State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced an expansion of resources in the California Distinguished Schools Signature Practices Web tool during the 2010 Distinguished School Awards Ceremony in Anaheim.
The searchable database is designed to help schools share strategies that are effective in closing the achievement gap between higher-performing and lower-performing subgroups of students. The Signature Practices Web tool now includes strategies used by the 484 elementary schools that earned the 2010 California Distinguished Schools award.
“There are many success stories from schools narrowing the achievement gap, but too often those successes are isolated,” O’Connell said. “The Signature Practices Web tool will now give every school access to effective strategies, guidance on how to implement them, and mentoring from those schools that have a proven track record in helping all students succeed academically.”
The development of the Signature Practices Web tool was a result of two key recommendations by the Superintendent’s California P-16 Council made up of education, business, and community leaders to develop strategies to better coordinate, integrate, and improve education for preschool through college students. O’Connell charged the P-16 Council to come up with recommendations on ways the state could support efforts to close the achievement gap. The P-16 Council produced a report that recommended school recognition programs should highlight success in closing the achievement gap; educators needed access to reliable and proven resources that were effective in helping all students succeed academically; and the resources should be easy to access, understand, and apply to the classroom.
O’Connell introduced the Signature Practices Web tool last October. In its first year, the database contained effective strategies used by 136 middle schools and 125 public high schools. The interactive database now includes successful strategies that were newly submitted by the 484 elementary schools. All the schools were selected as 2009 and 2010 California Distinguished Schools. The Distinguished Schools program identifies and honors those schools that have demonstrated educational excellence for all students and progress in narrowing the achievement gap.
As part of the Distinguished Schools Award program, each awardee was asked to submit two Signature Practices that have led to improved student achievement so that other schools may emulate the practice. The Distinguished Schools also agree to serve as a mentor to any other school or district seeking to implement their signature practice elsewhere in California.
The Signature Practices Web tool is available at http://www.closingtheachievementgap.org/cs/ctag/print/htdocs/success_sig_search.htm. Users may easily tailor their search by location, type of school, subgroup of student, and type of intervention. The search will display a summary of a school’s success in raising student academic achievement and links to detailed narratives of successful strategies actually used in classrooms around California.
For more information on Closing the Achievement Gap, please visit http://www.closingtheachievementgap.org/. For the P-16 Council, http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/pc/.
For more information on the California School Recognition Program, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cs/.