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Toledo Blade: Robinson Elementary Ends Year of Reform Not With Dread, But Expectation

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM


The Toledo Blade's Nolan Rosenkrans has been following a year of school "reform" at one of Toledo's lowest-performing schools.

Visiting Robinson Elementary at the end of this school year, he reports some promising signs, like teachers sticking around for next year:

Robinson's stability means training can be tailored to fix faults, not to bring new staff up to speed. Connections between staff and parents can grow, as, officials hope, will Robinson pride...

The year was a benchmark year for Robinson; the school is essentially new, since it added six grades and had largely new staff. Test scores won't come in for months. But there's a feeling in the building of expectation, not dread.

Another Robinson staff member tells the Blade that an in-school suspension program that mentored seems to be having an effect:

"The kids feel better about the school than they did on the first day," [coordinator Marcus Goodwin] said.

The changes at Robinson Elementary School are extensive, and are supposed to be a model for other schools across the city:

The former Robinson Middle School is being overhauled. Its entire staff was removed, and it will open in the fall as a K-8 school. Hiring will be done by the school, not the district, in a departure from traditional Toledo Public Schools practice.

A performance-pay model will be tried out at the school. An intensive reading program will be added. A summer camp will debut next year. And Robinson will be one of two schools to develop a "schools-as-hub" model that partners TPS buildings with community-based organizations.

They were funded in part by a $1.5 million federal School Improvement Grant.

You should read the full series here, especially this story.

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