There is a lot of talk about closing the "achievement gap" well last week I had the opportunity along with a team from my district to hear from a district that is doing it. We heard from Jerry Weast and his team from Montgomery County Public School in Maryland. They have a truly district wide vision of every student graduating college ready. This vision is held by ever person that works in the district, from the superintendent to the cafeteria worker. All of the stakeholders are aligned and pulling on the same rope. This is a unique situation were the administration, teacher union, support staff and parents have all come together around there vision. This vision has several benchmark measurements that guide students along the road to graduation (none of which are AYP related). These benchmarks start at kindergarten and takes the students though graduation letting them, their parent and their teachers know where they stand during the journey. Our district patterned our work around the success of MCPS and have started to roll them out to administrators. Once we have fully "released" them I share them as well. Until then just know that we have started on our PATHS for all of our students.
The other inspiring person we heard from was LeDerick Horne, a student that was labeled special ed in third grade and his struggles with a system that told him he could not make. Luckily he had his mother as an advocate that would not the system fail him. As a result he is a successful well spoken entrepreneur, businessman, playwright and poet. Take a look at his bio, although it does not do him justice. It made me think how many LeDericks have passed though our school system without ever receiving the chance to succeed.