ERIC Number: EJ709548
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Against All Odds: Reversing Low Achievement of One School's Native American Students
Parrett, William H.
School Administrator, v62 n1 p26 Jan 2005
Lapwai Elementary School, located on the Nez Perce Reservation in northern Idaho, serves a K-6 population of 302 students, 84 percent of whom are Native Americans. Seventy-nine percent of the students live at or below the poverty level. The remarkable success of this school in teaching minority children represents just one of dozens of schools nationwide that have reversed a history of underachievement and low performance. In 1999, only 16 percent of Lapwai's 3th graders were achieving at or above the state's proficiency level in reading and only 17 percent were doing so in math. Dissatisfied with a tradition of low performance, a team of teachers and administrators received school board support to aggressively address the achievement of their students. First, they tackled their curriculum to align it to state standards and assessments. They made time for this work by adjusting the daily schedule to gain two hours of common planning and professional development each Friday. They worked with the school board to establish policy to guide the district's efforts to monitor and manage their newly aligned curriculum. The leadership team focused its work on the implementation of effective reading and math programs and interventions. They initiated full-day kindergarten, reduced class sizes, initiated looping, extended afterschool tutoring and increased daily instructional time in reading and math for all students. The teachers and administrators participated in assessment-literacy-learning teams, which focused on both the assessment of learning and, more importantly, assessment for learning. Content benchmarks and clear learning targets became the norm. Successfully educating underachieving minority students presents a most formidable challenge to public school educators, yet it is not insurmountable. Any school district can attain and sustain these successes if they employ the pattern of improvement components, as did Lapwai, in their classrooms and schools.
Descriptors: Low Achievement, Reading Programs, Reading Improvement, American Indians, Educational Change, Change Strategies, Educational Improvement, Mathematics Instruction, Achievement Gains, Professional Development
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aasa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Idaho