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The Sound of Ideas

Shining Charter Schools

Posted Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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Three local schools truly stood out on the recent state report cards. They're places where parents volunteer and teachers visit every one of their students' homes. At one, students are required to show up for extra work on Saturdays. All three schools are in Cleveland, and all three are charters. Wednesday morning at 9 join ideastream®'s Dan Moulthrop and school leaders to find out why these schools are achieving what other schools only strive for.

Tags

Education

Guests

Brooke King, Executive Director, The Intergenerational School
Perry White, Founder and Executive Director, Citizens Academy
John Zitzner, Co-founder, Cleveland Entrepreneurship Preparatory School

Additional Information

3 Cleveland charter schools' students earn good state report cards, by Edith Starzyk, The Plain Dealer
Most Cleveland district 'innovation' schools are getting good marks, by Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer

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Dee Eisner 9:36 PM 9/1/09

My Future Teachers program at John Marshall High School (11-12th grade students) will be listening with interest, during class time to Wed program about success of the 3 Cleveland charter schools.  While we congratulate the success of these innovative schools, here in a large traditional comprehensive high school, we wonder when our turn will come to implement strategies that will bring us the same type of success.

nancy 9:06 AM 9/2/09

THIS IS A NICE PROGRAM...KEEP DOING WHAT U GUYS ARE DOIN

Jedidiah fabian 9:31 AM 9/2/09

I think the public school system should work a little bit more on the outter part of the school system. The performances of these students would start to increase rapidly. Although there is a difference between the school type. I think this dedication with the parent student program should be passed throughout cleveland.

AW 4:54 PM 9/2/09

ORGANIZATIONAL observations can add insight to the discussion; it’s not just the philosophies and forcefulness ("student-centered" “accountability” “dedication” “caring” “inter-generational").
* “Choices” - of what adults kids may learn with, and what and how they may study - are organizationally ensured or inhibited based on organizational set-ups of time and expected relationships.
* Home visits, multi-age classrooms, multi-adult classrooms, and required pairings of people who can teach each other things, are matters of organization.
* Organization silently helps or hinders the ability of everyone in a system to meet a kid’s needs, including the kid’s own ability.  (Being “too busy,” with too many periods, too many meetings, and too many “assigned” children, is a sign of poor organization of everyone’s time and focus.)
* Organization also builds a culture that helps or hinders the ease and routineness of people adapting creatively to meet their goals.

Overall, we live in a culture that believes in tight schedules, and is ever re-scheduling missed appointments (mandating the exact day and time for both people, which mathematically is a lot of factors to get all lined up).  To achieve more regular parent meetings and participation:  require involvement (such as 3 parent-school visits/month), and create a flexible set-up in which it can happen with high (mathematic) probability: for example, set a daily time in which an activity can happen, but not the day that it actually happens, or set the day, but not the time (which hour of the day).  Set the activity, such as tutoring or dance practice, but don’t pre-set which adults and kids will be there to do it.  Set the spaces up for particular activities, but don’t mandate having only one “teacher” in that space, nor which kids must be in it at any given time.

* Some people, both kids and adults, do better with “drop-in” organizational structures, and some people do better with “rigid-and-required” organizational structures.  Keep organizational adjustments in mind, in serving everyone’s natural needs.
* Back-up structures are important aspects of organization either way: if one person can’t be there, other people are there to meet the same need, or if one activity can’t be done or focused on, other activities are equally available.  And if some students want to stay focused in one way, while others want to move on, all students should be allowed to pursue their own focus - their own learning.

Carl 11:49 AM 9/4/09

Just wanted let you know - Our daughter is a 7th grader at E-Prep; this is her second year.  Since attending, her grades have improved dramatically and, equally important to my wife and me, she reports feeling “safe in school”, for the first time.  If you ask her if she likes E-Prep, without hesitation, she’ll tell you that she hates it!  However, every evening (upon arriving home from work), I greet her by asking if she had a good day at school/if she had fun; daily, her response is “we had had fun, today”!

My wife and I are very pleased with E-Prep.

Joane, Cleveland 11:52 AM 9/4/09

My 7 year old grandson is in the 2nd grade this year and at a CPS.  He was tested, in the 1st grade, at 6, to have an IQ of 115.  The testers considered it low because he scored just above average in math.  He was tested and it was determined he reads and comprehends on a 5th grade level.  He loves Harry Potter.  He went from 0 points to 69,000 points playing ‘Bookworm’ within 2 weeks of attempting the game.  Once mastered he looses interest.  He helped his 1st grade and kdg teachers with computer problems.  His vocabulary is that of an 8th grader(this was tested).  He sees a word he does not know, he looks it up on the computer, determine meaning, make sentences until he understands it.  As a black child in a predominately black school is the bullying.  He speaks well.  Nothing about him is ‘ghetto’ due to his up bringing.  He is hit.  Punched. Just because he is intelligent and knows the answer or does not ‘sound’ like them.  His answer is his vocabulary.  He told one kid, last year, he was an ignoramous.  The kid ran to the teacher saying he ‘cussed’ at him.  When she found out what it was, she laughed for a week.  She, then, explained the meaning.  He never bothered him again.  Yet, this is a new year.  Will he have to endure this again? 
We are a hands on family.  There are 3 generations of educators, the last being his great aunt who retired after 30+ yrs teaching.  Education is a must.  His 3 yr old sister is more advanced than he, speaking.  Her syntax is perfect.  My daughter is looking for alternatives.  That ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he grew up poor’ attitude is wearing thin.

Tremont 11:53 AM 9/4/09

While there may be some good charter schools, there are many more really bad ones.
Charter schools take huge sums of start up money from the state and get very little oversight.
My child went to one that was supposed to be for gifted and talented students. When the parents began to express concerns, we were bullied by the board president (who is a high powered Federal Attorney) intimidated, thrown off the PTA, denied the right to visit the child’s classroom, received veiled threats that continued complaints would result in problems for us outside the school. The Board President claimed the schools were his and he was the only one entitled to an opinion.

That school received $500, 000.00 in state start up, used it to rehab an old building, closed without notice and put another school in there.
Most charters are money sucking and dangerous.

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