Education has always been a bit of a black box. Before the uniform administration of state assessments, even teachers and schools who were doing truly astounding work were often only known to their students and their students' parents.
When I visited it was clear that a lot of things had spurred school improvement, but it had all started with a change in leadership. This is completely in line with all the best research -- school improvement almost always starts with a new principal.
We are in an era of unprecedented school reform efforts, with states and districts revamping and revising campus instructional programs and policies on a routine basis. It's up to the principal to help teachers and students navigate unfamiliar waters.
Jessica's thoughtful approach to engaging with the local community is an important piece of her story. When she takes over as the principal of Stearne next fall, she'll have the advocacy efforts of local parents to thank for it.
It is important to start with what research has demonstrated to be best practice, but it isn't enough. Continual monitoring to see what is working and what needs adjusting has to happen if schools are going to improve.
By continuing to make schools a citywide priority -- and by tying them to the future of this City -- Bloomberg inspired everyone from private citizens to small business owners to Fortune 500 CEO's to realize that they can and must do something to help.
Placing LGBTQ students in a "risk" category -- positions the group of students identifying as LGBTQ as a potential "problem" for the school that requires a solution, rather than as a group of students bringing untapped assets and strengths into the school community.