Urban schools moving from grade "D" to "A": Principals' perspectives
The accountability measures for student achievement have increased over the last five years for New York City Public Schools. In addition to existing local, state and federal accountability systems, yet another evaluative tool has been added - a "Progress Report". The report indicates a letter grade of "A" to "F" for a school by combining the results of three components — school environment, student performance and student progress.
As the body of literature indicates accountability for student performance is at an all-time high, principals are held accountable for demonstrating school achievement. With the pressure for schools to succeed primarily placed on the shoulders of principals as well as on the backs of the teachers and the school community this study explored through the lens of a principal what factors they attribute to school improvement using the progress report as the evaluative tool for school success.
This study reviewed four schools whose progress report score moved from a "D" to an "A" within three years to (1) share factors which impacted school improvement and (2) to determine if there are any consistent influencing factors that impacted school improvement among the schools. The data which was analyzed consists of 18 interviews from principals and school community members as well as the NYCDOE Progress Reports from school year 2006-07 until 2010-11. Observational notes of site visits and data retrieved from the NYS accountability reports were utilized to include school profile information of the participating schools.
Results indicate that from a principal's perspective there are a number of factors that can be attributed to schools moving from a "D" to an "A" on the progress report within three years. Consistent factors among the schools are high expectations, collaboration, effective instruction, on-going professional development, analyzing data and the establishment of school-wide systems.
0449: Educational leadership