Sixth Street Prep School is a K-6 charter school in the Victor Elementary School District in San Bernardino County, Calif. Linda Mikels became Sixth Street’s principal in 2001 and was immediately challenged by the school’s three-year history of declining test scores, a large Title I population, and a relatively young teaching staff. In the years prior to her appointment, the school yielded less than acceptable test results–17 percent proficiency in English/language arts and 30 percent proficiency in mathematics.
Sixth Street Prep could have easily made excuses for lagging scores considering its economically disadvantaged population is 85 percent–nearly double the state’s average of 44 percent–clearly qualifying this school as high-need. Furthermore, 50 percent of students are English Language Learners, and two-thirds of the teaching staff have five or fewer years of experience. However, Mikels maintains that her school’s demographics should never be an excuse for lack of achievement.
“What concerns me about excuses is that it is all about efficacy. Rather than teachers and leaders perpetuating excuses, we pledge not to make excuses or blame kids if they do not achieve,” she said.…Read More