Thursday, May 20, 2010

Think College

Forbes on Oakland's Think College Now elementary school, a regular public school that's adopted the model of the No Excuses charter schools with apparent success:

Roughly 95% of the 300 students at Think College Now, an elementary public school in Oakland, Calif., qualify for a subsidized lunch. English is a second language for 60% of kids. It is in a gritty neighborhood, in a city where 68% of students graduate from high school and only 30% go on to college. At the end of 2003, this school's first year, 10% of kids spoke English at grade level. Only 23% were math proficient. Yet last year 66% qualified in English, 81% met the state math standard and the school is on track to hit a 90% goal in 2012. TCN's score on a state academic test was 848, compared with 790 statewide and 695 for the Oakland district. The school's first class goes to college in 2012.

The secret is unapologetic ambition and focus. That's backed up with frequent testing, transparent results and quick intervention when someone drifts off the plan. "Kids in poor neighborhoods are held to a low standard," says principal David Silver, 36, who started the school in the fall of 2002 as part of a "small schools" initiative in Oakland. "We make it clear to them that there are standards, and we give them a way to meet them." The goal is to have everyone attend college.


Think College

Quentin Hardy, 05.20.10, 06:00 PM EDT
Forbes Magazine dated June 07, 2010

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