New Report: Effective Organizational Practices for Middle and High School Grades

Posted by on April 20, 2009

We are pleased to release a new report, Effective Organizational Practices for Middle and High School Grades: A Qualitative Study of What’s Helping Philadelphia Students Succeed in Grades 6-12. The study was commissioned by the Accountability Review Council (ARC), an independent assessment and reporting commission that was created by the state to gauge the outcomes of the School District of Philadelphia’s reform efforts under state takeover.

This report appears at a critical juncture in the district. Yesterday, Dr. Arlene Ackerman presented her strategic plan, Imagine 2014, to the School Reform Commission. At the same meeting, Dr. James Lyons, Chair of the ARC, urged SRC members to review RFA’s report as they considered Dr. Ackerman’s plan and to see that the report was “widely disseminated” in the district. The SRC will vote on the plan on April 22.

We believe that this report can make an important contribution as Dr. Ackerman and her staff work with district stakeholders to refine and implement Imagine 2014. An important message is the need for a strong investment in developing school leaders – both administrator and teacher leaders.

Jolley Bruce Christman, Ph.D. and Eva Gold, Ph.D. – Founders and Principals

RFA releases Effective Organizational Practices for Middle and High School Grades

In the new report, RFA examines the organizational practices of 17 higher performing Philadelphia middle and high schools that serve substantial numbers of low-income students, many of whom have additional risk factors. The effective practices identified in the report are organized into three spheres: Conditions for Teaching, Student-Centered School Community, and Instructional Program. The report highlights broad strategies and specific practices and the the obstacles schools confront when trying to implement these strategies. Nuanced school case studies show how the practices can work synergistically and coherently in schools with excellent leadership to help students succeed.

This report is part of a growing body of research on organizational practices in schools. Other recent studies on this topic include:
Ascher, C. & Maguire, C. (2007). Beating the Odds. Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Robinson, S., Stempel, A., & McCree, I. (2005). Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground: How Some High Schools Accelerate Learning for Struggling Students. Washington, DC: The Education Trust.

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