Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Achievement First: Would it work in a rural area?

This morning I came across the Achievement First Charter School website. Not only does Achievement First appear to be highly successful, they have an excellent website that breaks down their philosophy, curriculum, expectations, and methods. One of the most interesting pages I came across was their "12 Lessons about School Reform". Here they are:


1. "These kids" CAN Learn
2. Leadership Matters - Mightily
3. Teachers Are More Important Than Curricula...
4. ...But Some Curricular Are Better Than Others
5. "Mere Mortals" Not "Superhumans"
6. An Unwavering Focus on Student Achievement
7. Interim Assessments and the Strategic Use of Data
8. One Hundred 1% Solutions
9. Serve ALL Urban Kids
10. Sweat the Small Stuff
11. Fidelity to a Clear, Consistent Model
12. Flywheel v. Doom Loop

I would love to see whether this model would work in the poor rural areas of South Carolina. Most charter school systems have targeted urban areas, since there is more money to be made there. It would be more difficult to attract the quality of teachers to rural areas, and their money per student is a lot less than urban districts, but if these charter school systems are truly out to prove that their methods work universally then the "corridor of shame" is the place to do it.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Rory,
Another set of charter schools that are based on the same precepts are the KIPP schools. You might want to check out their school in Gaston, NC to see how this works in a rural area.

Mike & Kara said...

Rory,
I am a teacher at an Achievement First school in New Haven, CT. I can say with some confidence that it is not a lack of funding that keeps AF out of rural areas. In CT AF recieves an average of $2,000 less per student per year than public schools in the same city. As an organization AF is young and growing at an impressive rate. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw us creating schools for change in those rural areas that you were speaking of a few years down the road.

Peace.

Mike