Great Schools Visit | Houston | 10-9-2017

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Today, the third round of the Kauffman Foundation's Great School Visits kicked off in Houston, Texas. The attendees enjoyed a welcome dinner at Massas' South Coast Grill. The group heard from Colleen Dippel with Families Empowered and learned about how the organization promotes parent engagement. 

 

Profiles in KC Education | Angela DeWilde, Executive Director, Start at Zero

Angela DeWilde, Executive Director, Start at Zero

Angela DeWilde, Executive Director, Start at Zero

What does Start at Zero (SaZ) do?

SaZ works with parents of children, birth to age five, to support them in getting their children ready for school and life. The organization believes that parents are their child’s first and best teacher. Our mission is to ensure that parents have the tools they need to be participants in and advocates for their child’s education.

What inspired you to begin the organization?

I was an elementary special education teacher for Kansas City Public Schools and saw education through the lens of an educator. As a parent, I began to see how much goes on before the age of five that contributes to what goes on in K-12. As I worked on my early childhood education certification, I was able to experience the value of home visiting/parent education and I wanted to bring that model to parents everywhere.

Is home visiting/parent education a priority?

In Kansas City, more attention has been given to home visiting and that has led to the creation of Promise 1000, a collaboration of all the home visiting agencies. We’re asking people to welcome someone into their home to provide support services and we need to better market the benefits of home visiting.

How long has SaZ been around?

SaZ has been an official nonprofit (501 c 3) for thirteen months but was founded in 2013. We completed a two-year pilot, funded by the Kauffman Foundation, in 2016.

What results are you seeing through your programming?

·         Using the Life Skills Progression and comparing pretest and posttest scores, 88% of parents who participated in six or more months of home visiting showed an increase in or maintenance of their positive parenting behaviors (including nurturing, discipline, support of development, and safety). 

·         72% of parents demonstrated increased use of supportive resources for their family’s well-being. 

·         77% of children enrolled remain on-track with their developmental milestones as measured through the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. 

The organization believes that parents are their child’s first and best teacher.
— Angela DeWilde

What issues do you see SaZ tackling in the future?

We want to scale our model of putting parent educators in elementary schools. Also, there is great opportunity for a parent leadership component and we’ll be looking at ways to help parents gain confidence, feel empowered, and become better leaders.

What excites you about the current educational landscape in Kansas City?

There’s a lot happening in education right now. I am really excited about the collaborations that I’m seeing amongst organizations and agencies focused on education. And I’m hoping those partnerships will help create stronger impact!

Any words of advice for others interested in getting involved education?

Take some time to explore the education community and really understand which organizations are providing what resources. This will help determine gaps in our education community and give people an opportunity to jump in and make immediate impact.

Ms. DeWilde in action.

Ms. DeWilde in action.

The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. For more information on Start at Zero, please visit https://www.startatzero.org/.

Great Schools Visit | Chicago | Gary Comer College Prep & Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy

Chicago Schools (March 22, 2017)

Gary Comer College Prep

  • Opened doors In August 2008
  • Founding class of 101 seniors graduated with 100% college acceptance at four-year universities
  • Student body  that is 96% African American and 4% Hispanic
  • Students attend “Early College Scholars” seminars

 

Art work at Gary Comer College Prep

Art work at Gary Comer College Prep

Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy

  • One of nine selective enrollment high schools in the Chicago Public Schools system
  • Located in Chicago’s South Side
  • Student body is 97% minority and approximately 80% low-income
  • "Balanced" calendar
Entering Lindblom

Entering Lindblom

Great Schools Visit | San Diego | Thrive Public Schools & e3 Civic High

On Tuesday, the tour group from Kansas City, wrapped up their final day by visiting two schools: Thrive Public Schools (54th Street Campus) and e3 Civic High. 

Some tidbits from Thrive:

  • TK-12 charter organization (54th St. is TK - 6)
  • Students become college-prepared, career-inspired, and community-minded
  • Lottery-based enrollment system
  • Focus on project-based learning with elements of blended learning
  • Social emotional learning is also a priority 
Students at Thrive

Students at Thrive

It’s not about human doing, it’s about human being.
— Nicole Tempel Assisi, Thrive CEO (on their social emotional learning focus)

The group then toured e3 Civic High in downtown San Diego. Highlights from e3:

  • 9 - 12 high school
  • e3 stands for engage, educate, and empower
  • Partnered with San Diego Public Library to co-locate downtown
  • Over 50% of the students reside downtown 
  • Project-based instruction, access to research facilities, state-of-the-art technology
  • Incredible views of downtown San Diego and the bay
Show Choir Room

Show Choir Room

Great Schools Visit | San Diego | Design39Campus & High Tech High

Today, the group had the privilege of touring two incredible schools in San Diego.

The morning was spent at Design39Campus. Joe Erpelding, principal, shared the following highlights:

  • Design39Campus (D39C) was the 39th school opened in the Poway Unified School District and is rooted in design thinking
  • 14% free and reduced lunch with a population of 1,150 T to 8 students
  • Opened in 2014; have lost 2-3 teachers and roughly 100 students since opening
  • Enrollment is lottery-based and students from seven community facilities districts (CFDs) within zip code 92127 may participate in selection process
What does it mean to be life-ready?
— Joe Erpelding, principal (a question that D39C tries to answer through their curriculum)

Click here for more pictures from D39C

The afternoon was spent touring High Tech High (HTH). Larry Rosenstock, CEO, and Kaleb Rashad, director, educated the group on the origins of HTH and what makes the school successful. HTH opened in 2000 and has since "evolved into an integrated network of thirteen charter schools serving approximately 5,300 students in grades K-12 across three campuses." HTH also offers a graduate school of education. HTH is "guided by four connected design principles—equity, personalization, authentic work, and collaborative design".

Love the hell out of people!
— Kaled Rashad, director (on the advice given to him when he took the helm)

More pictures from High Tech High here

Additional group insights:

Great Schools Visit | San Diego

The San Diego Great Schools Visit is off to a phenomenal start! The group includes representatives from diverse organizations including: Rockhurst University, United Inner City Services, Kansas City Public Schools, Turner Unified School District, and Kansas City Public Library, to name a few.

Dinner was held at Seasons 52 and the group was joined by Alec Barron, principal investigator for Competency X (a project at Del Lago Academy), which "badges scholars in science and engineering practices." Also present, was Katie Martin, mobile technology researcher at University of San Diego.

On this tour, the group will see schools that have blended learning, personalized learning, project-based learning, and character development initiatives.

The Great School Visits are designed to expose Kansas Citians to high-performing, urban schools with similar student populations to those of Kansas City. The visits began in the Fall of 2015 and tour groups have visited Boston, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco/Bay Area and Washington D.C. Participants form new networks across all industries and are inspired and encouraged to innovate community-based solutions to challenges in our local educational ecosystem. The visits are unique in that they do not have pre-determined end goals, but create an environment where solutions can be nurtured and thrive. The Great Schools Visits are made possible and sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation.

School Tours KC February Tour

On Friday, February 24, a group of roughly 22 community members toured the following schools: Crossroads Academy; Academie Lafayette; Foreign Language Academy; and Paseo Academy

The group started its day at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City (BBBS). Jon Hile, former president of Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) board and COO of BBBS, welcomed the group and briefly shared about the importance of mentor/mentee (big/little) relationships.

Erik Stafford, local historian, then briefed the group on the history of our local education system.

Erik Stafford

Crossroads Academy

  • A group of Crossroads Academy middle school students designed an experiment to study the impact of micro-gravity on the germination of sunflower seeds. They submitted their project to a competition sponsored by NASA – and won! Over 2,000 experiments were submitted nation-wide and only 24 experiments were selected to be rocketed to the International Space Station
  • Of all 37 charter schools in the state of Missouri, Crossroads Academy is ranked #1 in the state for overall performance based on 2015 Annual Performance Report
Crossroads academy

Crossroads academy

Academie Lafayette

  • 75% of homeroom teachers are from native-French speaking countries 
  • 6th graders take an international trip to France
  • Frequently ranks among the top performing public (charter and district) schools in Missouri
Academie lafayette

Academie lafayette

Foreign Language Academy

  • #1 End of Course (EOC) Algebra 1 scores in the KCPS district
  • Partnership with UMKC whereby 8th grade students earn 3 world language credits upon successful completion of coursework and assessments
  • Annual capstone field trip to Puerto Rico to immerse students in the language and culture of Puerto Rico
Foreign Language Academy

Foreign Language Academy

Paseo Academy 

  • Strong Arts curriculum providing creative pathways to learning 
  • Safe and caring learning environment
  • Strong administrative team that supports both the arts and academics
Paseo academy

Paseo academy

After the tour, the group returned to BBBS and participated in a discussion with:

Mark Bedell, Superintendent, Kansas City Public Schools
Julie Holland, Education Advisor, Office of Mayor Sly James
Charnissa Holliday-Scott, a member of the MCPSA Board of Directors
Danny Tipton, Superintendent, Hogan Preparatory Academy
 

Left to Right: Danny Tipton, Charnissa Holliday-Scott, Julie Holland, Mark Bedell

Left to Right: Danny Tipton, Charnissa Holliday-Scott, Julie Holland, Mark Bedell

School Tours KC February 2017

School Tours KC February 2017

Brief Notes from the “Forum with St. James UMC on Racial Justice: The Education System.

 The forum was held at UMC Church of the Resurrection (COR) (Leawood), on February 12, 2017.

COR is heavily involved in serving the Kansas City Public School System (KCPSS). Pastor Adam Hamilton stated that COR has:

  • Distributed 1,270 beds to children that were “sleeping on the floor.”
  • 158 people regularly serving KCPSS schools and Grace UMC’s after school tutoring program
  • Provided 2,129 uniforms for the schools
  • Raised $215,000 over the last 10 years to support the liaisons in each school

Pastor Hamilton also shared a video where Dr. Mark Bedell, superintendent of KCPSS, announced that the district scored at full accreditation level for the first time in nearly 30 years. Read Kansas City Star Article Regarding Accreditation Status

The panel included: Dr. Emmanuel Cleaver, III, senior pastor, St. James UMC; Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, Resurrection UMC; Erik Stafford, historian; Alissia Canady, 5th District councilwoman; Dr. Derald Davis, assistant superintendent of innovation and special projects for KCPS; and Michael Mayberry, CEO and executive director of Grace United Community Ministries.

Mr. Stafford also provided a wonderful historical account of segregation and desegregation of our local schools.

#KCGreatSchools Houston Visit Final Day

Lessons from the Final Day in Houston

Today, our group was fortunate to tour KIPP:3D/KIPP:Dream Prep and Quest Early College High School. Here are the highlights:

KIPP:3D/KIPP:DREAM PREP (Focus on KIPP:3D)

  • Founded in 2001
  • KIPP:3D is Fifth to Eighth Grade
  • 432 students in three modular buildings
  • KIPP stands for “Knowledge is Power Program”
  • 3D stands for “Desire, Discipline, and Dedication"
  • KIPP is focused on offering underserved students with college preparatory education
  • Each teacher gets a cell phone and students have 24 hour access to teachers
  • 80+ college partners
  • 90% of students are considered “low-income”
  • Lottery enrollment system
  • KIPP’s five pillars include: more time on tasks, power to lead, focus on results, high expectations, choice and commitment
  • School day is from 7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
  • School year is longer on average by two to three weeks when compared to HISD schools

Quest Early College High School

  • Located in Humble Independent School District
  • Has been around for 22 years; Focus on early college program began eight years ago
  • Ninth - Twelfth grade
  • $3 million in awarded scholarship funds in 2016
  • Partners with Lone Star College for dual credit courses
  • Pillars of success: service learning, family, college readiness
  • 41 community partners for service learning opportunities

Why Did We Tour Houston?

The Great School Visits are designed to expose Kansas Citians to high-performing, urban schools with similar student populations to those of Kansas City. The visits began in the Fall of 2015 and tour groups have visited Boston, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco/Bay Area and Washington D.C. Participants form new networks across all industries and are inspired and encouraged to innovate community-based solutions to challenges in our local educational ecosystem. The visits are unique in that they do not have pre-determined end goals, but create an environment where solutions can be nurtured and thrive. The Great Schools Visits are made possible and sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation.

View Pictures from the Final Day

#KCGreatSchools Houston Visit Day Two

Lessons from Day Two

What an incredible day in Houston! Our group had the pleasure of visiting four schools: Energy Institute High School, Mandarin Immersion Magnet School, Heights High School, and Herrera Elementary School. Here are the highlights:

Energy Institute High School

  • Opened in 2013 with 200 ninth graders
  • True Magnet School: Open enrollment (no entrance requirements)
  • 68% free and reduced lunch
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL), Technology Integration, and Industry Partnerships are three main initiatives
  • Bell-less daily schedule
  • Excellent partnerships with energy companies such as BP

Mandarin Immersion Magnet School

  • Pre-K through Sixth Grade
  • Received 500 applications for 88 spots
  • More than half of students bring their own lunch
  • Lottery enrollment
  • Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) purchased Chromebooks for sixth graders
  • Building design based on Chinese characters for “sun” and “moon”

Heights High School

  • Formerly known John H Reagan High School (named after Postmaster General of the Confederacy)
  • Name changed in 2016
  • Built in 1926, renovated in 2006
  • School is split into five smaller learning communities (academies): transportation, business, health science, computer science/engineering, technology magnet
  • Has an International Baccalaureate (IB) program
  • Each academy has corporate/community partners including: BP, Deloitte, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital
  • Used to be a low-performing school
  • 2,400 students

Herrera Elementary School

  • Dual language (Spanish & English), IB, Technology Magnet
  • 900 kids, 98% Hispanic, 50% bilingual
  • 1 pig (Ozzie), 2 goats (Jesse & Billy), 1 peacock, and several chickens live in courtyard

Houston & HISD Overall Lessons

  • Houstonians consider their city “the energy capital of the world”
  • “Maker Studios” are a big deal in Houston schools
  • HISD is proposing free lunch for all students for the upcoming school year. Breakfast is already free
  • HISD High School principals have autonomy on how they choose to run their schools
  • 86% of students in HISD are on free and reduced lunch
  • HISD has 65 dual language programs (more than Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio combined)
  • In addition to the Mandarin Immersion Magnet School, HISD also has Spanish, French, and Arabic immersion schools
  • HISD has 50 Magnet programs
  • Texas schools have Site Based Decision-Making Committees (SBDC)
  • No teacher unions in Texas; Right to Work state
  • Every high school in HISD has a college counselor on site
  • Texas under-produced 22,000 teachers last year
  • HISD is the seventh largest school district in the country
  • 80% of school districts in Texas have less than 5,000 students
  • HISD has 23 IB schools, 15 of which are elementary schools

 Notable Quotes  

“Make many little principals.”~ Lori Lambropoulos, principal at Energy Institute, on how she delegates

“My ‘class’ is bigger here.”~ ChaoLin Chang, principal at Mandarin, on his transition from teacher to administrator

“You’re running a small elementary school.”~ Connie Berger, principal at Heights, instructing her five academy principals on how connected they should be to their students

“Make HISD great again!”~ Adam Stephens, HISD Officer for Innovative Curriculum, joking about the current political climate

“Somebody lied and they told me it was going to stay small.”~ Christopher Carnes, principal at Herrera, on Ozzie, the pig

View Pictures from Today

#KCGreatSchools Houston Visit | February 7, 2017

Lessons from Day One

Representatives from Kansas City Teacher Residency, Donnelly College, Stowers Institute, Turner Unified School District, Kansas City Public Schools System, LISC, Catalyst Fund, and local community leaders, gathered at Morton’s Steakhouse to discuss the agenda for the next two days.

Why Houston?

  • Terry Grier, former Houston Independent School District (HISD) superintendent, is one of the most successful developers of education leaders. 61 of his “mentees” have gone on to become superintendents.

  • Houston offers the most concentrated example of world language immersion programs.

  • HISD is a leader in blended learning.

  • Houston is incredibly diverse and there is a strong focus on cultural competency amongst its schools.

  • HISD has 283 schools and roughly 210,000 students.

Pictures from Today

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