High performing high poverty and high minority schools

Exceptions to the achievement gap exist. Schools that are majority black, even poor, can perform well above national norms, with Davidson Magnet School[citation needed] in Augusta, Georgia being a prominent example. Another school with remarkable gains for students of color is Amistad Academy in New Haven,Connecticut. All of the aforementioned schools generally offer more rigorous, traditional modes of instruction, including Direct Instruction. Direction Instruction was found to be the single most effective pedagogical method for raising the skill levels of inner-city students (Project Follow Through). High performing Black schools are not unique to the twentieth century. In Washington, DC in the late 19th century, a predominantly low income Black school performed higher than three White schools in yearly testing. This trend continued until the mid 20th century, and during that time the M Street School exceeded national norms on standardized tests.

In addition, the Education Trust each year identifies and honors high-performing high-poverty and high-minority schools. All of the Dispelling the Myth schools made significant strides in narrowing achievement gaps, attaining proficiency levels that significantly exceeded the averages in their states, or improved student performance at an especially rapid pace. These schools don’t offer simple answers or easy solutions, but several common strategies emerge from their practices. They provide a rich curriculum coupled with strong, focused instruction. They have high expectations for all students. They use data to track student progress and individual student needs. And they employ purposeful professional development to improve teachers’ skills.

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