Nearly half the schools implementing one of the improvement models are high schools, 24 percent are elementary schools, 21 percent are middle schools and seven percent are some combination of the three.

In two schools in Marysville, Wash., the district initially planned to fire the principal and redesign its education plan. But more than half the teachers at Tulalip Elementary said they didn’t have the energy or the time over the summer to make sure their “new” school was ready to open in the fall.

So instead, most of the teachers and principal were replaced–many were moved to other schools.

That made it possible for the school to get more money to pay for the more dramatic change, said Arden Watson, president of the Marysville Education Association.

Tulalip Elementary, which is located on an Indian reservation, now has a strong focus on Native culture.

But the main changes at Tulalip are the same ones taking place at schools across the country: a longer school day, more time for teachers to plan and collaborate, smaller classes, thoughtful examination of student improvement data, onsite professional development, and extra help for students struggling in math and for those behind in reading.

“The work is not easy in any way. We’re moving forward, though. We feel like we’re on the right path,” said Judy Albertson, the district’s school improvement facilitator.

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Professional development for data-driven improvement resource center. Spurred on by the Obama administration, U.S. school systems are making significant progress in using student achievement data to drive continuous improvement.
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