Among other things, MIE seeks to use Advanced Placement as a lever to transform school culture. Boston’s John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Boston was among the first group of schools to become part of the AP/STEM program in 2008, and AP English teacher Nora Tsoutsis has seen that transformation take hold.

In a school district that serves largely under-represented populations of students, going from having only four qualifying Advanced Placement exam scores to 34 is something to celebrate. Even more remarkable is when one single teacher contributes to 15% of the state’s qualifying biology exam scores by minority students. One teacher in a Gateway City that has historically struggled with academic success is making a difference every day.

In AP You Are Never Alone

Alicia Lima, like fellow students in Boston Public Schools, came to the city with English as a second language. Although her teachers recognized her academic talent early on, her hesitation held her back from truly excelling. It was not until she was encouraged to enroll in Advanced Placement classes, knowing that MIE was providing student support, that Alicia conquered her fears.

In AP, Perseverance Pays Off

Robert Bunzell is an active senior at one of MIE’s school partners that doubled their number of qualifying exam scores after their first year in the AP STEM & English program. In addition to being on the football, wrestling, and track/field teams at the school, Robert is also enrolled in AP Chemistry, AP US History, AP Calculus and AP Psychology. He has taken full advantage of the increased offerings at Whitman-Hanson.

Annia Bosse, a graduate of East Boston High School, proves that investing in students while they are in high school leads to a more successful college and career pathway. Not only did Annia participate in MIEt’s program through three AP STEM courses, she completed an internship at State Street as part of MIE’s Student Partners program to which she credits the success she is now achieving in college.

Allison Bergeron is part of the English Department at Drury High School in North Adams, Massachusetts. With the support of MIE, she and Drury’s two other AP Teachers (Sara Luczynski and Molly Meczwyor) nearly doubled the number of qualifying scores in AP English in just their first year of the program. The school is also experiencing a cultural shift where AP is helping more students, not just the select few, strive to be better and more successful learners.

Evansville

The Indiana State Board of Education has not been shy about exercising its authority to intervene in chronically underperforming schools. Under the state’s Public Law 221, the Indiana Board can mandate specific interventions for any school that has received six consecutive failing grades under the state’s accountability system – up to a complete takeover by the state.

“Five days of school a week is enough for most teenagers, but no one told that to the more than 100 Jefferson Parish high school students who started streaming into the district’s central office building at 8 a.m. on a recent Saturday.”

State education agencies (SEAs) can pull a powerful lever for school turnaround by setting goals publicly, and releasing reports on progress toward those goals at turnaround schools to build public support for turnaround efforts. Creating these reports does not require a big lift: the information for reporting can be from data that has already been gathered. This report clarifies indicators and metrics that can be most helpful for tracking progress toward goals, and explains where to find the data to inform these metrics.

This toolkit clarifies the spending rules that apply to supporting schoolwide improvement programs with Title I dollars, and provides considerations for states, school districts and schoolwide schools that want to rethink the way they use Title I funds.