The following are excerpts from a recent editorial in The Cincinnati Enquirer praising a Kentucky elementary school for raising student achievement:
"Covington's Ninth District Elementary School used to have everything you didn't want in a school - poor attendance, low scores, disinterested faculty. That's apparently all changed now with some administrative innovation, dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students."
"Members of his faculty give a lot of the credit for the turn around to Principal Rick Ross. About 80 percent of the students at Ninth District come from families living at or below the poverty line. That means those kids are supposed to be hard to teach, yet last year the school had the highest test scores in the history of the district."
"What Ross did was believe in the potential of his students. He insisted that the faculty do the same. At the time, the school's test scores were so low that they prompted the state to assign a highly skilled educator, someone who has been successful elsewhere, to the school as a sort of professional consultant."
"Ross and the Ninth District teachers took the suggestions seriously, and they also made full use of state and federal grants available to the low-income school. But most of what they did seems to involve treating the education of the children as a community project. Ninth District teachers visit the homes of every student who will be in their classes the week before school starts. They meet the kids and the parents. They pass out supplies, make sure everyone knows what the year's expectations will be and, most important, bring many of the parents into the process as allies in the children's educations.
"Once the kids get to school, they find that the whole institution is focused on their success. Each morning the entire staff, administrators and teachers, even the school nurse, participates in small group reading instruction, a program that is credited with helping 85 percent of the students learn to read by the time they finish kindergarten. School doesn't end at the afternoon bell. Ninth District offers successful after-school enrichment and weekend tutorials."
"[T]his is a success that deserves praise. And the highest praise it could have would be for others to copy the Ninth District example."
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