Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wow! This school is doing it right

Where poor students soar
November 5, 2011
What works at a school dealing with poverty and a lack of English fluency? Tough love, hard work and a laser focus on achievement.

By Sandy Banks

From the outside, Plummer Elementary doesn't look much like a showcase school. The 60-year-old campus has drab green bungalows, a patchy lawn and graffiti scrawled on the "Please, No Honking" sign.

The California Distinguished School logo above the front gate, out of reach of taggers, is about the only indication that something special is happening inside.
The San Fernando Valley campus, in a working-class pocket of North Hills, was singled out by Los Angeles Unified Supt. John Deasy in a conversation we had last month about whether low-income, Latino students in this district are doomed to mediocrity.

Plummer — where 90% of the students are poor and two-thirds begin school not fluent in English — is one of the district's highest-scoring elementary schools. Its Academic Performance Index score has risen by more than 200 points, to 862, in the last four years, outpacing schools around the state with similar demographics.

Whatever is going on there shouldn't be a secret, so I paid a visit to poke around.

What I found was tough love, hard work and a laser focus on student achievement. Not rocket science, but not magic either.
(click the link below to read the entire article),0,4705874,full.column

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