Successful Students

Education Leaders Plan Collaboration on Priority Schools

Raising Achievement in Priority Schools is Focus of Union-District Teams

NEW YORK CITY – March 04, 2010 – Public education professionals from classrooms to local governments to the Obama Administration meet here Thursday to continue mapping collaborative approaches to significantly raising academic achievement in the nation’s lower-performing five percent of public schools. These Priority Schools are the subject of an unprecedented campaign by the National Education Association to bring public education stakeholders together to help lead permanent change.

The NEA Priority Schools Campaign is focused on agreement-based school transformation approaches involving educators, communities and policymakers in state capitals, in Congress and the Obama administration; collaboration on innovative programs to measure student success and teacher quality; and attracting and keeping the best educators and necessary resources for the schools of greatest need.

To move the collaboration ahead, NEA is hosting a unique day of talks prior to the Celebration of Teaching & Learning, among invited local members and leaders, local education agency leaders and the U.S. Department of Education to discuss and advance action plans, in collaboration with state affiliates and their state partners, to inform and influence the federal School Improvement Grant process. The session is closed to the news media.

Goals for the day include hearing the latest understanding and expectations for the grants from federal education officials, sharing best practices, and launching a virtual professional learning community to facilitate continued collaborative work in the coming months.

The $3.5 billion School Improvement Grant program provides funding to schools that “have the greatest need for the funds and demonstrate the strongest commitment to use the funds to raise significantly the achievement of their students.” The funds must be used to implement one of four intervention models—Turnaround, Restart, Closure, or Transformation – in each school designated for grant funding.

 “For all of our ideals and beliefs and statements, we have never created a system that really delivers on the promise of the American dream to every student.  That’s why lower-performing schools are Priority Schools for NEA. Plain and simple, the status quo is not acceptable.  We cannot continue to do in America what we’ve been doing to students for the last 20, 30, 50 years.”

– NEA President Dennis Van Roekel

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