Miami-Dade County Superintendent and Former West Virginia State Superintendent Offer Proven Strategies for Developing Excellent Leadership at Under-Performing SchoolsPosted on September 28, 2011 by MHRFAdmin
Policy Paper Released by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation Illustrates the Changes Necessary for Enduring School Improvement
NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2011– In a policy paper released today by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, “Strategies for Rescuing Failing Public Schools: How Leaders Create a Culture of Success,” co-authors Alberto M. Carvalho and Dr. Steven L. Paine, argue that strong leadership can help even the worst performing schools achieve dramatic changes in achievement and morale.
Mr. Carvalho is superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth largest school district; Dr. Paine is senior advisor to The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation and the former state superintendent of schools for West Virginia.
Based on their experience transforming some of the lowest-performing schools and districts in the U.S., the authors suggest it is critical to select, develop and appoint superintendents and principals who will insist on cultural and environmental change while instituting high standards of academic achievement and devoting greater resources toward developing exceptional teachers.
A critical element for success, the authors write, involves changing the culture of a low-performing school or district from one that expects failure to one that insists upon success. Cultural change is difficult to quantify and assess, the authors acknowledge, making it equally challenging to systemize and scale. It can be accomplished, however, by developing and advancing education leaders committed to cultural change and high academic standards for all students.
During the 1960s and ’70s it was believed by many that an “environment of poverty breeds values inimical to learning,” and that schools were powerless to overcome the effects of poverty on educational achievement. The authors highlight more recent education research, which demonstrates that all students can learn; they insist schools have the responsibility for implementing the necessary disciplinary, curricular and professional development methods to ensure they do.
The paper details Superintendent Carvalho’s and Dr. Paine’s first-hand experience at successfully turning around failing schools and districts – urban and rural — in West Virginia and Florida by:
- An intense focus on instructional standards, with correspondingly high standards for educational achievement for all students, regardless of race or background;
- Measurement and accountability for meeting student achievement goals;
- Making better use of digital technology to collect student performance data for ongoing, formative assessment; and
- Supporting great teachers through focused professional development.
Carvalho will discuss the paper’s themes as a featured speaker at the 3rd annual “Innovation in Education” Summit in New York City on September 28, 2011, sponsored by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, where thought leaders in the education sector will converge to discuss issues and trends impacting today’s school systems.
Alberto Carvalho has been committed to supporting academic excellence for all students since 1990. He began his career in education as a classroom science teacher and then became a school site administrator and national advocate for secondary school reform. He was named the Miami-Dade superintendent in September 2008 at a time when the district was facing daunting financial challenges and a crisis of public confidence regarding the future of public education. Under his leadership, the district and its business operations were restructured, resulting in an increase in the district’s financial reserves despite the national economic downturn. Insisting on unprecedented transparency in the budgeting process, he restored public trust and community support for public schools. By bringing a renewed focus to the classroom, student performance has rebounded, resulting in over half of all district schools receiving an accountability grade of “A”; Carvalho has been acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education as a leader in the New American High Schools Initiative.
Prior to joining The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, Paine served as West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, where he instituted a focus on 21st century skills that included critical thinking and problem solving in the classroom, as well as increasingly rigorous methods of student assessment to improve overall performance. He also served as president of the Council of Chief State School Officers and as a member of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) Board of Directors. Paine also served on the National Assessment Governing Board where he helped lead that organization’s work establishing policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as The Nation’s Report Card.
About The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation
The Foundation was established with the support of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). It was incorporated on July 16, 2010, as a Delaware non-profit and is in the process of applying to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.