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    Kids First

    The Purpose of "Good to Great"

    The Good to Great Initiative sets the guidelines needed for effective teaching and learning in New Haven Public Schools. To achieve this mission a vision was needed. The vision for New Haven was to create a nurturing, healthy, safe school environment.

    New Haven Public Schools want to make sure that each student has been given the materials and the teaching required to succeed academically. To ensure that the academic demands of all students could be met, five "Bold Goals" were established to set standards for the future. This is what we expect as a result of the Good to Great Initiative:

    ~95% of students will be ready to succeed by the end of kindergarten.

    ~95% of students meet literacy and math standards.

    ~The achievement gap will be no more than 5% for defined subgroups.

    ~95% of students will demonstrate necessary social skills for success in school and life.

    ~95% of students entering 9th grade will graduate ready for college, post secondary education, the military, or workforce.

    These goals will not only ensure that no student is left behind, but will also ensure that all the kids in New Haven will succeed to the highest expectations. By using data and observing CMT scores, the City of New Haven has been able to determine what needs to be done to improve our studentsí academic results.

    The Good to Great Program is basically the response of New Haven Public Schools to meet the challenges of the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act is a landmark in education that is designed to help improve student achievement and close achievement gaps. This act is built on four common sense pillars:

    ~accountability for results

    ~an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research

    ~expanded parental options

    ~expanded local control and flexibility

    To check the Good to Great Programs efficiency, data is used to graph the improvement. The data comes from pre-tests and post-tests taken before and after each lesson unit.

    Students first take a pre-test to determine what strengths the students have. The test can also pinpoint the questions that were most frequently missed, and thus find out what areas are most important to cover. The results will help the teacher to better understand what he or she needs to accomplish in order to help the students understand the given assignments. The post-test can then prove what the students have learned, what needs to be done in the future, and also how students responded to the lessons.

    Overall, through careful observation, New Haven has made active the Good to Great Program, hoping that it will provide the students with what they need to keep their grades up, thrive academically, and improve their learning skills.

    By Ondrelique C. O., Adam T., and Falon C. of Sheridan Communications and Technology Magnet School

    Click image to enlarge.
    A group of children from Sheridan Middle School in front of the goals

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