Good evening from Richmond, VA. I just spent 2 days co-teaching the SUPES Academy with Dr. Cindy Loe, former superintendent of schools in Fulton County, GA, and prior to that the principal deputy to Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks in Gwinnett County, GA. Cindy is considered by many of us as one of the leaders in moving the work of schools to accelerate the performance of students and their teachers.
During our sessions, I heard Cindy refer many times to “measuring the School Effect”. During this, Cindy stressed to our aspiring school superintendents the importance of teasing out those factors which we cannot control in high-poverty schools when measuring school performance. Too often those we dwell on issues of : circumstances of the home, education level of the parents, socio-economic disadvantage, and the list goes on. While we know that many factors make the work of teachers and schools more difficult, when we focus on what we cannot do, and fail to solely focus on what WE CAN do, we fail in measuring the true SCHOOL EFFECT–or, what effect is the school having on issues of academic progress and student success.
There is much more to this, but suffice it to say–we must always focus on what we can do, and not what we cannot and that is exactly what successful schools do, especially in areas where high concentrations of disadvantaged kids reside.
Good luck to the aspiring school superintendents working together in Richmond. I shall tell your Chicago SUPES academy counter-parts how much I enjoyed each of you and working with Cindy.
Have a great weekend.