT/REPRODUCTION RIGHTS HOLDER:If the right to grant this reproduction release is held by someone other than the addressee, please provide the appropriate name andaddress:




Send this form to the following ERIC Clearinghouse:

ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban EducationBox 40, Teachers College

Columbia UniversityNew York, NY 10027

However, if solicited by the ERIC Facility, or if making an unsolicited contribution to ERIC, return this form (and the document beingcontributed) to:

EFF-088 (Rev. 9/97)

Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be ... · that Dr. Adelaide Sanford, member of the NYS Boardof Regents, has playedat the national, stale, and city levels 10 develop - [PDF Document] (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 6125

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.