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The Essential Guide to Pilot Schools
CCE has published the first two in a series of guides called The Essential Guide to Pilot Schools. The first guide in the series is the Overview, an attractive, 100-page book, full of practical and informative details about how Pilots function, how they are unique, what is involved in creating a Pilot school, advice, case histories, data, tools, and much more. The second guide, Leadership and Governance, discusses the roles and operations in the shared leadership that comprises a Pilot school.
These attractive, spiral-bound books are available at CCE. You can download the order form here. The full guides in .pdf format (large downloads) are available at Overview Guide and Leadership and Governance. Back to home

Young Boston man gets a village of support, by Linda Matchan, in the Boston Globe, August 19 , 2007.
An extraordinary 19-year-old, Andre Woodberry, homeless at times and with a deck stacked heavily against him, “deciding that Jermiah E. Burke School wasn’t a good fit, he transferred to the evening school of Boston Day and Evening Academy in Roxbury and began to turn his grades around.” He is headed with a full scholarship to Hampshire College.

Hub high schoolers head home after African adventure, by Banner Staff, in the Boston-Bay State Banner, August 16, 2007.
Students from Another Course to College, a Pilot high school, headed overseas to Ghana where ACC teacher Bethany Wood, on a Fulbright Exchange, was teaching at the Achimota Secondary School. “The students had spent the school year preparing, and studying Ghana, but the experience of living there really brought this learning to life,” says Wood.

An Unlikely Spot at the Head of the Class:Top honors for the once maligned Boston schools, by Elizabeth Weiss Green, in U.S. News & World Report, October 2, 2006.
In a feature story on Boston’s winning the Broad Prize for having the most improved urban school in the nation, the focus is on Boston Community Leadership Academy and Pilot Schools, including interviews with principal Nicole Bahnam and CCE Executive Director Dan French. Back to home

Turning Points named in grant to help middle grades math. The following story appeared in the September 14, 2006, issue of Education Daily:

Middle school students to get help in math
      The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform has received a three-year, $3 million grant from the Education Department to develop the Mathematics Improvement Toolkit, a program that will help the teaching of math to middle school students. The toolkit will include curriculum, professional development materials and subject guidelines for use by school leaders, coaches, math coordinators, teachers and parents.
      Deborah Kasak, the Forum’s executive director, said focusing on math skills in the middle grades will help improve high schools, which typically receive more attention for school reform.
      According to 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress statistics, one-third of the country’s middle school students failed to perform at basic levels in math.
      The forum will work with organizations Middle Start, Aim at Middle-Grades Results, Talent Development Middle School Model and Turning Points to create the program. Back to home

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced the creation of the Belmont Pilot Schools Network, the first replication of the Boston Pilot Schools concept outside of Massachusetts.
      According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan calls for the creation “of five to 10 fully autonomous high schools launched over the next five years, with a maximum of 400 students each. Principals and teachers at those schools would work under a separate contract that would free them to determine school calendars, curricula, budgets and administrative structures.” (Read the full LA Times article.)
     The LA schools have been in notoriously rough shape, with students and teachers leaving for charter and private schools, the mayor threatening to take over the school system from the elected school board, and Superintendent Roy Romer looking for some proven way to turn things around. A couple of years ago district, union, and community activists heard about the Pilot school movement in Boston and sent observers to take a look and to talk with some of the Pilot coordinators in Boston, particularly Dan French, head of the Center for Collaborative Education, which houses the Pilot School Network.
      Eventually, a powerful group of activists in the Belmont neighborhood (one of the poorest in LA), calling themselves the Belmont Education Collaborative, started pushing for the creation of Pilots in their neighborhood, on the model of Boston Pilots, with their highly autonomous operations at each school.
      Because both the teachers union and school district must give up control in creating Pilot Schools, Superintendent Romer and United Teachers of Los Angeles President AJ Duffy visited the Pilots in Boston, and Dan French made multiple visits to LA, as discussions continued about creating a Pilot Zone in the Belmont neighborhood.
      In late July, all sides came together, with the blessing of the school board, and approved the creation of up to 10 Pilot schools, on the Boston model, in what is now called the Belmont Zone of Choice.
Back to home

Read Boston’s Pilot Schools: Progress and Promise in Urban School Reform, by Dan French, “Commentary” in Education Week, April 19, 2006.
CCE’s Executive Director looks at how school districts, teachers unions, and the community have worked together using the Pilot school model to create successful urban schools “unified around a common commitment to excellence and equity, with clear strategies to get there.” Back to home

BCLA Students, Mayor ‘Seek Answers’ on Youth Violence
Students at the Boston Community Leadership Academy wrote letters to Mayor Menino about teen violence and ways to curb it. Then, on March 2, the Mayor came to BCLA to listen and respond to the writers. Read the article. Back to home

Boston Mayor Tom Menino: “I have my Pilots. That’s what I need.”
That was the mayor’s joyful reaction on February 15, 2006, when his city and the teachers union reached agreement on the expansion of Pilot Schools, from the present 19 to 26 schools by 2009. The agreement resolved an impasse over the number of uncompensated hours beyond the union contract that a Pilot teacher may be required to work. Details of the announcement and the agreement are in an article from the February 16, 2006, Boston Globe: City pact allows new pilot schools, one run by union, by Tracy Jan and Maria Sacchetti. Back to home

“Evaluating Pilot Schools: How DO They Stack Up?” was the title of a forum in the Understanding Boston series, held at The Boston Foundation January 18, 2006. The forum marked the release of a new study by CCE researchers: Progress and Promise: Results from the Boston Pilot Schools. A standing-room-only audience listened to CCE Executive Director Dan French and Director of Research Rosann Tung present evidence showing Pilot School students performing better than the district averages across every indicator of student engagement and performance. Following the presentation, Paul Reville, President of the Rennie Center for Education Research and Development, moderated a panel discussion of distinguished guests: Paul Grogan (President and CEO, The Boston Foundation), Peggy Kemp (Director, Fenway High School), Thomas Payzant (Superintendent, BPS), Richard Stutman (President, Boston Teachers Union), Adam Urbanski (national teachers union leader), and Arthur Williams (Pilot School parent and teacher). Back to home

The new, revised CCE small schools planning guide is now available from Corwin Press as Creating Small Schools: A Handbook for Raising Equity and Achievement.
Revised for 2005-2006, this beautiful, practical, hands-on manual has been developed to assist faculty, administrators, community representatives, parents, and others involved in small school planning and implementation. The intent of the manual is to provide a helpful context along with ideas, tools, and organizers to assist schools as they begin their work toward becoming small schools. Click here for full information or to order. Back to home

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