Friday, October 19, 2012

Clusters in Action

By | In The Zone

As you may be aware, Mass Insight Education believes in 3 Cs that must be present to inform successful change in persistently low-achieving schools: capacity, conditions, and clustering.  Many of our posts focus on changing conditions or strengthening capacity.  Today, schools in the San Francisco Unified School District serve as an example of clustering on the right track.

In 2010, SFUSD received SIG funding for 10 schools (with 9 schools funding for the following two years).  The district used a cluster analysis to sort schools based on similar features, such as number of minority students, teacher characteristics, and school culture.  This analysis resulted in two clusters called the “Superintendent’s Zone”; one with one high school and its feeder schools, the other with two high schools and their feeder schools.

According to the California Department of Education, every school in this zone made “large improvements” on state testing this year.  In fact, one of the Zone high schools saw the biggest point increase out of the entire district on API scores.  As the Zone is still in early stages, we look forward to watching future growth.

To round it out with another C (capacity), SFUSD is also building capacity as a district as a whole through a partnership with the Stanford University School of Education, where partners work to build bridges between theory and practice at district schools.  The partnership focuses on access and equity, achievement, and accountability.