Kate and I are off tomorrow at 5am. To New Haven. Not Yale. We're visiting Elm City Elementary. I visited a couple years ago. Totally impressed. In particular I liked this:
The elementary reading curriculum continues to center around a three-hour, sacred reading block that uses a phonics-based literacy program and text-rich classrooms. Immersed in sounds and words, students are quickly provided with a solid, early foundation for more advanced reading.
This 4-minute video is some of the school's staff explaining how they run their operation.
When I visited Elm City a couple years ago, I played tour guide. I took the principal and a teacher from a fairly new pilot school in Boston. The school had among the lowest reading scores in Massachusetts, out of 1,000 elementary schools. I was hoping they'd fall in the love with the school's culture and 3-hour literacy block.
The Boston principal was fairly impressed. But the Boston teacher hated it.
My opinion was that she had a preconceived notion that she wouldn't like a disciplined charter school. So she didn't. "Militaristic" she called it.
Even when she saw kids who looked just like her own students - and who were reading way way above the students in her Boston classroom - she wasn't moved.
Nothing was accomplished that day from the visit, alas. The Boston principal ended up leaving at the end of the year. The teacher moved on a year later. The kids in the Boston school continue to be bad at reading, while the kids in the New Haven school continue to shine.
Well not nothing. I learned something. Hope to learn tomorrow, too.