SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 5, 2013

Column: A year's commitment

(Continued)

2. In September 2012, the Community Advisory Board sponsored a community meeting on the Salem Public Schools’ improvement efforts. Mayor Kimberley Driscoll and Superintendent Stephen Russell discussed turnaround efforts, and Dr. Roland Fryer, director of Harvard University’s Education Lab, was the keynote speaker. Fryer suggested that five policies supported by 40 years of qualitative case-studies (frequent teacher feedback, data-driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time and relentless focus on academic achievement) explain roughly half of the variation in school effectiveness as opposed to the traditional resource-based model (class size, per pupil expenditure, teachers with no teaching certificate or teachers with an advanced degree). Approximately 150 people attended this presentation.

3. In January 2013, the Community Advisory Board sponsored a community meeting featuring Chris Gabrieli and Jennifer Davis, co-founders of the National Center for Time and Learning. These nationally recognized leaders shared their successes with hundreds of schools that have redesigned and expanded their schedules to better meet the needs of students and communities. They advocated that expanding learning time improves student achievement and enables a well-rounded education. Mayor Driscoll and Superintendent Russell again provided an update on Salem’s turnaround efforts. More than 200 people were in attendance.

4. In May, as part of the Salem Education Foundation’s “Education Day,” the Community Advisory Board sponsored an expo on summer programs for students K-12. Twelve organizations participated. Parents had the opportunity to receive information and to register their children. Both participants and parents appreciated the opportunity to interact in this setting.

A major goal for this committee has been communication — to serve as a means for the Salem community to be informed about how the city and the Salem Public Schools are working to achieve more for our students. Every Friday since July 6, 2012, there has been an article on the opinion page of The Salem News. This has been no easy feat, and it is only through the cooperation and efforts of many that this has been possible. No one asked, said no. Educators in Salem care!

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