Thanks for forwarding the Star Bulletin article, Wayne, which I found quite interesting. In particular, I noted the following, which I suspect may have some importance:
1. "Most important, she treated her teachers with respect. Ichinaga made sure they had all the materials and tools needed to focus on instruction, and clearly delineated her high expectations."
2. "(I told them) everyone had to teach well. If only every other teacher taught well, their good work was likely to be cancelled out by a poor teacher the next year," she said. "And poor teachers would always pull down the average school score."
In our culture of "working behind closed doors" and "individual excellence", the challenge is figuring out how to raise the performance of every teacher within a school. I would be interested to learn more about the professional development opportunities that were made available to the Bennett-Kew teachers.
One way in which teachers at a school can improve is to share with their colleagues their successes and failures in the classroom. However, the recent NCES report, Mathematics and Science in the Eight Grade: Findings from TIMSS (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2000014), shows some interesting data on the frequency with which teachers observe others (Fig. 4-13, p. 129) and are observed (Fig. 4-14, p. 130). Sixty-four per cent of mathematics teachers never observe another teacher's lesson; fewer than 10% observe others on a monthly basis. Sixty-one percent are never observed; 6% are observed on a monthly basis.
Patsy _______________________________________________________ Patsy Wang-Iverson Mid-Atlantic Eisenhower Consortium (http://www.rbs.org/eisenhower) Research for Better Schools 444 N. Third Street Philadelphia, PA 19123-4107 vox: 215.574.9300 x264 fax: 215.574.0133 net: email@example.com
Wayne Bishop <wbishop@calstatela To: AMTE <firstname.lastname@example.org> .edu> cc: Sent by: Subject: A Model to Emulate email@example.com mporia.edu
07/09/00 06:10 PM Please respond to amte
This is the lady who started the Inglewood miracle. Even more amazing than her success at Bennett-Kew is the fact that her message has spread and continues unabated across her district. I reported on the top five of the thirteen elementary schools in her district, those above the 70th percentile on school-wide SAT-9 averages of schools and that test at least 95% of their students, in spite of very low SES numbers and high LEP population. Of the remaining schools, one is in the 3rd decile, two in the 4th, and two in the fifth. The other three are in the 6th, all thirteen testing at least 95% of their students. That is, eight of the thirteen are above the mean in a district that was consistent with the situation Ms Ichinaga met when she first went to Inglewood; one of the lowest districts in the state in terms of student performance. Perhaps even more amazing is that this has been a grass-roots effort at the school levels, often in opposition to district policy. As an example of the latter, she is currently leading the campaign against district imposition of a hands-on, textbook-free science program, the third such effort at her school in the last fifteen years; this one funded by the NSF through Caltech. The good news is the publicity that she has been getting has finally led to politicians listening to her, including her appointment to the California State Board of Education. Regrettably, that recognition of her sound and proven advice remains beyond the grasp of the education community.
Early and direct instruction in reading and no primary instruction in Spanish are two ingredients of her formula that are probably even more important than her mathematics program; e.g., her students learn to read English in *kindergarten* and are placed and/or retained as appropriate to allow whole class instruction thereafter. She has no tolerance for the perspective that less affluent African American or Hispanic children should be expected to perform at a "separate-but-equal" level different from more affluent whites or Asians. I have her on tape from a local PBS show a couple years ago laughingly saying, "I don't think I've been criticized as much as I've been asked, 'How do you get away with it?'" Her answer, obviously enough, is the school's test scores.
I challenge any of the lurkers or regular contributors to this list who support the waning NCTM reform movement in mathematics to offer us anything remotely close to this level of performance increase in one district, even one with ten times the number of schools. The usual "evidence" - no-name schools in no-name districts - will not suffice, of course.
IF you graduated in 1948 from Waimea High School on Kauai and wondered whatever happened to classmate Nancy Miyashiro, then you haven't seen recent editions of the Wall Street Journal or Los Angeles Times.
For the past 26 years, the California public school principal has been making waves on her Inglewood campus.
Most recently, she won a national award, has been written up in large-circulation newspapers and hosted visiting dignitaries like GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush.
What'd she do? Nancy Miyashiro Ichinaga, 70, merely transformed one of the worst elementaries in California into one of best.
Ichinaga graduated in 1952 with a teaching degree from the University of Hawaii and taught one semester at Kaiulani Elementary before moving to San Diego to live with her sister.
In September 1974, on becoming principal of Bennett Elementary near the L.A. airport, Ichinaga found the school without a single set of basic reading books. It had no identifiable curriculum and housed a student body that was 95 percent illiterate.
That fall, third-grade reading test scores showed Bennett ranked in the lowest percentile in the state. It was the lowest-achieving school in the district.
Ichinaga used that dubious distinction as a starting point for a turnaround.
She instituted back-to-basics reading and math programs, was heavy-handed in dealing with class troublemakers, and fought the trends of social promotion and bilingual education.
Most important, she treated her teachers with respect. Ichinaga made sure they had all the materials and tools needed to focus on instruction, and clearly delineated her high expectations.
"(I told them) everyone had to teach well. If only every other teacher taught well, their good work was likely to be cancelled out by a poor teacher the next year," she said. "And poor teachers would always pull down the average school score."
Bennett's emphasis on a return to basics worked. The school's third-grade test scores in reading rose every year after that. Today, Bennett-Kew Elementary students rank above the 70th percentile in reading and language, and above 85 percent in math.
To recognize her achievements, Ichinaga was awarded a Heritage Foundation "No Excuses" Award in 1998, and was appointed to the state Board of Education by Gov. Gray Davis.
She'll also spend more time being an unpaid consultant to the L.A. school district after June 30, when she officially retires after 40 years of service.
Here's an idea: Wouldn't Nancy like to come back to Hawaii - maybe even retire here - and help improve the public school system of her home state? "I'd love to," says the Kauai born-and-raised Ichinaga, "but nobody has asked me."
How about it, Superintendent Paul LeMahieu? Can't we pay for an exploratory trip so an esteemed educator - who is willing to share her wisdom, war stories and vision - can visit you for a nice, long talk?
Or better yet, Dr. LeMahieu: You visit her.
Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday. She can be reached by phone at 525_8607, via e_mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at 523_7863.