Urban Education

Research of Best Practices


Community Involvement

Effective urban educators found ways to involve the community in the education process. In other words, they utilized the community's resources (teachers, parents, students, etc.) to improve their students' reading, writing, mathematics, and science competence.
  • Students and Parents are important elements of the Thursday Night Tutoring Program used to improve the mathematics skills of high school students. High school students in the Student Mentoring Program improved their assigned elementary school students' social, study skills, and reading, writing, and mathematics grades. Some of the high school students tutored and mentored their elementary school students from one to three hours daily and received half to one and half alternative credits each semester.
  • Every Success for All (SFA) school employed a full-time certified facilitator who helped the faculty and staff implement the program. Through classroom visits, coaching, and meetings, the facilitator supported the teachers' ability to improve students' reading skills.
  • Leaders in successful urban schools in high poverty contexts worked to win the confidence and respect of parents by improving student achievement and building strong partnership with the parents; one principal did away with separate parent teacher organizations and created a unified Parent Teacher Association. This collaboration created a collective sense of responsibility. Educators saw themselves as part of a family. Teachers, parents, students, and principals worked together to improve student learning and achievement. This collaboration also created opportunities for teachers to work, plan, and learn together. According to the literature, "without time for collaboration on instruction, many improvements would have never been conceived or implemented." Teachers were constantly learning about their content area and academic instruction or pedagogy. They learned as much from each other as they learned from other professional development sources. They worked together to implement "best practices."
  • The literature on the Nation's Report Card also supports the thesis that community involvement strategies are related to student learning and achievement.
  • Fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders who reported weekly home discussions about their studies had higher average reading scores than students who reported discussing their studies less frequently. Having such discussions almost every day was associated with the highest average score at the eighth and twelfth grade levels (NAEP, 1998).
  • Students (4th, 8th, and 12th graders) who reported talking about their reading activities with family or friends once or twice a week, or at least monthly, had higher average reading scores than students who reported doing so rarely (NAEP, 1998). Similar to the reading results, Fourth, eight, and twelfth graders who reported at least weekly home discussions about their studies had higher average writing scores than students who reported discussing their studies less frequently (NAEP, 1998). According to the literature, "Again, these results are consistent with those of earlier NAEP assessments in many subjects."



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