Monday, December 28, 2009

A+ Schools Ready to Crunch Equal Access Data

Two months ago teams of 3 or 4 A+ Schools volunteers meet with 23 public middle and high school principals to administer a 60-question interview that the organization hopes will serve as a base for system wide reforms. The interviews are part of the community action research initiative called “School Works” that A+ Schools Executive Director Carey Harris says is aimed at, “ending the achievement gap, so school works for all students.” The interviews were meant to determine if all students have equal access to learning opportunities, quality teaching and resources. Harris says most of the questions were multiple choice but there were some opened ended questions on the form. The data was shipped of to consultant to be tabulated and A+ Schools will present the information at three separate public events. Harris says the January 23, March 11, and April 29 sessions will each address a different slice of the data. A+ will present the participants with the data, begin discussions, break into small groups and then build recommendations. Harris says participants will use hand held voting devices to register their opinions. After each meeting, recommendations will be sent to appropriate groups including Pittsburgh Public Schools administrators, elected officials and union leaders. Harris says participants will then be asked to support those recommendations by writing letters, testifying at meetings and crafting letters to the editor. People who want to take part in the meetings must sign up at the A+ Schools web site. Harris says they need to know how many people will be at each session so they can plan for food and childcare needs. Harris says she hopes her organization is, “creating a roll for the public in school reform by giving people a positive and constructive way to influence school reform so it can continue.”

No comments: