Click here to watch the video of Mr. Thurmond talking about Bridging Gaps in DeKalb.
A recap: How do we build bridges that young people can cross?
Recites a poem about an old man who crossed the chasm deep and wide into the twilight dim… and stopped to build a bridge that he would never cross again. When asked why, the builder said, in the path I came, there are others that will follow.
We’ve spent decades trying to separate and build walls. We now want to use those bricks and mortar to build a bridge.
Problem – students don’t achieve for various reasons. Conclusion: DeKalb school district’s failure to implement a comprehensive strategy designed to bridge growth and achievement gaps that negatively impact the college and career readiness of students from low income families.
It’s not them, it’s us.
Working with Stacy Stepney and Morcease Beasley to formulate a plan. (Oddly, he refers to them as Dr. Beasley and Miss Stacy.)
Stacy Stepney shows state data – red, yellow and green flags. Data shows that we have many red flags. Most students took the tests but economically disadvantage did not make state minimum requirements.
Common thread: Disproportionate number of economically disadvantaged are not making state minimums.
Thurmond: It’s not race. It’s economics. White economically disadvantaged struggle too.
Stepney: What is the vision? To help students, parents and families bridge the gap.
Action 1: Evaluate data and do a root cause analysis
Action 2: Realign resources to improve academic achievement and career readiness.
Action 3: Revise and redeploy Title 1 and Title 2, Race to the Top and other grant program dollars to improve academic achievement and career readiness. Invest in parent, adult guardian and mentor involvement.
Goal 1: Indentify, support and recognize high-achieving, marginal and under-performing students
Goal 2: Enhance the effectiveness of district-level and school-level leaders and teachers to inspire, teach and train
Goal 3: Build capacities of parents, adult guardians, and mentors to support and improve student performance and academic success
* New pre-K standards
* iPads for pre-K teachers
* Dual language immersion for pre-K (3 schools)
* Literacy approach
* Quality after-school programs
* AP and IB offerings
* Middle and high school graduation coaches
* Jobs for Georgia graduates (school to work)
* CTAE (Career tech — 80% graduate HS)
* Career academies
* Strengthen ROTC programs
* Wrap around support for ELL students
* Work on leader/teacher effectiveness (RTTT demand)
* Professional development for teachers
[The video is 45 minutes long and goes into much more detail.]