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Principal Sets Tone for Success

A large urban school with a diverse population, Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Vernon, N.Y., nevertheless posts scores above those in wealthier neighborhoods. A management style that supports teachers helps make the difference. Included: Information about a successful urban school.

Courtesy of The Achievement Alliance

Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Vernon, New York, has become so used to performing toward the top of the state that its performance hardly seems remarkable anymore.

When the preliminary results from the 2005 state English Language Arts test showed that all but one of the fourth-grade students scored at or above state standards, the staff was pleased, but their only surprise was about the student who did not score well. I know he can do the work, I guess he just had a bad day, said his teacher, Mary Anderson.

Some years -- such as 2004 -- no one had a bad day and Lincoln posted 100 percent of students as meeting or exceeding state standards.

Few people expect schools like Lincoln to perform at such a high level. A large school, it has 800 or so students, 43 percent of whom are African American and 21 percent Latino. In 2005, 41 percent of the children received free lunch and another 11 percent received reduced-price lunch, a measure of poverty (in the 2003-4 school year it was 36 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

Principal George Albano is convinced that the reason other schools do not match the performance of Lincoln is simply one of poor management, a problem that could be solved with better training of school leaders.

According to Albano, poor management drives so many teachers out of the profession that it appears as if the nation has a teaching shortage, when in fact, the real shortage is in skilled principals.


The Achievement Alliance

To read the full story, see We Can't Give Up on a Generation of Children.

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