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ERIC Number: EJ759594
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-16
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Sharing the Load
Reid, Karla Scoon
Education Week, v25 n12 p27-30 Nov 2005
For more than 10 years, the education community has watched the corporate ups and downs of Edison Schools Inc., the New York City company that has created controversy with its aim of making money from public schools. Long a target of those wary of such aims, the now privately held Edison made headlines with its four-year run as a public company, turned a profit in 2001, and later saw its stock price sink to less than $2 a share. Far less attention has been paid to what Edison schools actually do that makes them distinctive. The nation's largest for-profit manager of public schools currently runs 136 schools--including charters--enrolling about 53,500 students. Edison, founded in 1992 by Chris Whittle, who is also the chief executive officer, takes a methodical and specific approach to leadership and collaboration in its schools. Edison's leadership model successfully creates a formal structure and routines to support and foster leadership. In academic circles, the idea is known as "distributed leadership." Schools divide their teaching staffs into "house teams" of about six teachers. Among that group is a lead teacher, usually a high-performing instructor, who runs meetings, models teaching, handles student discipline for the team, and, depending on union contracts, supervises teachers. An extensive in-house professional-development program, created by Edison, provides principals and lead teachers with specific strategies for working as a team. Edison principals run their schools with the assistance of a trio of players who are responsible for a number of schools in a region that sometimes span different states. Each principal is supervised by a general manager, who holds the principal responsible for meeting the company's academic and financial goals. The achievement vice president is a principal's mentor and coach, providing hands-on guidance on instruction and analyzing test scores. A financial manager frees the principal from handling day-to-day money matters and helps meet the principal's budget priorities. In this paper, the authors describe how this model has been implemented in three schools in Maryland. In 2000, Edison was invited by the state of Maryland to manage Gilmor, Montebello, and Furman Templeton elementary schools in Baltimore. Gilmor had posted the state's second-worst scores, and all three scored in the bottom 10 percent of elementary schools in reading and mathematics across the state. The growth rates of all three schools now rank them in the top 30 percent of Maryland elementary schools.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland; New York
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001