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Data-Driven Instruction Drives Reform
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A new principal, changes to the teaching staff, a new instructional design, a district program for high-poverty schools that provides services, and an almost single-minded focus on instruction and data helped rejuvenate Dayton's Bluff Elementary School. Included: A look at a school's transformation.

Courtesy of The Achievement Alliance

Five years ago, Dayton's Bluff Elementary was known as the worst school in St. Paul and one of the worst in Minnesota. Located on the eastern side of the city, surrounded by a neighborhood of wood-frame houses where the occasional crack house is easily spotted and two murders were reported in two weeks, nine out of ten children could not read on grade level.

Today the school is very different. In 2004 more than eight of 10 students at Dayton's Bluff met or exceeded the state reading standards and the school is poised to post even higher gains for 2005. Classrooms are calm, students work hard, and last year no teacher left to teach at another St. Paul school.

Dayton's Bluff is proving that students who do terribly elsewhere can achieve academic success. Not only that, but it demonstrates that a school's improvement can be both rapid and sustained; line charts of Dayton's Bluff's progress on test scores look exponential, with no significant change in the student demographic make-up.

Dayton's Bluff's dramatic turnaround can be attributed to many factors, among them a new principal, an overhaul of the teaching staff, a new instructional design, a district program for high-poverty schools that provides community services, and an almost single-minded focus on instruction and data.

To read the full story, see It's Being Done: Dayton's Bluff Elementary, St. Paul, Minnesota

SOURCE

The Achievement Alliance

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