Successful Students

Equity Schools are on Passing Track

By Keith Gambill
President, Evansville Teachers Association

Conventional wisdom says that unions and school administrations are like oil and water—they don’t mix. But, the Evansville Teachers Association likes to challenge the norm. And, because of our bold partnership with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, I’m thrilled to announce that released this month were the results from the EVSC’s ISTEP scores, highlighting escalating results in our Equity Schools.

The three Equity Schools in Evansville are Delaware and Howard Roosa Elementary Schools and McGary Middle School, which were the corporation’s lowest performing schools.

But in just under a year, substantial gains were seen in the passing rate. When it comes to English /Language Arts, Delaware’s fourth graders saw a whopping 22 percent gain. Fourth and fifth graders knocked the ball out of the park in the category of math—each grade saw an increase of 29 percent increase. Howard Roosa’s fourth graders increased its English/Language Arts score by 10 percent. And, McGary Middle School eighth graders increased its reading and math scores by 7 percent. No small feat for schools considered low-performing a year ago!

Equity Schools started through a collaborative arrangement between the corporation and ETA. We spent several days of professional development learning about communication styles, making building decisions, developing action research projects and designing new, engaging classroom activities. Then, teachers were given the autonomy to decide the length of the school day; the number of days students and teachers would attend; how the school day would be structured; and strategies to be used.

These gains are proof that students can succeed when teachers and administrators come together to decide what’s best for kids.

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