An in-depth look at Portland Public Schools
Winter 2010: In this issue
|1.||Milestones Framework: Overview|
|2.||Milestone 1: Harrison Park taps creativity to teach pre-reading|
|3.||Milestone 3: Boise-Eliot puts special emphasis on writing|
|4.||Milestone 4: Step Up puts students on track to graduate|
|5.||Milestones help PPS tackle racial disparities|
|6.||‘Young, Gifted & Black’ reframes achievement debate|
The Milestones are:
These measures are assessed using such indicators as attendance, writing and passing college prep exams. The measures were chosen because they correlate to success at the next levels of a student’s education.
“Milestones are about knowing where our students are headed and taking the steps to get them there,” says Superintendent Carole Smith.
Framework developed in 2008
PPS began developing the Milestones Framework at a district level in fall 2008 to measure student performance and to target interventions where they are most needed. The Milestones are rooted in and an acknowledgment of the work our teachers are already doing in the classroom and in special programs and district-wide initiatives at key transition points.
You’ll learn about three of these efforts in this issue of Extra Credit:
Where we are, where we’re headed
Last August, Superintendent Smith and her leadership team highlighted for building principals the student performance data for two of these Milestones, and one other, that relate to long-term success. This 2008-09 data became the baseline from which district leaders, principals and teachers are reaching higher:
By most measures, students in Portland Public Schools outperform their peers on state tests. But PPS administrators note that Oregon scores are weak compared to most of the rest of the country. Smith and her leadership team set a goal for the 2009-10 school year of 5 percent improvement in assessments at each of the middle three Milestones.
They set the same target for closing the achievement gap at each of those Milestones: A 5 percent narrowing of the gap between white students at each marker and the racial or ethnic minority group scoring the lowest at that marker. Learn more about our focus on the achievement gap in this issue of Extra Credit.
Parents’ role and reporting back
You won’t see a report card for each student or school based on the Milestones. Rather, the framework is a road map to direct teaching and learning strategies at the school district level. But parents can also use the Milestones to support their students' learning. See our Milestones Web site for ideas.
In addition, Portland Public Schools is holding itself accountable for Milestones results. We will keep the community informed of our progress.
We laid out the Milestones and targets in our 2009 Report on Our Schools. The 2010 Report will update our progress. Look for it next fall.
“District leaders, principals, teachers – we all have a role in helping students reach their Milestones,” Smith says. “We look forward to reporting back to our staff and community on the results of our efforts.”
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