ERIC Number: ED462501
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Creating Critical Mass for Restructuring: What We Can Learn from Memphis. AEL Policy Briefs.
Ross, Steven M.
This paper reviews historical events concerning Memphis City Schools' educational attainments and reports research on changes in schools and in this high poverty district over time. In 1992, the new superintendent focused on improving student achievement and initiated site-based management. Critical partnerships were formed, and in 1995, New American Schools selected Memphis City Schools as a jurisdiction committed to adopting innovative school reforms. District leadership selected eight reform models (including ATLAS, Co-NECT, and Paideia). Elements common to the models included high student performance standards, strong teacher involvement, increased site-based professional development/planning time, and increased use of performance assessments. Schools emphasized cooperative learning, thematic units, student-centered instruction, integrated curricula, technology, and community and family involvement. Data from classroom visits, observations, and teacher interviews indicated that teaching and learning became more active in schools that were undergoing restructuring. The expanded restructuring in 1998-99 spotlighted Memphis as the only New American Schools jurisdiction to implement full systemic reform. When the superintendent left in 1999, commitment to the reform diminished at many schools. Lessons learned from the experience include: teacher buy-in is critical to success, school districts should be active in readying schools for change, one size does not fit all, and schools must own the reform. (Contains 25 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Elementary Secondary Education, Poverty, School Districts, Urban Schools
AEL, Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348. Tel: 800-624-9120 (Toll Free).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Appalachia Educational Lab., Charleston, WV.