Sharing is improving

New teamwork is visible in New Orleans and it’s not on the football field. Ten NOLA charter schools will participate in a collaborative effort led by the Achievement Network (ANet). The organization provides interim testing (on a six to eight week schedule) and support to charter organizations wondering how they’re doing--and how they can improve--in between yearly assessments. The alliance will serve a second purpose too: helping schools in the nation’s most decentralized district benefit from economies of scale. “As the formal government structures fall that are holding schools together, there will need to be organizations that are bringing schools together. We help schools identify what specific sub-skills students get confused on--it really isn’t revolutionary. But it’s very hard for schools to take this on on their own,” explains Josh Densen, managing director of ANet in NOLA. ANet also operates in Boston and Washington, D.C., where it helps schools improve their instructional practices by breaking down data at the classroom and student level. A school leader at one of ANet’s schools in the Big Easy said she found the variation between teachers within each grade to be striking--and informative. It’s refreshing to see charters voluntarily being more self-reflective--and testing being put to good, productive, immediate use.

New Orleans charter schools form partnership to analyze performance,” by Sarah Carr, The Times-Picayune, March 1, 2010

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