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Atlanta School
Surpasses Expectations

Staff members at Atlanta, Georgia's Capitol View Elementary School push themselves and their students to excel, because they know so many people expect them to fail. The school in a low-income area posts some of the best test scores in the state. Included: Description of a successful school's curriculum and structure.

Courtesy of The Achievement Alliance

One thing that drives the teachers and administrators at Atlanta, Georgia's,Capitol View Elementary School to work hard is the knowledge that some people expect them to fail.

"The expectation that we will fail pushes us higher," is how second-grade teacher Amanee Salahuddin put it. "There are people who say, 'They won't be able to match last year's test scores.'"

Almost all of Capitol View's 250 or so students are African American and most are poor, with more than 70 percent meeting the requirements for the federal free and reduced-price meal program. The school sits in a neighborhood in southwest Atlanta, which, although it has lately been somewhat gentrified, is still thought of by Atlantans as dominated by strip clubs and daytime prostitutes. These facts alone would be enough to explain academic failure in the eyes of many. And yet Capitol View has been one of the top-performing schools in the state for years.

In 2005, not only did 97 percent of all students meet state standards in reading and English Language Arts, but 58 percent exceeded them -- and more than 80 percent of the fifth graders exceeded standards in reading. Math scores were a little less impressive -- 90 percent met standards, with 35 percent exceeding them, but with few exceptions those scores are only matched in Georgia by schools where very few students are poor.

To read the full story, see It's Being Done: Capital View Elementary, Atlanta, Georgia


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