Monday, November 21, 2005

It can be done

There are several things in this article about Chester County schools that were encouraging to me.

I've always maintained that it's one thing to work for the system, it's another to work for the system and have your children subjected to it. If it's not good enough for your children, why should it be good enough for mine? Apparently, it is good enough for this teacher and I'm happy for her and her daughter.

Mother Sarah Hibbett, who taught in the system for four years, wanted her daughter, Elisabeth, in Chester County Schools.

"I know what kind of teachers they are, and I wanted my child to sit at their feet and learn from them," she said. "We thank God every day she is where she is, and we've never been concerned about whether she was getting what she needed academically."

And here's a bit of truth:

They say they're not doing anything unique and they don't have any secrets when it comes to the high test scores they've consistently received since the state began giving report cards in the early 1990s.

School system officials compiled a list of 18 factors they believe contribute to their students' success. Those include dedicated teachers, community and parent support, high expectations, team meetings among the teachers, a remediation lab that helps students who are behind in a skill level, and credit recovery for high school students.
Finally, comes this comment:

"We've seen great gains for systems that have students that come from low incomes, but it depends on the personalized instruction of the schools. That's where you'll notice the real improvement," said Rachel Woods, an Education Department spokeswoman.

I really believe that personalized instruction is really hard and expensive to get in larger district schools. The day we moved away from smaller neighborhood schools was a dark day for our children, our families and our neighborhoods. It's good to read of the success in Chester County. And to read that rural and poor doesn't have to mean dumb.

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