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Making Schools Work with Hederick Smith about the program
 
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TRANSCRIPT AND CREDITS

OPEN

Students at KIPP chanting and banging

KIPP Class: You’ve got to read baby, read!

Michael Feinberg: We need to believe that all children can learn, but then what we need to act on is changing the word ‘can’ to ‘will’.

Teacher: You got it!

Anthony Alvarado: All children can learn if adults provide high quality instruction

Don White: …perfect square trinomial…there you go.

Jon Jasper: Alright.

Hedrick Smith: Has this breakthrough in Algebra turned your whole education around?

Jon Jasper: My whole life around, my whole future, everything.

Eric Smith: People who say that low income children, minority children, can’t excel at extraordinarily high levels are just flat out wrong; they just haven’t seen the evidence.

Susan Agruso: Their scores are increasing, but the gap is narrowing between different groups of students.

Kati Haycock: The evidence suggests we can do this if we learn from the high achievers and if we act.

Announcer: MAKING SCHOOLS WORK…WITH HEDRICK SMITH

PRINCIPAL FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY…

THE FORD FOUNDATION – A RESOURCE FOR INNOVATIVE PEOPLE AND INSTITUTIONS WORLDWIDE. ON THE WEB AT FORDFOUND.ORG.

MAJOR FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY…THE BROAD FOUNDATION – DEDICATED TO TRANSFORMING URBAN K THROUGH TWELVE PUBLIC EDUCATION – THROUGH BETTER GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT, LABOR RELATIONS AND COMPETITION…. CARNEGIE CORPORATION OF NEW YORK – COMMITTED TO RE-INVENTING THE AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL SO THAT CITIES HAVE A SYSTEM OF GOOD HIGH SCHOOLS NOT SIMPLY ONE OR TWO. AND ADDITIONAL FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY…THE SPENCER FOUNDATION.

INTRODUCTION

Reagan at school event in 1980s

Hedrick Smith: FOR TWO DECADES, AMERICA HAS BEEN ON A NATIONAL QUEST FOR BETTER SCHOOLS FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN…

George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush walk in.

Hedrick Smith: FOUR PRESIDENTS HAVE DECLARED EDUCATION A NATIONAL PRIORITY…

George H. W. Bush: The status quo is a guarantee of mediocrity, social decay and national decline. Education…

Bill Clinton in the classroom

Hedrick Smith: THE SYMPTOMS WERE ALARMING…AMERICAN STUDENTS FALLING BEHIND GLOBAL COMPETITORS… OUR POOR AND MINORITIES STILL FURTHER BEHIND…

George W. speaking at NCLB rally

George W. Bush: Education reform…

Hedrick Smith: TO BE WORLD CLASS, OUR LEADERS DEMANDED CHANGE.…

George W. Bush: As of this hour, America’s schools will be on a new path of reform, and a new path of results.

Michael Casserly: Public education in this country is being asked to do something that no country has ever asked of its education system before and that is to teach its children, not just some of its children, but all of its children, to the highest academic standards in the world.

Hedrick Smith: THE CHALLENGE IS UNPRECEDENTED. …BUT CAN IT BE DONE? TONIGHT, WE TAKE YOU INTO CLASSROOMS FROM COAST TO COAST TO SEE HOW SOME AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ARE MAKING SCHOOLS WORK.

GOOD EVENING, I’M HEDRICK SMITH.

THIS IS AN OFTEN SURPRISING STORY OF EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS BECAUSE THESE ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS…SOME OF THEM CHARTER SCHOOLS…SERVING OUR MOST DISADVANTAGED KIDS WHO MANY HAD GIVEN UP ON.

OUR STORY BEGINS WHERE REFORM BEGAN IN THE 1980S … WITH MODELS DESIGNED TO MAKE CHANGE, SCHOOL BY SCHOOL… THEN, WE MOVE, AS REFORMERS MOVED IN THE 1990S, TO WHOLESALE REFORM....TO RE-ENGINEERING ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

BUT DON’T EXPECT TO FIND ONE MAGIC FORMULA. YOU’LL SEE DIFFERENT STRATEGIES. THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IS RESULTS … LIFTING SCORES AND CLOSING ACHIEVEMENT GAPS...NOT JUST FOR A FEW HUNDRED KIDS BUT FOR NEARLY TWO MILLION CHILDREN ... FROM OUR INNER CITIES TO RURAL AMERICA.

SUCCESS FOR ALL

Scenes from Mt. Vernon, Washington; kids in streets, trailers

Hedrick Smith: NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE, THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICA HAS COMPLICATED THE CHALLENGE OF EDUCATING AMERICA’S CHILDREN… THESE KIDS, FOR EXAMPLE, LIVING IN A TRAILER PARK IN MOUNT VERNON, WASHINGTON, ABOUT AN HOUR NORTH OF SEATTLE. IN THE 90S, THEIR PARENTS MOVED HERE FROM MEXICO TO WORK THE HUGE INDUSTRIAL FARMS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. NOW THEIR CHILDREN FLOOD INTO LOCAL SCHOOLS… DRAMATICALLY ALTERING THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF WHAT USED TO BE MOSTLY ALL-WHITE, MIDDLE CLASS SCHOOLS LIKE CENTENNIAL ELEMENTARY…

Andrea Guy in classroom

Hedrick Smith: FOR YEARS, EVEN TOP TEACHERS, LIKE ANDREA GUY, WERE UNABLE TO TEACH READING TO MANY OF THE NEWCOMERS.

Andrea Guy: It always seemed like our second language kids or our kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds were at the bottom, so to speak, of reading groups, not succeeding and moving on.

Guy working with struggling readers

Andrea Guy: Our population has changed and it’s going to keep changing so therefore we have to change how we reach these kids. We’re not reaching them right now. What can we do to reach them?

Child struggling to read

Child Reading: Wuh..Wuh..Ish..Wish

Hedrick Smith: READING WAS THE BIG HURDLE…AS IN SO MANY AMERICAN SCHOOLS…SO LOCAL SCHOOL OFFICIALS SCOURED THE NATION FOR A PROGRAM WITH A STRONG TRACK RECORD FOR TEACHING CHILDREN TO READ.

David Scott, School District Official

David Scott: We all decided that reading was the most important piece in education that had to be focused on before anything else. Success for All was one of the programs that was identified as being most effective.

Bob Slavin and Hedrick Smith walking inside the school.

Hedrick Smith: SUCCESS FOR ALL IS AN INTENSIVE, FAST-PACED READING PROGRAM CREATED IN THE MID-80S BY JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY EDUCATOR BOB SLAVIN FROM EXTENSIVE RESEARCH ON EFFECTIVE TEACHING METHODS.

Bob Slavin:: Reading is a very special subject. It’s essentially taught in first grade. For the whole rest of your life you’re practicing it and there’s still a great deal more to learn after first grade but if you don’t get it by the end of first grade, you’re in very deep trouble.

Andrea Guy: Okay, all eyes this way. Here we go…

Andrea Guy & Class: A-dash-E says A; bake a cake. A-dash-E says A; bake a cake.

Hedrick Smith: SUCCESS FOR ALL IMPOSED RADICAL CHANGES AT CENTENNIAL …A 90-MINUTE, SCHOOL-WIDE READING PERIOD AT THE START OF EACH DAY AND TOTALLY SCRIPTED LESSON PLANS.

Andrea Guy & Class: The octopus likes olives. The octopus likes olives. Ahhh…

Hedrick Smith: TEACHERS WERE OVERWHELMED.

Garnet Mell: I don’t really think any of us knew truly what we were stepping into.

Nancy Raschko: It was drastic. We were tied to a schedule that was not our schedule.

Garnet Mell: Every day had a certain routine to it, certain schedule, and the teachers had this schedule on the wall that they were to follow.

Andrea Guy: At 9:05 you better be doing this; at 9:10 you better be doing that; you know, so it was very structured.

Nancy Raschko: I felt like going back and being a student teacher again where you had to do things in a very scripted way.

Andrea Guy & Class: O-dash-E says O; phone home.

Hedrick Smith: SLAVIN SAYS THERE’S A WELL-RESEARCHED REASON FOR ALL THAT STRUCTURE…A METHOD BEHIND EVERY MOMENT.

Bob Slavin, Co-Founder, Success for All

Bob Slavin: What we’ve tried to do is to engineer every aspect of the lesson, every aspect of school organization and classroom organization to have effective programs being used all the time.

Andrea Guy: Today when we write words, boys and girls, we are going to be writing words with O-W saying “ow” and O-U saying “ow”. Let’s say this one.

Andrea Guy & Class: O-U says “ow”. Shout it out. O-U…

Hedrick Smith: SO SLAVIN’S TEAM CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED THE LEARNING SEQUENCES TO BUILD STUDENTS’ SKILLS.

Bob Slavin: One of the things that we’re trying to build in our Success for All programs is to have many pathways for children to learn the content that they’re being taught.

Guy at the board; kids listening

Andrea Guy: OK, let’s do “Quick Erase”, one of our most favorite games.

Bob Slavin: You learn best if you’ve learned the same idea…

Andrea Guy: What’s the word?

Andrea Guy & Class: Cow!

Andrea Guy: Cow. Very Good.

Bob Slavin: …through your ears, through your eyes, through your senses. And you’re much more likely to be able to recall it and to have it be automatic, than if you only have one way.

Andrea Guy: What’s the word?

Andrea Guy & Class: How!

Andrea Guy: When I was a little girl my sister used to say, ‘How now brown cow.’ Let’s write the word Brown.

Class: Brown!

Andrea Guy: Count it out.

Andrea Guy & Class: BR –UH-OW-NUH

Andrea Guy: How many sounds?

Girl (Maria): Four.

Andrea Guy & Class: Four.

Andrea Guy: Five Letters.

Guy continues the lesson, instructing students to write the words

Hedrick Smith: SO MUCH WAS CRAMMED INTO EACH LESSON, TEACHERS COMPLAINED THEY COULDN’T KEEP UP.

Nancy Raschko, 4th Grade Teacher

Nancy Raschko: It was exhausting for us and I think it was exhausting for the kids at first too. They’re like, ‘Whoa! That was an intense 90 minutes. They never made us sit that still and move us through so many things as quickly’.

Andrea Guy & Class: Yank the yellow yo-yo! Yank…

Hedrick Smith: SLAVIN OFFERS NO APOLOGIES.

Bob Slavin:: You’ve got 90 minutes times 180 days to have kids really learn to read in a given year. You can’t waste a moment of that. That’s a huge amount that kids have to learn.

Hedrick Smith: Listening to you I get the impression that every single detail counts.

Bob Slavin:: Every single detail does count.

Garnett Mell’s class.

Hedrick Smith: THE DETAILS WERE ENGINEERED TO KEEP CHILDREN ENGAGED, WITH THEIR MINDS TURNED ON. ONE WAY IS TO KEEP TEACHING LIVELY AND FAST-PACED…

Class: Tremble!

Garnett Mell: I love it!

Hedrick Smith: ANOTHER STRATEGY IS COOPERATIVE LEARNING, WITH CHILDREN WORKING IN PAIRS.

Garnett Mell: Tell your partner, what does it mean if you’re coasting? Got it now boys? What does it mean when you are coasting?

Kids raising their hands

Garnet Mell, 2nd Grade Teacher

Garnett Mell: When I ask a question in my room and I’ve got maybe, maybe four hands that go up, I know that those four children know it. So if I give them time enough to think, maybe I’ll get six hands up and then if I say, hum… tell your partner, all of a sudden now you’ve got twice as many kids who have the answers.

Garnett Mell: We’re going to read chapter one to our partners.

Hedrick Smith: WITH THESE TECHNIQUES, CENTENNIAL TEACHERS BEGAN TO NOTICE A PAYOFF – THE STRUGGLING KIDS WERE LEARNING TO READ.

Andrea Guy, 1st Grade Teacher

Andrea Guy: Kids of poverty… you could see the door opening for them. They were reading like the other kids. They could apply the skills that they had learned.

Garnett Mell: Oh, the children were making great gains within the school, I thought. I mean we were really moving children forward.

Hedrick Smith: BY SECOND GRADE, TEACHER GARNET MELL IS IMPRESSED WITH WHAT HER STUDENTS CAN HANDLE.

Garnett Mell: Read it with me.

Garnett Mell & Class: Pteranadon,

Garnett Mell: Say it again.

Garnett Mell & Class: PTER-AN-A-DON.

Boy Pteranadon!

Hedrick Smith: You’ve got unusual vocabulary it seems to me for second graders.

Garnett Mell: And of course my class is mainly first graders, so when you think of these little first graders tackling dinosaurs.

Garnett Mell & Class: PTER-AN-A-DON.

Boy Pteranadon!

Hedrick Smith: DID YOU CATCH THAT? MOST OF MELL’S SECOND GRADE READING GROUP ARE FIRST GRADERS ON A FAST TRACK….THAT’S A CRUCIAL HALLMARK OF SUCCESS FOR ALL – THE WAY IT GROUPS CHILDREN…NOT BY AGE OR GRADE, BUT BY THE LEVEL OF THEIR READING SKILLS.

Bob Slavin: Rather than having the top group, the middle group, the low group within a given class of children who are all at one age, we have one group of children who are all reading at the third grade level whether they’re third graders or second graders or fourth graders.

Hedrick Smith: Why do you do that?

Bob Slavin: The concept is to provide a reading class that is exactly at the level that every child needs, even if that means putting together children who are of different ages.

Students reading in class

Hedrick Smith: TEACHING CHILDREN WHERE THEY ARE GENERATES SUCCESS, SLAVIN SAYS.

Bob Slavin: The best motivator, not just for kids but for everybody, the best motivator is success. If you have children who are at a level where they’re likely to be successful, they can profit from the instruction that the teacher is providing and then move forward. Then they feel very good about themselves.

Stacy Malcolm walks with Alejandra Lopez; works with her one-on-one

Hedrick Smith: PLACING CHILDREN LIKE THIRD GRADER ALEJANDRA LOPEZ AT JUST THE RIGHT LEVEL IS VITAL. ASSESSING THEIR PROGRESS IS THE JOB OF STACY MALCOLM, CENTENNIAL SCHOOL’S FACILITATOR FOR SUCCESS FOR ALL.

Stacy Malcolm: Alejandra Lopez is a third grade student and when she was a second grader she spent the entire year at a second grade beginning-of-the-year reading level. She was stuck there. I assessed her. I talked with her teacher. There was something there that she was missing.

Alejandra working

Alejandra Lopez: The… to… and… he…

Hedrick Smith: ALEJANDRA COULD SPEAK ENGLISH ON THE PLAYGROUND BUT SHE COULD NOT READ WELL IN CLASS. SO MALCOLM PUT HER IN A GROUP OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS FOR EXTRA WORK ON VOCABULARY AND READING.

Teacher: Thank you. Alright, here we go. Patiently.

Class: Patiently.

Teacher: Miserable.

Class: Miserable.

Teacher: Forecasting.

Class: Forecasting.

Teacher: Not too fast. Suggestions…

Bob Slavin: If they’re not native speakers of English, they’re often very shy and very unwilling to use English because they may be laughed at in class. So what we do is try to organize opportunities for them to work in pairs or to work in small groups.

Students working in small English Language Learners group

Boy: Why don’t…Why don’t…

Hedrick Smith: ALEJANDRA’S GROUP WAS THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADERS. THEY STARTED AT A SECOND GRADE LEVEL AND MOVED UP TO A THIRD GRADE LEVEL.

Alejandra Lopez: They realized that something was wrong.

Teacher: You’re doing a good job, Ali.

Hedrick Smith: TO REINFORCE WHAT ALEJANDRA IS LEARNING IN HER READING GROUP, MALCOLM HAS SET UP DAILY TUTORING, ONE-ON-ONE – A MANDATE OF SUCCESS FOR ALL.

Stacy Malcolm, Facilitator, Success for All

Stacy Malcolm: It’s my job to give the tutors the information that they need about what the student’s doing in the classroom because the purpose of the tutoring is to support what’s going on inside the reading classroom.

One-on-one tutoring session

Hedrick Smith: TUTORING IS AN ENORMOUS EXPENSE – $100,000 A YEAR – FUNDED BY FEDERAL DOLLARS ALLOCATED TO HIGH POVERTY SCHOOLS. PRINCIPAL ALAN MCDONALD SAYS STUDENT IMPROVEMENT JUSTIFIES THE MONEY.

Alan McDonald The tutoring piece is one that Success for All wants you to do because they also know that these kids that are below grade level need extra assistance. They need that one-on-one attachment, someone to direct them. We tutor over, well over 100 kids every day for 20 minutes.

Alejandra at home with her mom, reading aloud

Alejandra Lopez: Once upon a time in a small village, a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children…

Hedrick Smith: ALEJANDRA’S MOM SEES THE BENEFITS FROM THE SPECIAL READING PROGRAM

Hedrick Smith: What kind of a reader is she?

Janette Hernandez: Right now she’s really gone up on her reading.

Hedrick Smith: Mm-hmm.

Janette Hernandez: She’s a really good reader.

Hedrick Smith: And if we look back a year ago or –

Janette Hernandez: Not as good.

Hedrick Smith: No?

Janette Hernandez: Uh-uh. She would really stumble on her words. And she would just pass the words that she didn’t know. If she couldn’t say it, she would just keep on going.

Hedrick Smith: Mm-hmm.

Janette Hernandez: Right now she’s – she’s progressed a lot.

Hedrick Smith: So a big difference.

Janette Hernandez: Yes.

Students entering the classroom

Hedrick Smith: A BIG DIFFERENCE NOT JUST FOR ALEJANDRA BUT FOR MOST CHILDREN IN THE SIX ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN MOUNT VERNON.

David Scott, School District Official

David Scott: When we implemented Success for All at the beginning we were at about 20-25% of students passing standard.

Hedrick Smith: Throughout the district?

David Scott: Throughout the district. And that has increased to well over 50% and in certain instances we’re at 70 and 80% of students meeting standard.

Pan of Andrea Guy’s reading group in a semi-circle

Hedrick Smith: NATIONWIDE MORE THAN 650,000 CHILDREN IN 1,300 SCHOOLS ARE USING SUCCESS FOR ALL…AND MAKING GAINS.

Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburg

Lauren Resnick: What the Success for All people built was a very tightly tailored program, and they said, ‘Use it. Use it this way. Don’t change it, and it will work’. And it did.

Andrea Guy’s class

Hedrick Smith: AND CENTENNIAL TEACHERS ARE NOW USING IT ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

Garnett Mell, 2nd Grade Teacher’

Garnett Mell: I think those of us that have been here, it’s almost automatic now to do some of these strategies that they’ve taught us. It’s become a part of our teaching.

Hedrick Smith: Are you a different teacher?

Garnett Mell: Than I was? Yes, definitely.

Mell Saying goodbye to students

Garnett Mell: Bye-bye, see you on Monday.

Nancy Raschko, 4th Grade Teacher

Nancy Raschko: I am better at involving all of the children more of the time in the learning that’s going on, making sure that it’s not me telling, but students participating.

Teachers saying goodbye to students; cut to students boarding buses; cut to riding buses

Andrea Guy: Good-bye. Good-bye. Good job.

Alan McDonald One of the things we know happens in education is that kids fall through the cracks. I hear that all the time. They fall through the cracks. Well, with this program the way it’s set up, nobody can fall through the cracks.

Students riding buses and getting off buses at home

Andrea Guy: You cannot have an excuse. You cannot say ‘I can’t teach these kids because they don’t speak English well enough’ or ‘I can’t teach these kids because they’re too poor’ or ‘I can’t teach these kids because nobody read to them at home’. They’re wonderful children. And they can read. They can do it.

Pans away to students coming home from school, fades out

COMER SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Scenes of Rogers Park; police cars; sirens; children playing in fire hydrant spray

Hedrick Smith: CHICAGO…THE NORTH SIDE …A RAW NEIGHBORHOOD CALLED ROGERS PARK…WITH A TENSE MIXTURE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND LATINOS…. FIRST HOME IN AMERICA FOR MANY NEW IMMIGRANTS FROM MEXICO, HAITI, AND AFRICA.

Driving shot slowly past Jordan Community School

Hedrick Smith: IN THE MIDST OF THIS VOLATILE MIX, THE CITY BUILT JORDAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL IN 1993…AND NAMED MAURICE HARVEY ITS FIRST PRINCIPAL.

Maurice Harvey: I can remember the day that I was coming to look at this brand new building and I was bringing a friend and there was some gangs outside and they were shooting like it was Dodge City. And the community was just looking on, accepting this as an everyday occurrence. To me that was the darkest moment. And so I had to question myself, ‘Is this what I want to do? Is this the school where I want to work? Do I know what I’m getting into?’

Hedrick Smith: MAURICE HARVEY’S TROUBLES BEGAN ON DAY ONE. THE STUDENTS BROUGHT THE CONFLICTS AND ETHNIC HOSTILITIES OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD RIGHT INTO THE SCHOOL.

Maurice Harvey: They could not solve problems without arguing or fighting with one another. Their social skills were very low. But their aggressive behavior was very high.

Children fighting

Hedrick Smith: DESPERATE FOR CONTROL, HARVEY ADOPTED A STRATEGY FOR RUNNING THE SCHOOL KNOWN AS THE COMER PROCESS, DEVELOPED BY YALE UNIVERSITY CHILD PSYCHIATRIST, JAMES COMER.

James Comer: You make your decisions based on what’s good for the children. Not what’s good for the principal, what’s good for the teachers, what’s good for the parents… It’s what’s good for the children, what makes them grow. And so you arrive at your decisions based on that. How do you create a culture in the school that will help those children grow? You have to start with that.

Harvey makes announcement; kids in class working

Maurice Harvey On Pa: Good morning staff. Good morning students. Boys and girls, I want you to really focus on improving your behaviors in your classroom…

Hedrick Smith: THE COMER PROCESS IS NOT AN ACADEMIC CURRICULUM LIKE SUCCESS FOR ALL, BUT RATHER A STRATEGY FOR CREATING A POSITIVE CLIMATE FOR LEARNING.

Maurice Harvey On Pa: Concentrate and focus on the instruction…

Hedrick Smith: What is it about Comer that said to you, ‘bam, that’s what I need, that’s what this school needs?’

Maurice Harvey: Comer represented getting everyone involved. And I knew in order to work with children effectively we have to bring in the parents. Parent component sold me on the Comer Process.

Hedrick Smith: TURNING TO PARENTS WASN’T EASY.

Parent, Rhonda Jones, walks through park

Rhonda Jones: I remember the day I went to enroll my daughter into Jordan. I went into the park and my boy’s father and I were there. And we decided we was going to take a smoke, smoke a joint, before we go in there.

Hedrick Smith: When you stopped to have a joint, I mean, that was something you were used to doing.

Rhonda Jones: Yeah, that was the normal

Hedrick Smith: Were you an addict?

Rhonda Jones: I smoked reefer for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s what I did.

Hedrick Smith: ONE AFTERNOON RHONDA JONES OVERSLEPT AND MISSED THE PICKUP TIME FOR HER DAUGHTER. WHEN SHE CALLED THE SCHOOL, NO ONE KNEW WHERE SHEQUETA WAS.

Rhonda Jones: I was so angry with the school that I couldn’t understand why they would allow a kindergartner to walk home by their self.

Little girl walking home alone

Hedrick Smith: RHONDA’S DAUGHTER MADE IT HOME SAFELY, BUT RHONDA WAS FURIOUS WITH THE SCHOOL.

Rhonda Jones: After I blessed them out, I told them that they might as well find something for me to do because from that day on I was not leaving my child with them again.

Jones entering the school building

Hedrick Smith: FOLLOWING JAMES COMER’S PHILOSOPHY, THE SCHOOL DIDN’T SEND HER HOME – THEY ENLISTED HER AS A PARENT VOLUNTEER.

Maurice Harvey: There were a lot of parents in our community that were drug users, a lot of them. And so when she was saying, ‘I can change’, I says, ‘Now this is a person that is going to help us, to help our children’, and we’re going to try to work through Rhonda.

Rhonda working within the school

Rhonda Jones: Out.

Girl: Out.

Hedrick Smith: GETTING RHONDA INVOLVED AT SCHOOL CHANGED HER LIFE. SHE LEARNED NEW SKILLS AND GAINED CONFIDENCE. AND…SHE STOPPED DOING DRUGS.

James Comer: And so you must create the environment in which all of the adults can interact in a way with each other so that they get along well, become models for the children and then the children can be supported in their development.

Hedrick Smith: IN TIME, RHONDA BECAME A LEADER AMONG THE PARENTS.

Rhonda Jones: It’s been so hard trying to get parents to come out and volunteer.

Rhonda Jones:My thing was, ‘Where are the parents? Who are the problem children? And where are their parents?’

Children eating lunch in the cafeteria

Hedrick Smith: DEALING WITH PROBLEM CHILDREN AND STOPPING FIGHTS WAS A MAJOR PRIORITY IN JORDAN’S EARLY YEARS. SOCIAL WORKER CHRIS GRIFFIN WAS AT THE CENTER OF THAT EFFORT.

Chris Griffin In Cafeteria: Uh, no, put that down, I know you’re not throwing in the lunch room.

Chris Griffin: We were spending all of our time putting out fires, it seemed, stopping fights. The lunchroom – when they would get together – there were not enough adults to minimize the friction between the students. Teachers were saying, ‘I can’t teach. I’m spending all of my time with discipline’. It just became unmanageable.

Griffin makes a boy sweep up a mess on the floor of the cafeteria.

Hedrick Smith: GRIFFIN PERSONIFIES ONE OF COMER’S CORE CONCEPTS FOR REFORMING SCHOOLS – A FULL TIME SOCIAL WORKER.

Chris Griffin: If a kid does not feel safe, if a kid is anxious, if a kid is feeling scared, they’re not going to perform well. They’re not going to show what they’re really capable of doing.

James Comer: You can’t pound it into them. And you’ve got to have, you’ve got to create the conditions that, you know, so that the child wants to learn, is motivated to learn and the adults around them are working in ways that motivate them.

Griffin entering a classroom and talking with the teacher.

Hedrick Smith: SO GRIFFIN FOLLOWED COMER’S RULE NUMBER ONE – BEFORE YOU CAN TEACH KIDS YOU HAVE TO CREATE THE RIGHT KIND OF CULTURE IN THE SCHOOL.

Chris Griffin: This is a very smart class. I wonder if anyone can tell me what respect means?

Teacher: Raise your hands. Raise your hands.

Child 1: When you be nice and don’t talk back to an elder person.

Chris Griffin: Respecting your elders. Yes?

Child 2: Show respect to school property and personal property.

Chris Griffin: So you can respect people as well as property. Very, very good, I like that.

Chris Griffin: So, we got together. I think we picked two: What is respect? What is proper conduct in the classroom? And we sort of came up with a contract and a commitment that said, ‘Is this something that we could work together, because our job is to teach, your job is to learn. Neither one of us is doing our job, so we’ve got to change some things’.

Griffin walking through hallways

Chris Griffin: Over time, you could sort of see the expectations change. This is a school that does not expect fights.

Griffin talking to teacher

Chris Griffin: He did such a great job helping clean up in the lunch room.

Teacher: Did he? Thank you. Do you want to give him a heart? We give hearts when we do something…

Griffin gives student a heart made out of construction paper.

Hedrick Smith: TO COMER, CHRIS GRIFFIN WAS DOING MORE THAN KEEPING THE PEACE. HE WAS CREATING A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT THAT WOULD ENABLE KIDS TO DEVELOP AND LEARN.

Chris Griffin With Student: Thank you.

James Comer: Development and learning are inextricably linked. When you’re developing well, you will learn. You will be motivated to learn. Adults around the kid must create the environment that supports development that promotes learning.

Harvey walking in hallway

Hedrick Smith: IF THE COMER PROCESS SPELLED CHANGE FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS, IT ALSO MANDATED CHANGE FOR THE PRINCIPAL… MAURICE HARVEY..…COMER SAYS SCHOOLS WORK BETTER THROUGH TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATIVE DECISION MAKING. BUT THAT WAS NOT HARVEY’S STYLE.

Maurice Harvey: All principals that I have worked under, even as a teacher, were autocratic. Delegating power? No. You make sure that it’s done. You do it.

Chris Griffin: He had a very demanding voice and presence, and people just sort of expected, ‘Oh, God. What is it now? It’s going to be bad’.

Judy Owens, 3rd Grade Teacher

Judy Owens: He was trained by a dictatorial principal. I mean that was the norm in Chicago and in a lot of schools and that’s what he knew.

Hedrick Smith: Why is power sharing so important to the Comer Process?

James Comer: Because power is a big problem. Power and control is what limits the growth and development of everybody.

Harvey leading faculty meeting

Maurice Harvey: I soon learned that it caused a lot of conflicts on the staff. That decisions that I have made that other people didn’t buy into made it very difficult to implement those different ideas that I had.

Judy Owens: It was hard for him to give up some of that control. And actually I think it was hard for some of us to have the input. We weren’t used to having that input. ‘You mean you really care about what we think? You really care about our opinion?’

Hedrick Smith: THE COMER PROCESS MEANT HARVEY HAD TO START LISTENING TO EVERYONE – TEACHERS, PARENTS, STAFF.

Harvey in the SPMT Meeting

Maurice Harvey: First of all I want to make sure that everyone is on board with us. Is this something that the staff wants? That’s number one.

Maurice Harvey: I changed as a principal. It’s very difficult, as Dr. Comer says. Consensus, no fault, collaboration. Those are very easy words to say but very hard to do.

Harvey in a classroom

Judy Owens: Hi, Dr. Harvey.

Maurice Harvey: How’re you doing? I’m going to see, over here, what you’re doing.

Chris Griffin: I think when he enters a room now, there’s a different understanding of his presence. He wants to see teaching and learning going on. He wants to see active engagement. He wants to see children excited about what’s going on in the classroom.

Children tussling in halls of school; Mary Frieda in the hall taking kids to gym class

Hedrick Smith: DESPITE ALL THE CHANGES, SOME CHRONIC PROBLEMS PERSIST…THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS STILL ROUGH AND MANY CHILDREN STILL ARRIVE AT SCHOOL ANGRY AND COMBATIVE. FOR NEW TEACHERS LIKE MARY FRIEDA, JUST MANAGING THE CLASSROOM IS TOUGH.

Mary Frieda: It was very hard to control. I had some kids with some serious behavior issues, some very challenging students.

Hedrick Smith: BUT INSTEAD OF MARY FRIEDA’S BEING ISOLATED, THE COMER PROCESS MAKES HER CLASSROOM PROBLEMS A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY, WITH THE EMPHASIS ON PROBLEM-SOLVING, NOT FINGER-POINTING.

James Comer: If you blame people, and there’s plenty to blame in a school that’s not going well, but if you blame people you become defensive, you fight more. But if you focus on solving the problem, then people start working together to focus on what’s really important and what’s good for the children.

Hedrick Smith: SO JONI LAMB, THE NEW COMER SOCIAL WORKER, BEGAN WORKING WITH MARY FRIEDA’S SECOND GRADE CLASS.

Joni Lamb: Having the freedom to not feel like she’s going to get blamed is very important. And that’s one of the Comer principles – the no-fault – that we didn’t want to blame the teacher. ‘You’re a bad teacher’. We wanted to make sure that she felt supported, that she knew that we were there to work as a team.

Hedrick Smith: LAMB SUGGESTED PUTTING THE DISRUPTIVE KIDS INTO A SPECIAL GROUP THAT MET ONCE A WEEK. THEY WORKED ON COMMUNICATING BETTER TO HELP REDUCE FIGHTING IN CLASS.

“I Care Cat” scene with students

Joni Lamb: Show me that you’re listening please. Alright, so can someone tell me…we have I Care Cat with us, and we talked about “I Care” language.

Boy: No, we didn’t.

Joni Lamb: So I want to hear one statement that would be “I Care” language.

Boy: Okay, okay.

Joni Lamb: From each of you.

Boy: I liked when Robert said sorry when he pushed me down and he didn’t even do it.

Joni Lamb: Wow.

Chris Griffen: Wow.

Joni Lamb: Now that’s nice. Jamal do you have another one for us?

Jamal: I liked when Robert B. picked up my necklace.

Joni Lamb: Oh, sounds like Robert and Andre have been pretty helpful.

Mary Frieda, 2nd Grade Teacher

Mary Frieda: I think the collaborative effort makes a huge difference, as a teacher. You feel more in control of your classroom. At my former school, we had more of a “one person hands out the rules”. Here, it’s more “everyone meets together”. You feel more a part of the decisions being made, so you’re more willing to put in the extra effort.

Mary Frieda’s 2nd grade class

Hedrick Smith: WITH THE CLASS MORE MANAGEABLE, MARY FRIEDA COULD FOCUS MORE ON TEACHING.

Mary Frieda: 44 plus 16.

Boy: That’s a hard one.

Mary Frieda: It is a hard one. There’s some carrying. So, what’s 4 plus 1?

Boy: Five-five-five!

Mary Frieda: Plus one more?

Boy Offscreen: Six.

Boy: Six, sixty!

Mary Frieda: Good, sixty is our answer.

Children working and learning

Hedrick Smith: AND, JUST AS JAMES COMER PREDICTED, AS BEHAVIOR IMPROVED, SO DID THE ACADEMICS. OVER A DECADE, THE SCHOOL HAS RISEN FROM ONLY 19% OF STUDENTS ON GRADE LEVEL OR ABOVE IN MATH AND ONLY 12% IN READING – TO ROUGHLY 50% IN BOTH SUBJECTS. CHICAGO SCHOOL AUTHORITIES ARE ENTHUSIASTIC.

Barbara Eason-Watkins, Chicago Public Schools

Barbara Eason-Watkins: We have about 10 or 12 schools that are actively involved in the Comer Process and we’ve been very, very pleased with the results that we have seen over the past few years.

Boy student engrossed in work

Hedrick Smith: BUT JAMES COMER IS LOOKING FOR MORE THAN SCORES.

Children learning; working on art projects

James Comer: You know the purpose of the school is not just to raise test scores or to give children academic learning. The purpose of the school is to give children an experience that will help them grow – develop – in ways that they can be successful in school and, later, successful adults.

Hedrick Smith: How do you measure success? You, as a principal, whose been here now 12 years or so.

Maurice Harvey: I looked at the boys and girls who want to come to school. There’s a tremendous difference in the behavior. Kids come to school with a smile on their face. Kids want to be in our school. There is a thirst for knowledge with our students. When I walk into the classrooms the children are actively engaged in activities that are taking place. Those are successes for me.

KIPP

Dark exterior of house; Reynaldo’s alarm goes off; gets out of bed

Reynaldo Garcia: My day starts at 5 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t end ‘til 10 o’clock at night.

Reynaldo gets himself breakfast

Reynaldo Garcia: I’m actually just barely waking up, just getting the engine started, just chucking in the coal, just getting ready, just to come to school.

Hedrick Smith: REYNALDO GARCIA IS 16. HE’S IN EIGHTH GRADE.

Rey and his brother walk in early light through neighborhood

Hedrick Smith: HE AND HIS BROTHER ARE OUT THE DOOR EARLY TO MAKE THE BUS.

Hedrick Smith: THEY LIVE IN DENVER HARBOR, A TOUGH IMMIGRANT SECTION OF HOUSTON

Rey getting on the bus

Hedrick Smith: REY IS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL – A SCHOOL AGE LONG IGNORED BY REFORMERS. BUT REY ATTENDS A SPECIAL SCHOOL, A CHARTER SCHOOL CALLED KIPP 3D ACADEMY.

Hedrick Smith: 3D STANDS FOR DESIRE, DISCIPLINE AND DEDICATION – A HUGE CHANGE FOR A KID LIKE REY.

Rey walks toward school building; see sign for school

Reynaldo Garcia: I didn’t want to come here. But my mom, well she’s my mom, she told me, all Mexican moms tells me, ‘If you’re going to live under my roof, you’re going to do as I say’. It was hard for me to transition into this school.

Still shots of Rey, several years younger

Hedrick Smith: WHEN REY ENTERED KIPP 3D ACADEMY FOUR YEARS AGO, HE HAD ALREADY BEEN HELD BACK TWICE.

Reynaldo Garcia: I was pretty bad rascal back then. I would beat up on little people. I used to bully people around that was smaller, small kids. Take their lunch money. Always get in trouble. Get detention all the time, every day. Get suspended for fighting in the restrooms, stepping up to my teacher while she was teaching class.

Hedrick Smith: BUT REY WAS UP AGAINST SOMETHING NEW.

5th Graders in library; Dan Caesar leads chant…

Dan Caesar: Is 3D in the house?

Class: Yes!

Dan Caesar: Then give me a beat!

Class: [BANGING & CLAPPING] You’ve gotta read baby read! Gotta read baby read!

Hedrick Smith: AT THE START OF SCHOOL, REY HAD HIS FIRST CONFRONTATION WITH 3D ACADEMY’S PRINCIPAL, DAN CAESAR.

Reynaldo Garcia: We were going over our chants. And just being myself, still trying to figure out how this school runs and everything.

Dan Caesar, Principal

Dan Caesar: We say is 3D in the house? And all the kids raise up their hands and say, ‘Yes!’ And Reynaldo raised up his hands and said, ‘No!’

Reynaldo Garcia: I waved my hand, I said, ‘No’ and then he looked at me and he said it a second time. And I said ‘No’ again.

Dan Caesar: I knew right then, ‘here’s the first test, the first person testing our culture’. So I let him know in front of everybody in the room that that’s not going to be tolerated. We all want to be here, we all chose to be here. If you don’t want to be here, find the door.

Reynaldo Garcia: But for some reason, I don’t know, my conscience just told me just to sit there, that everything would be all right and we’ll get through this.

Hedrick Smith: Why was it so important to address it publicly right then and there?

Dan Caesar: When you are establishing a school culture as we were and we still are, you have to set limits. You have to set limits on the kids.

Back to the chants

Dan Caesar: Who do you rob?

Class: You rob your momma. You rob your friends…

Hedrick Smith: KIPP DELIBERATELY CREATES A CULTURE OF TEAMWORK AND LOYALTY THAT COMPETES AGAINST THE GANG CULTURE OF THE STREET. MIKE FEINBERG IS A CO-FOUNDER OF KIPP, SHORT FOR “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER PROGRAM”

Hedrick Smith and Michael Feinberg walk-and-talk

Hedrick Smith: …a lot of new kids. They’re not used to your system. They must have a bunch of behavior problems.

Michael Feinberg: Oh, yeah. They have to get “Kippnotized” early on.

Hedrick Smith: “Kippnotized?”

Michael Feinberg: “Kippnotized.”

Hedrick Smith: What does that mean – “Kippnotized?”

Michael Feinberg: “Kippnotized” is what …they have to learn what it means to be a “Kippster”, which is: they have to learn what it means to work hard, what it means to be nice, what it means to appreciate your teammates; understand we’re a team and a family.

Rey and classmates walking through halls; silent breakfast.

Hedrick Smith:ABOVE ALL, KIPPNOTIZING MEANS PUSHING KIDS HARD. THE DAYS BEGIN AT 7:30AM AND DOES NOT END UNTIL 5 AT NIGHT. THEY START WITH A SILENT BREAKFAST WHERE STUDENTS DO WHAT IS CALLED “MORNING WORK”; THAT’S ON TOP OF TWO HOURS OF HOMEWORK, SATURDAY CLASSES, THREE WEEKS OF SUMMER SCHOOL…

Michael Feinberg: Everyone’s looking for the magic bullet instead of, you know, instead of just getting after it and realizing this is extremely hard work. We need to believe that all children can learn. But then what we need to act on is changing the word “can” to “will”. And so we need to act on the fact that all children will learn.

Hedrick Smith: When you take the Saturday classes, the long day, the weeks in the summertime, how much extra time does that give students in an academic year?

Michael Feinberg: About 67% more time in the classroom than what’s found in a traditional public school setting.

Hedrick Smith: That’s a big difference.

Michael Feinberg: Oh, it’s a big difference. It’s a big commitment but one that has a big payoff at the end of the day.

Hedrick Smith: 3D ACADEMY IS A PUBLIC SCHOOL AND MOST OF ITS STUDENTS COME FROM POOR NEIGHBORHOODS. BUT IT’S A CHARTER SCHOOL AND THAT MEANS EVERY FAMILY HAS CHOSEN TO COME HERE. IT’S FREE, BUT TO GET IN ALL STUDENTS AND PARENTS MUST SIGN A CONTRACT TO LIVE BY KIPP’S STRICT RULES.

Hedrick talking to Blanca Garcia, Reynaldo’s mother

Hedrick Smith: You wanted Reynaldo to go to KIPP?

Blanca Garcia: Yes.

Hedrick Smith: Why?

Blanca Garcia: Because it’s a different school, you know. Over here in high school, you know, you see the police everyday in there. They’re getting in fight. They do drugs. And I don’t want to be one of those mothers, you know, they need to go and see my son in the jail because whatever happen in school, you know?

Diana Soliz, Assistant Principal

Diana Soliz: Anybody who signs a commitment is eligible to come, anybody who believes in the mission and understands, frankly, what we do – the hours, the homework. We talk to the students very frankly. We talk to the families very frankly about what our school is about and what our mission is. And remember, our goal at KIPP 3D Academy is college.

5th grade math class doing chants

Class: How about four! 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, a boom ditty boom, 32, 36, bitty bitty bum bum, 40, 44, 48…

Hedrick Smith: THE DREAM OF COLLEGE FOR THESE KIDS IS THE SUPREME MOTIVATOR. BUT IT MEANS THEY HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF CATCHING UP TO DO.

Hedrick Smith: Now, these are fifth graders.

Michael Feinberg: Mmm-Hmm.

Hedrick Smith: By my recollection, multiplication tables are basically a third-grade subject.

Michael Feinberg: Yes. In a perfect world, it should not be this way. We shouldn’t… fifth-grade teachers should not have to be getting the kids caught up with the basic reading skills and math skills.

Hedrick Smith: So, these kids are coming out of regular public schools and they’re not up to grade. Is what you’re saying?

Michael Feinberg: Most of them, no.

Hedrick Smith: Why fifth graders? I mean, why do you start a middle school in fifth grade?

Michael Feinberg: Fifth grade, to us, is the fourth quarter, the two-minute warning, we’re down by a touchdown. This is such a critical age. This is right before the pre-adolescence really kicks in.

Class: That’s 11 multiples baby!

Michael Feinberg: You can still win the game but now every second counts. There’s a tremendous sense of urgency and there’s no more margin for error.

Class: 106, 108, 120, 132, 144!

Math Teacher: Awesome! Pat yourselves on the back.

Hedrick Smith: THAT SENSE OF URGENCY DRIVES THE TEACHERS AT KIPP WHO MUST SIGN A CONTRACT AS WELL – PLEDGING ALWAYS TO BE AVAILABLE TO THEIR STUDENTS.

Michael Feinberg: What you get is energy. What you get is creativity. What you get is people who are part of that mission and they can do what’s necessary to get the kids from where they are to where we want them to be.

Hedrick Smith: STUDENTS WHO WERE WEAK IN ENGLISH, LIKE NANCY FUENTES, WERE OVERWHELMED BY DEMANDING CLASSES AND LONG HOURS OF HOMEWORK.

Nancy Fuentes: It was hard. I used to stay… they say, it’s like three hours a day; but to me, it was more. It was like five hours a day. I started like at seven; and I fell asleep like at 12. And then I woke up – sometimes I woke up back at three to finish my homework.

Hedrick Smith: CALLING TEACHERS AT HOME BECAME CRUCIAL TO NANCY’S ABILITY TO COPE.

Hedrick Smith: They said, ‘You got problems at night, you can call us’. Did you believe that? Did you do it?

Nancy Fuentes: I was kind of scared. I was like, ‘Well, what if they tell me it’s too late? Why are you calling me right now?’ But then I was like, ‘No, I need the help, so – who else is going to help me?’ And so I decided to call the teachers, and they helped me. And after I realized that they actually did want to help me, I started calling them more often.

Rey studying at a table

Hedrick Smith: REY GARCIA STRUGGLED ACADEMICALLY, BUT THE TEACHERS HELPED HIM MAKE HEADWAY. IN SEVENTH GRADE HE WON THE AWARD AS 3D ACADEMY’S MOST IMPROVED STUDENT.

Hedrick Smith: Do you have any classes that you really like?

Reynaldo Garcia: Yeah World History. I like learning about the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican, the Spanish American War, the war – World War I, World War II.

Hedrick Smith: So what is it about that that turns you on?

Reynaldo Garcia: It’s just that a little trigger is just being tripped on and for some reason I’m just more excited about that class – Social Studies – than any of the other classes. Science, yeah, it’s good ‘cause you get to dissect things, which is tight. But for some reason I like Social Studies class better. It requires more thinking and hitting the books more.

Rey in Social Studies class

Hedrick Smith: IN SOCIAL STUDIES THE TEACHER HAS REY AND HIS CLASSMATES INVOLVED IN THE LESSON BY CREATING BOARD GAMES…INVENTING QUESTIONS BUILT AROUND PEOPLE AND EVENTS FROM THE CIVIL WAR ERA.

Reynaldo Garcia: What speech did Lincoln give? To what, redeem himself?

Student: Yeah, redeem himself.

Reynaldo Garcia: The Gettysburg Address? Yeah boy!

Hedrick Smith: Do they see this as their history? Or, is it still distant? Do they see some connection to themselves?

Kelly Driscoll, Social Studies Teacher

Kelly Driscoll: I think so. They’re not just looking at it. They’re absorbing it because they’re up and they’re moving, and they’re working together, and they’re figuring it out.

Hedrick Smith: Are these kids ready for high school?

Kelly Driscoll: I think they are. I think academically they’re definitely ready for high school.

Diana Soliz: Good Morning Reynaldo…

Hedrick Smith: ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL DIANA SOLIZ, WHO WAS ONCE HERSELF A CHILD OF POVERTY, MEETS WITH THE EIGHTH GRADERS NEAR THE END OF THE YEAR TO REMIND THEM WHAT THEY HAVE OVERCOME.

Soliz with students

Diana Soliz: I was going to tell you a story, kind of to give you an idea of where you are now. I’ve told a lot of you about my background. Everybody has a sad story. You know what I mean by that right? Everybody has something going on in their family, somebody doing something, something you don’t like, somebody you don’t get along with, rent due, eviction, lights cut off, whatever. Everybody has a sad story. It’s what you do with that sad story is what makes you different. You are now on the level playing field academically. You have a solid, solid academic foundation. You don’t have an excuse. This is your time to shine.

Nancy walking down hallway

Hedrick Smith: KIPP HAS CATAPULTED SOME, LIKE NANCY FUENTES, BEYOND WHAT SHE IMAGINED – TOWARD ONE OF AMERICA’S ELITE COLLEGE PREP BOARDING SCHOOLS.

Phone call from Deerfield Academy

Diana Soliz: O.K. just one second.

Voice On Phone: Thank you.

Nancy Fuentes: Hello?

Voice On Phone: Yes, hello, is this Nancy?

Nancy Fuentes: Yes, this is me.

Voice On Phone: Hello, this is Jeff Armes calling. I’m the Associate Dean of Admissions at Deerfield Academy here in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Nancy Fuentes: Oh!

Voice On Phone: How are you today?

Nancy Fuentes: I’m doing just fine. How are you?

Voice On Phone: Fine, thank you. It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you in having been admitted to the Deerfield Class of 2009.

Nancy Fuentes: Well, it’s an honor for me to be accepted into that school…

Hedrick Smith: What’s going through your head when she’s on the phone with the guy from the admissions office at Deerfield?

Diana Soliz: That Nancy’s life is going to change. Not that she’s made it, but that that door was opened. And now she can continue in becoming a better person and gaining more knowledge and opening more doors, not just for herself but for many, many more people.

Nancy Fuentes: KIPP has changed me. I found my passion, which is learning, and it helped me be determined, feel the desire, see my goal.

Hedrick Smith: NANCY IS NOT ALONE. THIS YEAR, 36 KIPPSTERS MADE IT INTO TOP BOARDING SCHOOLS FROM KIPP’S NATIONWIDE NETWORK. IN ALL, THERE ARE 38 KIPP SCHOOLS AND THE NUMBER IS GROWING.

Michael Feinberg: I do think that we can contribute to the whole by getting rid of the excuses out there and by empowering other people to think ‘well if those KIPPsters down the block can do it, I can do it, too’.

Eighth graders chant: “Read Baby Read”

Lisa Smith: Are the seniors in the house?!

Students: Yes!

Lisa Smith: Are the seniors in the house?!

Students: Yes!

Hedrick Smith: REY GARCIA AND most of HIS CLASSMATES are heading inTO kipp’s new high school IN HOUSTON THIS FALL. and that will be another CHALLENGE for ReY.

Students:You’ve gotta read baby ready! You’ve gotta read baby read! The more you read, the more you know! Knowledge is power! Power is freedom! You gotta want it!

Hedrick Smith: BUT KIPP HAS ALREADY CHANGED THE DIRECTION OF REY’S LIFE.

Hedrick talking to Rey

Hedrick Smith: Can you imagine your life without KIPP?

Reynaldo Garcia: Well, gee, I don’t know. Probably if I would have been… if I was still in school and the way I was doing before I came here, I’d probably be in juvie or something like that.

Hedrick Smith: Juvenile detention?

Reynaldo Garcia: Yeah.

Rey walks home

Reynaldo Garcia: The reason I changed is because I don’t want to be living a low life, thug life or anything like that. The thing that I would want to say is to other people out in the world that if I can change, everybody can change.

Fade to black

HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WORK

Scenic shots of hills; coal train moves through town; shot of water tower, to exterior of high school with kids clustered around the door

Hedrick Smith: WHETHER IN HOUSTON OR HERE, IN THE APPALACHIAN HILLS OF EASTERN KENTUCKY WHERE COAL STILL MOVES THROUGH THE TOWN OF CORBIN AS IT HAS FOR GENERATIONS, HIGH SCHOOL IS A PUZZLE. IT POSES A SPECIAL CHALLENGE.

Joyce Phillips: I see the main challenge to be, you know, you have a certain percentage of students and they are going to learn no matter what, probably about 20% of the kids that come here. Whatever you throw at them, they’re going to love. But then we have about 80% of the kids that need some kind of a hook, some kind of a something to get their interest, something that will make them want to come to school and want to learn and want to do their best.

Joyce Phillips moves through school

Hedrick Smith: JOYCE PHILLIPS IS PRINCIPAL OF CORBIN HIGH SCHOOL. IT DRAWS 630 STUDENTS FROM THREE COUNTIES.

Phillips stops to talk to students in hallway, in gym.

Joyce Phillips: I think we have a lot of problems that some of the larger schools and a lot of the big city schools have. I think kids are kids and you’re going to have the same problems everywhere.

Hedrick Smith: FOR HELP WITH TEENAGERS WHO WERE LOST, JOYCE PHILLIPS TURNED FOUR YEARS AGO TO AN EDUCATOR NAMED GENE BOTTOMS WHO HAS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WITH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

Gene Bottoms: You’ve got to challenge them. You have to support them. And you have to convince them that you believe they’re worthy of your effort to help them meet those higher standards.

Students walking hallway at Corbin

Hedrick Smith: BOTTOMS WAS ASKED BY SOUTHERN GOVERNORS IN THE MID-80S TO DESIGN A HIGH SCHOOL STRATEGY TARGETED AT THE FORGOTTEN 80 PERCENT.

Gene Bottoms, Founder, High Schools that Work

Gene Bottoms: If you could help youngsters begin to connect to a goal beyond high school, and they can begin to connect the courses they’re taking to that goal, you have a youth going someplace.

Corbin High School – see montage of media center, bank, chem lab, cafeteria

Hedrick Smith: BOTTOMS’ PROGRAM, CALLED HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WORK, SPELLS OUT KEY PRACTICES THAT PUSH HIGH SCHOOLS TO RAISE ACADEMIC STANDARDS FOR ALL STUDENTS... AND TO HAVE TEACHERS MOTIVATE STUDENTS THROUGH CLOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

Hedrick Smith walking through hallways

Hedrick Smith: AT CORBIN HIGH SCHOOL, THE MOST VISIBLE HALLMARK OF BOTTOMS’ STRATEGIES IS THE FRESHMAN CENTER.

Gene Bottoms: When we first looked at Corbin it was pretty obvious they needed to improve this transition from the middle grades into the high school.

Students by lockers between classes

Hedrick Smith: SEVERAL YEARS AGO, CORBIN SET UP A SEPARATE WING WHERE ALL NINTH GRADERS TAKE THEIR CLASSES.

Joyce Phillips, Principal

Joyce Phillips: Well, traditionally the largest number of dropouts come from the freshman year. And that is something that we wanted to look into and see if if we could help the freshmen.

Hedrick Smith: A PROBLEM NOT JUST AT CORBIN, BUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Kati Haycock, The Education Trust

Kati Haycock: If you look at ninth graders and you ask how many graduate with their class 4 years later, it looks like about 70% do. That means 30% don’t. But if you look at the cities it’s much worse than that. If you look at poor kids, kids of color, it’s much worse than that. The dropout problem in this country is scandalous.

Teachers meet to discuss student progress.

Hedrick Smith: THE DROPOUT PROBLEM IS A TOP CONCERN FOR CORBIN’S FRESHMEN TEACHERS. THEY MEET DAILY TO DISCUSS THEIR STUDENTS.

Prendergraft: Well, if there’s something wrong we ought to try to figure out what it is to help him. I don’t know…I truly think it’s not something in class.

Don White: How many of these kids on the list come from dysfunctional families?

Don White, Algebra teacher

Don White: We discuss all these problems, not only just academics, but we discuss all these problems that kids might be having that’s distracting from the educational process.

Hamlin: At least maybe find out there’s a problem or something.

Off Camera Woman: Is she around after school?

Gene Bottoms: We believe it’s very important that every youngster in high school is known by an adult. When we started doing this work in high school, there were literally hundreds of thousands of students in high school who belonged to no one; no one knew them.

Kim Hamlin’s math class

Hedrick Smith: MEETING DAILY ENABLES TEACHERS TO FLAG STRUGGLING STUDENTS – STUDENTS LIKE WANDA KINSEY.

Wanda Kinsey: I got confused by some of it…like a lot of it.

Kim Hamlin: Okay, tell me where you got confused.

Hedrick Smith: ONE REASON FOR WANDA’S ACADEMIC TROUBLES WAS HER HOME LIFE.

Wanda Kinsey: Well, at home I had real bad problems with my mom so my grades were just dropping because I didn’t have time to study. I didn’t have time to do anything but just sit there, ‘cause all we did was argue.

Kinsey’s trailer home

Hedrick Smith: SO WANDA MOVED IN WITH HER GRANDMOTHER.

Wanda and her grandmother, Sue Kinsey, in Wanda’s bedroom

Hedrick Smith: IN WANDA’S IMMEDIATE FAMILY NO ONE HAS MADE IT BEYOND NINTH GRADE.

Sue Kinsey, Wanda’s grandmother

Sue and Kinsey: She’s at the age that a lot of the girls goes out and has sex and have babies. She told me she don’t want to have no kids, she don’t know want no sex. She wants to go to college.

Wanda in reading class

Hedrick Smith: EARLY IN NINTH GRADE, WANDA TESTED WELL BELOW GRADE LEVEL IN READING. SO DID OTHER NINTH GRADERS. PAM BISHOP, CORBIN’S READING SPECIALIST, SUGGESTED A COURSE WITH A SPECIAL WRINKLE – ALL GIRLS.

Bishop leading the class

Pam Bishop: What you think makes a woman exceptional…

Hedrick Smith: Do you think it made a difference in this “Read Up Class” to have only girls?

Pam Bishop: Um. I believe, especially with the age group, they’re less open to sharing. And I think some of the research supports that for girls, that they have a tendency to kind of shy away from speaking up in class when there are boys in the room.

Girls writing in journals

Hedrick Smith: THE CLASS WORKED ON THE BASICS – VOCABULARY, COMPREHENSION, READING SKILLS. THEY WROTE JOURNALS AND SHARED THEIR WRITING.

Pam Bishop: Anybody willing to share?

Wanda Kinsey: I wrote about my aunt because she’s been through some rough things. And she’s done a lot for me. Like, if I need to talk, she’ll talk to me. She’s just a great person. And I’ve always wanted to be like her. She’s like my role model.

Hedrick Smith: FOR WANDA, WORKING CLOSELY WITH A TEACHER MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Wanda Kinsey: Before I got in her class,you know, I kind of felt like my dreams were fading away ‘cause I couldn’t do anything. But when I got in her class it just dawns on you – gonna make it – because she helped me one-on-one.

Pam Bishop, Reading Specialist

Pam Bishop: One of the particular benefits of having such a small group of students was getting to know their personal lives a little bit more.

Wanda closing up her books at end of class; Bishop hugs the girls

Pam Bishop: Knowing some of what Wanda has had to go through in her personal life… I’ve just seen her blossom and overcome despite the things that are going on outside the school.

Hedrick Smith: IT WASN’T JUST HER READING THAT IMPROVED, SO DID HER WORK IN OTHER CLASSES.

Hamlin teaching math; Wanda at the board attacking a difficult algebra problem.

Kim Hamlin, Algebra Teacher

Kim Hamlin: Her confidence has grown. She asks more questions and I think this has really been good for her – this extra time for her – to get her confidence level up for her math. She was very shaky in her math and I really wondered if she would ever surpass a D level. I’m so proud of her. She has brought her grade up to a B average.

Students in a math class taught by Don White

Hedrick Smith: WANDA IS MAKING IT IN ALGEBRA BUT MANY OTHER STUDENTS ARE DROWNING. CORBIN REQUIRES FOUR YEARS OF MATH FOR ALL STUDENTS. SO ALGEBRA IS A CRUCIAL GATEWAY ACADEMICALLY. BUT PERSONALLY IT’S A DREADED TEST OF SURVIVAL.

Don White: What’s the next thing we do?

Hedrick Smith: AS PART OF THE FRESHMAN PROGRAM, DON WHITE TUTORS NINTH GRADERS DAILY BEFORE SCHOOL SO THEY WON’T FALL BEHIND.

Don White at the board with Jon Jasper

Jon Jasper: Negative 3 if you look at it on a number-line; you have zero, here, 1, 2, 3 or negative 1, 2…

Hedrick Smith: JON JASPER WAS ONE OF THOSE FLOUNDERING FRESHMEN IN ALGEBRA UNTIL DON WHITE BEGAN WORKING WITH HIM.

Don White: I try and sell them on an idea.

Hedrick Smith: I’m intrigued with the idea that somebody would be selling Algebra.

Don White: [laughs] But that’s really what you have to do with these kids – you got to sell them the idea. You got to make it live. You got to make it connected.

Hedrick Smith: WHEN DON WHITE EXPLAINED THE CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA TO JON JASPER, SHOWING HIM THE REASONING BEHIND ALL THOSE BAFFLING X’S AND Y’S RATHER THAN JUST TEACHING HOW TO SOLVE EQUATIONS, IT SPARKED JON’S INTEREST.

Don White: It’s still the same concept. In here this is either positive or zero. If it’s zero, what’s the value of x that makes this expression zero?

Jon Jasper: Oh yes. That would be one.

Hedrick Smith: Jon, I got to ask you something. I mean, you look like you’re turned on by this.

Jon Jasper: Well, I don’t know, I guess it’s just like solving a puzzle.

Hedrick Smith: So it’s a game to you.

Jon Jasper: Yeah.

Hedrick Smith: Did you always look at it as a game?

Jon Jasper: No. No.

Hedrick Smith: So what did you look at it before?

Jon Jasper: Disgusting. I hated it. I hated it.

Hedrick Smith: You hated it?

Jon Jasper: Yeah, I seriously did. My whole life, math has been my worst subject and now it’s my best in just one year.

Hedrick Smith: So this has changed you in lots of ways.

Jon Jasper: Yes, it’s changed my life.

Hedrick Smith: Changed your life?

Jon Jasper: My whole future, everything. It’s completely changed it.

Students eating lunch in the cafeteria

Hedrick Smith: FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE IS PRECISELY WHAT THE PROGRAM, HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WORK, CALLS FOR. GENE BOTTOMS SAYS THAT’S THE KEY TO MOTIVATION IN THE UPPER GRADES.

Gene Bottoms: Many youngsters have to see a reason for learning algebra and geometry and trig, chemistry and physics. And the best way to do that for some students is to link that to experiences in their lives, to the community, or to a career in which they have an interest.

Joyce Phillips: We want to get every student hooked on something and excited about school.

School bank and media classes

Hedrick Smith: HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WORK HELPED JOYCE PHILLIPS AND HER STAFF CREATE THE HOOKS, WITH REAL WORLD ACTIVITIES THAT CONNECT TO CORE ACADEMIC CLASSES. STUDENTS WHO TAKE A COURSE IN FINANCE RUN A SCHOOL BANK; THEY MAKE LOANS AND MANAGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. IN MEDIA CLASS, STUDENTS LEARN WRITING AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS WHILE WORKING ON A WEEKLY TELEVISION SHOW AND A RADIO PROGRAM …

Jesse Hood in computer class

Hedrick Smith: IN LINDA CUPP’S TECHNOLOGY CLASS, STUDENTS LEARN TO TROUBLESHOOT SCHOOL COMPUTERS.

Jesse and Linda Cupp confer over problem with a computer

Linda Cupp: It is not just to give them a skill. That’s not the idea. We’re hoping that it will improve their academics. If they can learn to think…you know, we call it problem solving, but it’s thinking because if you have that skill, you can do anything you want.

A classroom at the career technical center, teacher at the board.

Hedrick Smith: AT THE CAREER TECHNICAL CENTER, JUST NEXT DOOR TO THE HIGH SCHOOL, EVERY CLASS IS HANDS-ON. MORE THAN ONE-HALF OF ALL CORBIN SENIORS TAKE A COURSE HERE.

Darrell Horn, drafting teacher

Darrell Horn: All the projects they do are real-world applications. They get more hands-on. They can physically see what it is they’ve created or what it is they’ve designed.

Students welding, hammering on an anvil

Hedrick Smith: FOR MANY, THE REAL WORLD SKILLS THEY DEVELOP HERE HELP THEM FOCUS ON THEIR FUTURE.

Gene Bottoms: Youngsters will work harder when they’re working on real, authentic problems or projects like real world.

Cut to drafting class; Jordy working on computer

Hedrick Smith: TAKE JORDY DAVIS…. BEFORE HE TOOK COMPUTER ASSISTED DRAFTING, HE’D LOST INTEREST IN SCHOOL. IN FACT HE WAS CLOSE TO GETTING KICKED OUT.

Jordy Davis: I was gettin’ into trouble – like, a lot of trouble and even outside of school and everything.

Darrell Horn: I was worried about him. He was missing some school, had no reasons for missing school. He’d just say, ‘Ah, I just slept in today’.

Horn sits down with Jordy at the computer.

Hedrick Smith: IN COMPUTER DRAFTING, JORDY LEARNED HOW TO DRAW HOUSE PLANS, DESIGN WINDOWS, DO 3D IMAGING. THE REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS SHIFTED JORDY’S ATTITUDE TOWARD SCHOOL.

Jordy Davis: Yeah, I’m doing a whole lot better. [chuckle]

Hedrick Smith: You’re doing a whole lot better?

Jordy Davis: Yeah.

Hedrick Smith: What does that mean?

Jordy Davis: Well, I was making D’s and C’s, but now… most recent report card I got all A’s and B’s on it.

Hedrick Smith: That’s a big difference.

Jordy showing design to Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith: ONE PROJECT THAT HELPED TRIGGER JORDY’S TURNAROUND WAS DESIGNING A FABRIC STORAGE RACK FOR A LOCAL COMPANY THAT MAKES UNIFORMS FOR THE MILITARY.

Jordy Davis: They gave us some measurements of what they wanted us to draw. And then I drew it on a 3-D program, and then they took it over to the welding shop, and they put it together.

Hedrick Smith: ONCE THE STUDENTS MADE A PROTOTYPE, THE COMPANY ORDERED FIFTY RACKS.

Show welding of the racks then racks completed; forklift lifts rack at company

Jordy Davis: It was pretty cool watching them build something that we had designed.

Darrell Horn: He seems like his interest in academics has increased, to me, based on… he realizes that there is purpose for the academics in the class down here. He realizes that more math is needed, more writing skills are needed.

Jordy Davis: It’s made me want to go to college. I wasn’t real sure if I wanted to go to college or not before I started taking this class, but definitely want to go into mechanical drafting, and have that as a major.

Students working in other classes

Hedrick Smith: WITH STUDENT SUCCESSES LIKE THESE, CORBIN IS NOW IN THE TOP TEN PERCENT OF KENTUCKY’S HIGH SCHOOLS. AND HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WORK KEEPS SPREADING.

Gene Bottoms: We’re now in 32 states. We have over a thousand high schools in our network.

Hedrick Smith: I think there may be some people who will hear what you have to say and say, ‘Well that’s fine for small and middle town America. But, you know, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston – it’s not going to work there’. What, what’s your response to that?

Gene Bottoms: This design can work in any community, if one is committed to teaching all students to a much higher level and you’re willing to make it meaningful, and you’re willing to provide the kind of assistance that students need to meet those higher standards.

Pam Bishop: I think that the kids see from the adults at this school that we are willing to go the extra mile; that we will come in before school; we will come in after school. We will meet them where they are.

Joyce Phillips: You’ve got to work with them. You’ve got to find their interest in things that they like. That you can get them excited about learning – it’s hard, but you can do it.

Students walking in hallways by lockers, fades out.

SEGUE

Hedrick Smith: REFORM AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL GENERATED IMPORTANT GAINS. BUT THEN, REFORM TOOK ON A NEW DIMENSION.

Steve Fleischman: The politics of reforming an entire school district is really, really tough work…

ANNOUNCER: NEXT – HOW REFORMERS ARE CHANGING SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

HOUR TWO INTRODUCTION

Hedrick Smith: BY THE MID-’90S, LEADING EDUCATION REFORMERS AND SOME CITIES HAD GROWN IMPATIENT WITH RE-ENGINEERING AMERICA’S 90,000 SCHOOLS, ONE BY ONE. TO MAKE REAL PROGRESS, THEY SAID, AMERICA NEEDS TO RAMP UP, GO TO SCALE. AND SO CITIES LIKE SACRAMENTO, HOUSTON AND CHARLOTTE DECIDED TO LAUNCH WHOLESALE REFORM…ACROSS ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICTS…AFFECTING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AT A TIME.

AS IT HAPPENED, A BOLD DISTRICT REFORM WAS ALREADY UNDER WAY IN NEW YORK CITY’S DISTRICT 2…SO ALL EYES TURNED TO DISTRICT 2.

DISTRICT 2, NEW YORK CITY,

Scenes from New York City

Kati Haycock, The Education Trust

Kati Haycock: The work in District 2 in New York City showed folks that in fact districts could be a very positive force. And this was the first place where we had very clear evidence of the impact of leadership and the impact of districts on bringing the teaching quality up and the student learning results followed.

Stills of Alvarado

Hedrick Smith: THE MAN BEHIND REFORM IN DISTRICT 2 WAS TONY ALVARADO. HE’D BEEN WORKING IN NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS FOR 20 YEARS, WAS EVEN CHANCELLOR BRIEFLY AND THEN BECAME SUPERINTENDENT OF DISTRICT 2 IN 1987.

Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburgh

Lauren Resnick: Tony Alvarado was a turning point. The District 2 experiment was a turning point. It showed what could be done with serious, central leadership.

Hedrick Smith: WHAT ATTRACTED ATTENTION WAS ALVARADO’S DARING TO SHAKE UP AN ENTIRE DISTRICT.

Anna Switzer, Former Principal, PS 234

Anna Switzer: Tony is the complete risk taker; that’s who he is. But intellectually, from an educational point of view, risk taker is almost too mild a word. I would almost say that he was radical in his ideas about what you had to do to turn a whole district.

Shots of Alvarado visiting classroom

Hedrick Smith: ALVARDO’S MOST RADICAL IDEA WAS TO BET HIS WHOLE PROGRAM ON ADULT LEARNING…TO OPEN CLASSROOMS TO EXAMINE HOW WELL TEACHERS WERE TEACHING, AND TO BREAKDOWN THEIR ISOLATION.

Anthony Alvarado, District 2 Superintendent 1987-1998

Anthony Alvarado: We have this very simple theory: Kids learn from teachers. If the kids need to learn more and more powerfully, then the teachers need to know more and their teaching has to be more powerful.

Elaine Fink, Deputy Superintendent 1990-1998

Elaine Fink: The number one priority was to improve the performance of students through the learning of teachers and the learning of their leaders.

Hedrick Smith: So adult learning is the key to kids learning?

Elaine Fink: Absolutely. If the adults don’t learn, there is no way that children in classrooms can learn.

Cityscape, view across high rise apartments, down to street scenes, and then over to PS 126

Hedrick Smith: THE LABORATORY FOR ALVARADO’S IDEAS – DISTRICT 2 – INCLUDED 48 SCHOOLS AND MORE THAN 22,000 STUDENTS. IT WAS TYPICAL OF ALVARADO TO ATTACK THE TOUGHEST EDUCATIONAL TERRAIN FIRST, THE WORST SCHOOLS IN HIGH POVERTY NEIGHBORHOODS, TUCKED IN THE SHADOWS OF THE HIGH RISE PUBLIC HOUSING ON MANHATTAN’S LOWER EAST SIDE.

Anthony Alvarado: The values that we hold dear are that public education is most important for the weakest students in our society. And what we did in District 2 was to pay lots of attention to the leaders and the teachers that had to serve in those schools.

Hedrick Smith: THAT MEANT TARGETING SCHOOLS LIKE PS 126, WHICH BECAME A PROVING GROUND FOR ALVARADO’S STRATEGY. MASTER TEACHER DARIA RIGNEY WAS SENT IN AS PRINCIPAL…

Exterior of PS 126, Daria Rigney walking up street and into school.

Daria Rigney: What I remember from that time was coming and passing all the parks where people were just hanging out and smoking dope, lots of drinking; hardly any places to play; very, very poor neighborhood. Mostly Latino, African-American, Chinese. If you walked into any classroom you would just find kids misbehaving, kids not paying attention, lack of engagement. There was a sense of helplessness. I needed the school to be calmer so that we could move on with instruction. But I also felt as though the best discipline plan was a good lesson plan.

Daria Rigney walking through hallway

Hedrick Smith: PRINCIPALS LIKE DARIA RIGNEY WERE THE KEY MOVERS OF ALVARADO’S REFORM.

Anthony Alvarado: Principals are the most important actors on the stage of a school system. The quality of the adult learning in the school and the quality of the student achievement is a function of the quality of leadership of that person.

Hedrick Smith: What kind of principals did you have in terms of…?

Anthony Alvarado: We had principals who were good managers, who believed that that was their work, who thought that they were doing a good job because the buses came on time, the kids were happy, the books were being delivered.

Rigney in classroom with students

Hedrick Smith: THE ROLE OF PRINCIPALS CHANGED UNDER ALVARADO.

Hedrick Smith: What was it about Daria Rigney that made you believe that she was going to be the kind of educational leader that you needed in District 2?

Anthony Alvarado: She knew teaching – particularly the teaching of literacy – at a level of granular detail that was extraordinary.

Shot of Daria reading report cards.

Hedrick Smith: AT PS 126, DARIA DISCOVERED THAT THE TEACHERS WERE NOT REACHING THE STUDENTS. READING THROUGH HUNDREDS OF REPORT CARDS, SHE REALIZED THE KIDS WERE TURNED OFF.

Daria Rigney: I read over and over again…for a third of the kids the teachers wrote, ‘Inability to focus’. And that, for me, was really a pivotal moment because, you know, I thought to myself, ‘When am I unable to focus?’ Well, I can name a lot of different times but certainly when I’m trying to watch football with my husband because I’m totally not interested, and I usually can’t even find out where the ball is. The fact is that the kids weren’t focused because they didn’t even understand what was going on.

Shots of Daria walking into class rooms

Hedrick Smith: SO RIGNEY SET OUT TO SHOW HER TEACHERS HOW TO ENGAGE STUDENTS …GET KIDS TO THINK ALOUD… NOT JUST LECTURE THEM INTO BOREDOM.

Teacher: Let’s hear what they have to say Vincent.

Daria Rigney: I spent a lot of time just living in classrooms and just watching, just watching the kids…

Teacher 2: Todd, what do you think?

Daria Rigney: …and listening for language, listening for the kind of language that was invitational for the kids.

Hedrick Smith: Invitational meaning inviting them to take part?

Daria Rigney: Inviting the kids to talk, to respond, to come up with questions, to actually have some ideas about what they were listening to. I listened for meaning. If I were a kid in this classroom would I even know what was being asked of me, and why?

Hedrick Smith: So you want kids as active learners? Is that it?

Daria Rigney: Oh, yeah, very active learners. And that was so much of what I had to convince teachers was worth doing.

Emily Jarrell: …sort of sad but it also sort of like…

Hedrick Smith: AT FIRST, FOURTH GRADE TEACHER EMILY JARRELL WAS TERRIFIED BY THE PRINCIPAL COMING INTO HER CLASSROOM.

Daria watching Emily teach

Emily Jarrell: I was overwhelmed by having somebody else in here. I was intimidated by having someone else in here and it did, at first, make me feel like ‘okay so this is not just my classroom’. But I quickly, quickly, quickly learned to love it.

Hedrick Smith: Now, why’d you love it?

Emily Jarrell: The principal at the time made a really big deal about teachers learning from each other.

Emily Jarrell To Students: Talk about what’s happening with the mom here. What do you think is happening with her?

Emily Jarrell: I think the tone she set was more like we are in a lab, a science lab, and we are scientists trying to figure out the answer. And the only way we can do that is by doing it together and by constantly studying. We can’t pretend that we know the answer.

Hedrick Smith: So this is continuous improvement?

Emily Jarrell: Continuous, constant. And it’s what is exciting me about the profession. It’s why I stay.

Daria Rigney: There wasn’t a lot of focus on criticizing teachers. It was, ‘Where do we want the kids to be? What are the expectations?’ The expectation is we want these kids to be able to read a book at a certain level at a certain point. So, how do we get them there? We want them to be able to retell the story, but we want them to be able to describe the character.

Emily Jarrell To Studenets: How many of you, while you were independently reading, were actually able to look at some characters in your book and watch how they were interacting and let that give you some ideas about what the author was trying to show you?

Boy: They want to show, like in real life, that people get divorced and the parents, like their fathers, go different places.

Emily Jarrell: Fathers can go different places.

Boy: Yeah.

Emily Jarrell: But in Winn Dixie, actually, is it the father that goes elsewhere?

Class: No.

Emily Jarrell: No.

Boy: Her mother.

Emily Jarrell: It’s different in Winn Dixie isn’t it?

Hedrick Smith: GETTING KIDS TO THINK CRITICALLY WAS THE GOAL OF REFORM. AND THE FOCUS WAS ON LITERACY.

Anthony Alvarado: We picked literacy because it is a gate-keeper skill. You can’t engage text if you don’t have the skills to deal with the text. So it’s not only for the sake of reading, it’s for the sake of communicating, it’s for the sake of learning.

Linda Sauer’s classroom workshop…

Linda Sauer: We’re going to go over what you know about the writing process…

Hedrick Smith: TO RAMP UP THE TEACHING OF LITERACY, ALVARADO TRIED ANOTHER RADICAL IDEA. HE SEARCHED THE WORLD…

Anthony Alvarado: We asked the question of where were there the best rates of literacy. At that time it was in Australia and New Zealand.

Elaine Fink: And so we really studied what they were doing to figure out why is it those kids are having so much success.

Hedrick Smith: TO REPLICATE THAT SUCCESS, ALVARADO BROUGHT IN MORE THAN A DOZEN AUSSIES TO COACH TEACHERS ACROSS THE DISTRICT.

Elaine Fink: Consultants were brought in. Staff developers were created at the school level. And teachers had coaching. We knew that coaching had to be a very big part of this, that adults learn from having somebody side by side.

Anthony Alvarado: If you’re playing golf and you’re always slicing a shot, you can look at tape but you got to try it and then you have to have someone, usually a coach who’s next to you, giving you guidance about what you’re doing and what you’re not doing. Then you have to practice it a lot.

Daria Rigney: Professional development is the life’s blood of all of teaching and learning. It’s how we learn. It’s how we keep learning. It’s how we add to our store of knowledge.

Hedrick Smith: It costs an enormous amount of money.

Daria Rigney: It’s very expensive. But it’s worth it.

Staff meeting

Hedrick Smith: TO GET MONEY FOR ALL THAT COACHING, ALVARADO HAD TO TAKE IT FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. IT WAS A HUGE REALIGNMENT OF DISTRICT RESOURCES.

Anna Switzer, Former Principal, PS 234

Anna Switzer: Here’s this guy. He comes in, and in a very short time he’s gone from something like 1% to 11% of your budget for professional development. And the cost of that is going to be that schools are going to have larger classes. Schools are not going to have assistant principals. Schools are not going to have guidance counselors. Principals are not going to know where… how they’re going to get money. And they’re in a panic, and everything is changing. And he’s saying, ‘We’re going to put it in professional development. Oh, you’re unhappy with that? Well, we’re going put more in professional development’.

United Federation of Teachers building exterior

Hedrick Smith: SPENDING BIG MONEY ON OUTSIDE COACHES DID NOT SIT WELL WITH THE UNION, THE UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, A POWERFUL PLAYER IN NEW YORK CITY…

David Sherman, Former V.P., United Fed. of Teachers

David Sherman: I was skeptical about it. I was very skeptical. I said to him, ‘What are you out of your mind, you know, spending all this money to import people? We have so many good people here. And he said, ‘David, these people really have a deep understanding in ways that a lot of people here don’t have and I want to really bring them in. Give it a chance’.

Hedrick Smith: IT WASN’T ALWAYS AN EASY PARTNERSHIP. THEY CLASHED WHEN ALVARADO PUT THE HEAT ON OLD-LINE TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS WHO WOULDN’T GO ALONG WITH REFORM.

Elaine Fink: Did we go to the wall on battling it out? Absolutely. And the bottom line was: if you do it right, we won’t give you trouble. Well, you know, I believe my principal is doing it right. You believe my principal, you know, the principal is a bully. So we went head on.

News headlines: ‘Covenant’ to raise standard, public school revitalization focus of UFT-board-District 2 meeting

Hedrick Smith: ALVARADO HELD MANY MEETINGS TO WOO THE UNION. OLD TIES HELPED EASE INEVITABLE FRICTIONS.

Photo of Alvarado with Sherman

David Sherman: We had worked with him previously. And we established a very, very close working relationship, because essentially what he did was, which was unusual, he came to the UFT and he said ‘I really want to make this the best school district in all of New York City’. And we said ‘Well, this is a ride we want to take’.

Anthony Alvarado: The luck that we had was at the highest levels of the citywide union. We had leadership that believed in the work that we were doing.

Hedrick Smith: COLLABORATION PAID OFF. LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS, LIKE PS 126, SAW DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT UNDER DARIA RIGNEY

Elaine Fink: Daria did great things. Look at that school. It had some of the lowest performance in all of Chinatown. Also started out in the ‘20s, with kids performing on grade level. And Daria has…

Hedrick Smith: You mean 20% of the…

Elaine Fink: …20% of the students. And Daria has taken it over 70% of the kids are now performing at very high standards. It’s just been incredible and it’s holding.

Shots of other schools

Hedrick Smith: BUT WHAT REALLY GOT PEOPLE’S ATTENTION WAS ALVARADO’S SUCCESS IN ALL KINDS OF SCHOOLS – HIGHER SCORES IN READING AND MATH ACROSS THE BOARD. HE LIFTED HIS DISTRICT FROM AVERAGE PERFORMANCE TO THE SECOND BEST DISTRICT IN NEW YORK CITY.

David Sherman: He took a very diverse district with very poor schools in it and brought it to a level where it far surpassed school districts that had more advantaged schools in it. That was quite remarkable.

Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburgh

Lauren Resnick Tony Alvarado took a stand on what good teaching is, and he showed that when you did that you could make many schools bloom – not just a few.

Kati Haycock, The Education Trust

Kati Haycock: These school districts, even in districts teaching the poorest kids, have always had some really good teachers. What Tony did is help to expand that knowledge, to help rank-and-file teachers learn the strategies that high-end, highly effective teachers did, and to deepen their understanding of student learning.

Hedrick Smith: Everybody can learn, that’s your expectation?

Anthony Alvarado: You know, the answer is absolutely yes. Unfortunately, right now we have this little anecdote that goes out that says ‘all children can learn’. And everybody really ascribes belief in that. But the problem with that is that that’s only half of the equation. The other half of the equation is ‘all children can learn, if adults provide high quality instruction’.

Fade to black

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Hedrick Smith: IN THE MID-90S, ANOTHER IDEA FOR DISTRICT REFORM TOOK HOLD IN NORTH CAROLINA. IT HIT HOME HERE IN CHARLOTTE. STATES LIKE NORTH CAROLINA TOOK CHARGE OF SCHOOL REFORM, SET STANDARDS FOR IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN EVERY SCHOOL, AND THEN REQUIRED SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO MEASURE UP.

Kati Haycock: North Carolina was one of the earliest states to kind of pick up the standards mantle and move ahead with an accountability system that quite quickly, way before most states, identified schools and districts that weren’t doing a very good job, and Charlotte happened to have a lot of those.

Hedrick Smith: UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE STATE TO FIX ITS FAILING SCHOOLS, IN 1996 THE CITY HIRED A NEW SUPERINTENDENT, ERIC SMITH.

Eric Smith: It was an exciting time when I first arrived in Charlotte. And one that was filled with not only a sense of excitement but also a sense of accountability that we had work to do here, and a lot of people that were expecting the work to be done and done well. The sense of urgency in Charlotte was huge. A sense of dissatisfaction in Charlotte was huge.

Hedrick Smith: ERIC SMITH KNEW THE ROPES AS A FORMER SUPERINTENDENT IN VIRGINIA, BUT HE WAS DISTURBED BY WHAT HE FOUND IN CHARLOTTE.

Bus sequence starts from depot… follows along as kids get picked up…

Hedrick Smith: DESPITE YEARS OF INTEGRATION BY BUSING, SMITH FOUND TROUBLING DISPARITIES BETWEEN THE DISTRICT’S SUBURBAN WHITE SCHOOLS AND ITS INNER CITY BLACK SCHOOLS.

Eric Smith: I saw huge discrepancies. We found that the expectations were different for inner city kids versus the suburban. We found that the pace of instruction – the speed with which content was being delivered – was different. Totally different expectations.

Hedrick Smith: TO FIX THE ACADEMIC DISPARITY – TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP – SMITH DECIDED THAT THE DISTRICT OFFICE WOULD HAVE TO RUN THE SHOW.

Eric Smith: The challenge in Charlotte was to change the core business of the school district and to change the core nature of the work that goes on in classrooms.

Bus arrives at Highland…

Hedrick Smith: NOWHERE WAS SMITH’S CHALLENGE MORE EVIDENT THAN HERE, AT HIGHLAND ELEMENTARY…

Hedrick Smith: Talk to me a little bit about the school when you came here. What was Highland like and what was the state of academics here?

Jenell Bovis: It was the lowest in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and it was either the lowest or next to lowest in the state of North Carolina.

Hedrick Smith: JENELL BOVIS BECAME PRINCIPAL OF HIGHLAND IN 1998…

Jenell Bovis: We just had a lot of young new teachers, inexperienced teachers. And it was more, I think, it was more a process of getting them to a structured, focused way of teaching.

Teacher: Ten nickels does equal 50 cents. But is that five coins? No, that’s 10 coins.

Hedrick Smith: AND BOVIS GOT HELP FROM CENTRAL OFFICE IN FOCUSING THE TEACHERS. LOTS OF HELP.

Eric Smith: We came to a decision about how we were going to teach kids how to read and how kids were going to be taught mathematics. Then we asked the question: ‘If a teacher is to be successful in that strategy, what kind of materials do they need to do that? What’s the textbook look like? What’s the supporting materials that they need?’

Hedrick Smith: So the district’s driving a lot of this process.

Eric Smith: The district drove these changes.

Hedrick Smith: THE DISTRICT PROVIDED DIRECTION, BUT ALSO SUPPORT. TEACHERS WERE GIVEN SCRIPTED LESSON PLANS AND DETAILED PACING GUIDES.

Nicole Barrow, 4th grade teacher, reading from script…

Nicole Barrow: Things were written down for me, and I need to see things. I need to see them structured out so that I can follow and I know what I’m supposed to be doing every day. As a beginning teacher you need that foundation, and that’s what I needed to be successful with my kids.

Jenell Bovis: I had never used scripted programs in the past, and really was kind of opposed to scripted programs because I thought it really did away with teacher creativity and so forth. But our kids needed that. They needed that structure.

Eric Smith: The principal that we brought in to manage the change at Highland didn’t ask for a single teacher to be transferred out, didn’t ask for any reassignments. She took the teachers that she had when she got there. She changed what she asked teachers to do; gave them a new definition. She did the things that we had prescribed.

Hedrick Smith: AND IT WORKED. WITHIN A YEAR HIGHLAND’S TEST SCORES TOOK OFF.

Jenell Bovis: When we started we were at 36% – our composite score – third, fourth, and fifth grade reading and math. At the end of that first year we had moved to 55 percent.

Hedrick Smith: What did that mean to you, that first year jumping from 36 to 55 percent?

Jenell Bovis: To me it was tremendous excitement. But I think it was even more for the teachers and for the students because at that point in time the teachers started truly believing that this can happen.

Shonja Alexander: Put some thought into this.

Shonja Alexander, 4th Grade Teacher

Shonja Alexander: We saw a drastic, drastic change, just from schoolwide effort. Everybody bought into what Dr. Bovis was saying. And when you have everybody buying into what your leader is saying, then it works.

Hedrick Smith: IN SIX YEARS, HIGHLAND WENT FROM A FAILING SCHOOL TO A NORTH CAROLINA “SCHOOL OF DISTINCTION”. BUT SMITH NEEDED TO DRIVE HIS REFORMS SYSTEMWIDE. TO DO THAT, HE DEVELOPED A PROCESS CALLED THE DRILL DOWN… IT’S A HIGHLY-REFINED TECHNIQUE TO TRACK THE PROGRESS OF ALL STUDENTS AND ALL SCHOOLS.

Nicole Barrow: Alright, you know, in a few minutes we’re going to begin testing. You know what to expect on your test. You’ve been working hard on your math. I hope that you remembered all…

Hedrick Smith: THE DRILL DOWN STARTS HERE, WITH THESE TEACHERS GETTING READY TO ADMINISTER A QUARTERLY, A TEST GIVEN EVERY NINE WEEKS.BUT THIS TEST ISN’T REALLY ABOUT GRADING STUDENTS, IT’S ABOUT CHECKING ON TEACHERS AND HOW WELL THEY ARE DOING. IT’S THE FIRST STEP IN COLLECTING AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT OF THE CHARLOTTE DRILL-DOWN: DATA.

Eric Smith: Data is the most important aspect of what we did in Charlotte. We were driven by data. That’s the way we identified problems and that’s the way we identified success. It marked, in my view, a radical shift in the whole definition of teaching and school level work.

Susan Agruso, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Accountability

Susan Agruso: He knew that if you had information about student performance, you could then use that information to improve student achievement. And use it to understand what students did know and could do. And then use the data to figure out what they didn’t know and what you were going to do about it tomorrow.

Teacher: Make a separate stack of your bubble sheet and your test.

Collecting the tests; Jovetta Dennis carrying tests to District offices and into Scoring Center

Hedrick Smith: NEXT, RAW TESTS ARE TAKEN TO THE CENTRAL SCORING CENTER AT DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS TO BE PROCESSED.

Susan Agruso: We’ll have about ten of them come in at one time and we will have two or three of our staff who will be there for technical assistance. We have taught them how to scan. And they literally scan their papers and print the reports. We do this in a couple of hours. And when folks really understand the power of the data, they want that information immediately. You don’t want a day to go by where you don’t know how your students are doing because you want to be right back in that classroom the next day working with them to improve their performance.

Jovetta Dennis, Assistant Principal, in a meeting with 4th grade teaching team at Highland

Jovetta Dennis: Are you ready to rumble…?

Hedrick Smith: BACK AT HIGHLAND, THE FOURTH GRADE TEACHING TEAM GATHERS TO REVIEW THE TEST REPORT. THEY WANT TO SEE HOW WELL THEY’VE TAUGHT THEIR STUDENTS.

Jovetta Dennis: Those are your folks that are “brinkers” – folks I’m worried about.

Hedrick Smith: When you look at these results and it says the group is not mastering whatever it is – multiplication, fractions, decimals – what’s that saying that you’ve got to do?

Jovetta Dennis: The report lets me know who mastered it, who partially mastered it and who did not master it at all. If, say, 80% did not master it that tells us, ‘Okay, teacher, you go back and teach it to everyone’. And those children that did not master it at all – make sure they’re in tutoring or in small group. Hit it again with them.

Hedrick Smith: Why is this so important?

Jovetta Dennis: It is what good teachers do to let them know, ‘Okay, how well did I teach this? And how well did they get it?’

Shonja Alexander: Jade has surprised me. Oh, my…wonderful. She gets to move here.

Jovetta Dennis: Yay, yay…

Nicole Barrow: Oh, she’s a sweetheart too.

Nicole Barrow: It’s helpful to me, because it allows me to see before the end-of-grade tests come how my kids are doing in certain areas. It allows me to regroup, if I need to, based on test scores.

Shonja Alexander: I’ve become more reflective. You’re just constantly, constantly trying to find ways that you can improve your teaching for the types of kids that you have.

Shonja Alexander: These are our “brinkers” and these are the ones we have to push. That’s the largest group.

Teachers meeting with the kids about the test results

Eric Smith: It’s the old model of education in America versus the new model. The old way, you know, we’d wait a year and we’d retain a child. Give him another year at it, then retain him again. Things went in increments of a year.If we know we’re not doing the job in week one, we have an obligation, I think, to move immediately and correct that. And so that was the sense that we had; we had to take immediate action on issues. Kids lives and their academic success depends on our ability to be fluid and dynamic and to be able to be responsive to their success or their failure.

Shonja Alexander: 69 percent.

Student: Last time I made an 80 percent.

Shonja Alexander: Last time you made an 80 percent? That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. So this quarter you were not focused were you? You were not focused at all.

Susan Agruso leading Hedrick Smith through office corridors

Susan Agruso: We crunch data every single day.

Hedrick Smith: RAPID RESPONSE TO STUDENT NEEDS IS CRITICAL AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL, TOO. IN THE DISTRICT’S DATA NERVE CENTER, THEY USE THE DRILL DOWN TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF EVERY SCHOOL. THE FOCUS IS ON SCHOOLS IN NEED. THE COMMITMENT IS TO EQUITY, SHORING UP SCHOOLS OFTEN STAFFED BY INEXPERIENCED TEACHERS WHO NEED EXTRA HELP.

Susan Agruso: We’ve always had schools that were very, very successful and schools that were not. Today the demand is that all schools be successful. The challenge is how to take a school that is struggling and provide them with the support or provide that school with the support it needs, the students need, and the teachers need to be successful.

Hedrick Smith: But can you do more than levy the demand, and show the results at the district level?

Susan Agruso: I think the district has to be an active player in this.

PMOC sequence…

Woman At PMOC: This is the list of the schools in the Tier One that we have broken down by teacher…

Hedrick Smith: WELCOME TO THE PMOC, THE DISTRICT’S TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM. THE DISTRICT’S SENIOR EXECUTIVES ALL USE THE DRILL DOWN TO DECIDE WHERE RESOURCES ARE MOST NEEDED.

Woman #2 At PMOC: Do we need rapid support? And where are the schools?

Hedrick Smith: …EVEN SENDING EDUCATIONAL SWAT TEAMS INTO STRUGGLING SCHOOLS. …WHEN ERIC SMITH LEFT CHARLOTTE IN 2002, HIS LONG-TIME DEPUTY JAMES PUGHSLEY BECAME SUPERINTENDENT.

Hedrick Smith: What’s interesting is…what I get out of this repeatedly at different levels here is this notion that schools that are in trouble need more help, need more resources, need more skills poured into them.

James Pughsley, Superintendent 2002-2005

James Pughsley: Yes, and in fact we pride ourselves on the fact that we allocate resources on a differentiated basis – based on need – not just purely a formula based on the number of kids you have, but what are the needs of those kids? What are the conditions that we’re trying to overcome? That determines the level of resources that we’ll allocate.

Susan Agruso: The district has a strategy in place for providing additional funding for schools that have educational needs among lots of children. They’re called Equity Plus schools.

Bishop Spaugh Community Academy Middle School

Hedrick Smith: THE IMPORTANCE OF EQUITY-PLUS SCHOOLS IS EVIDENT HERE AT BISHOP SPAUGH ACADEMY. IT USED TO BE A TOP SCIENCE MAGNET SCHOOL, A MIDDLE SCHOOL WITH A RACIALLY MIXED STUDENT BODY FROM ALL OVER THE DISTRICT. BUT THREE YEARS AGO, WHEN THE COURTS ENDED BUSING, SPAUGH OVERNIGHT BECAME A NEARLY ALL-BLACK SCHOOL SERVING A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Principal Jerry Brown and Hedrick Smith walking

Jerry Brown: We basically had a transition of 600 new kids coming into our building, a very different type learner.

Hedrick Smith: JERRY BROWN IS THE PRINCIPAL AT SPAUGH.

Jerry Brown: What we came to understand in very short order was that we were going to have to retool the school to be successful because the things that we had done with kids before instructionally, organizationally, structurally, did not work with these kids so well.

Hedrick Smith: BROWN HAD A LOT TO LEARN ABOUT THE NEW STUDENT BODY AND THEIR NEEDS.

Jerry Brown: One of the things that I learned about poverty is that kids that come from poverty thrive in structure. So that’s one of the things that we had to do very quickly, is establish structure and build structure into everything that we do. And I do mean everything that we do.

Hedrick Smith and Jerry Brown enter class

Hedrick Smith: So what do we have here?

Jerry Brown: This is a sixth grade Language Arts classroom.

Hedrick Smith: And you’ve got a lot of signs up here: Focus, Lesson, Objective, Homework.

Jerry Brown: You’ll see these same components in every classroom. That gives the kids a sense of consistency, a sense of structure. They know what to expect when they go into a classroom and that’s why we do this.

Hedrick Smith: STRUCTURE… AND HELP FROM THE DISTRICT …EXTRA SUPPORT TO ATTRACT HIGH QUALITY TEACHERS.

Jerry Brown: There are Equity Plus incentives that are provided by the district.

Hedrick Smith: More resources, more money.

Jerry Brown: More resources. More money. Class sizes are smaller. We also use a portion of our federal Title I money to pay teachers based on performance and attendance.

Hedrick Smith: So they can get a bonus?

Jerry Brown: Yeah, somewhere in the range of a thousand dollars a quarter.

Algebra class

Hedrick Smith: BUT EQUITY’S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY, IT’S ABOUT EXPECTATIONS AS WELL. STUDENTS ARE PUSHED TO TAKE ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES, AND ALGEBRA IS FOR ALL EIGHTH GRADERS.

Hedrick Smith: You say these kids can be educated. Is there a link between poverty and the ability to learn?

Jerry Brown: Poverty and ability? No. No, and I can’t say that emphatically enough. No. There is no link between poverty and the ability to learn. There is a different framework for providing learning to those kids.

Eric Smith: The science that we were trying to build was one that said that the success of a school isn’t dependent on the children we serve. We can compensate for any deficiencies or additional needs children bring to us. Our job is to educate children to a comparable level, to a competitive level.

Buses leave…

Hedrick Smith: OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS SPAUGH HAS BEEN STEADILY IMPROVING STUDENT PERFORMANCE. BUT IT ISN’T JUST SPAUGH. THE ENTIRE CHARLOTTE DISTRICT HAS BEEN ON A SOLID, STEADY UPWARD TREND OVER THE PAST NINE YEARS.

Susan Agruso and Hedrick Smith at wall chart…

Susan Agruso: We have several different groups of students in our District and we track them all. And our goal is to get students from where they were back in 1996 so that all students hit our goal of 95 percent. This graph shows you that all of the groups of kids are going up, so their scores are increasing. But the gap is narrowing between different groups of students, and that’s what’s critical to us, is to get them all up to 95 percent.

Hedrick Smith: So the minority students are catching up, but everybody is going up?

Susan Agruso: Exactly.

Eric Smith: People who say that low-income children, minority children, can’t excel at extraordinarily high levels are just flat out wrong. They just haven’t seen the evidence.

Fade to black

SAN DIEGO

San Diego skyline

Hedrick Smith: SUCCESS IN CHARLOTTE AND NEW YORK’S DISTRICT 2 POSED A CRITICAL QUESTION: CAN EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES BE REPLICATED? DOES IT MATTER HOW OR WHERE? CAN REFORM HAMMERED OUT IN “MINCE-NO-WORDS” MANHATTAN WORK IN THE CULTURE OF “NICE” IN SUNNY SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA’S SECOND LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICT, EIGHTH LARGEST URBAN DISTRICT IN THE NATION?

Bersin being sworn in…

Alan Bersin: I… Alan D. Bersin…

Hedrick Smith: IN 1998, ALAN BERSIN WAS ANNOINTED THE NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT FOR SAN DIEGO. IT WAS AN UNCONVENTIONAL PICK; A FEDERAL PROSECUTOR WITH NO TIES TO THE EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT. BUT AS BILL CLINTON’S BORDER CZAR, BERSIN UNDERSTOOD THE CHALLENGES THE SAN DIEGO SCHOOL SYSTEM FACED.

Bersin: There was a sense in which our teachers and our school district administrators were overwhelmed by the complete transformation in the demographics of the system from 1977, when the system was 80% Caucasian and middle class, to one 20 years later that was 70% children of color and 2 out of 3 children being below the poverty line measured by free and reduced lunch.

Hedrick Smith: DECLINING TEST SCORES THROUGHOUT THE ’90’S WERE SEEN AS EVIDENCE THAT SAN DIEGO’S ENTIRE SCHOOL SYSTEM WAS IN NEED OF A TOTAL OVERHAUL. SO BERSIN NEEDED AN EXPERT, AND HE FOUND ONE.…

Bersin introducing Tony Alvarado…

Alan Bersin: Anthony Alvarado as our Chancellor…

Hedrick Smith: …TONY ALVARADO FROM DISTRICT 2 IN NEW YORK. FOR ALVARADO, SAN DIEGO OFFERED THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO SCALE-UP HIS REFORM IDEAS.

Anthony Alvarado: It’s a pleasure to be here in San Diego.’

Anthony Alvarado, Chancellor of Instruction 1998-2003

Anthony Alvarado: This was another challenge. It was at a larger level. There were ideas to test and strategies to construct. And it was worth doing.

News Headlines: School Reorganization, top NY educator to be head of new learning institute.

Alan Bersin: I think Tony, being a nationally known educator, came to San Diego in part to test the proposition that what he had accomplished with Elaine Fink and the principals and teachers in District 2 could be done at scale.

Elaine Fink, Director Leadership Academy, 2000-2003

Elaine Fink: And this was our opportunity to take something that was in a district of 23,000 students and put it into a district that was 180,000 students. And it was a challenge and we were always up for a challenge.

Hedrick Smith: SCHOOLS ALL ACROSS SAN DIEGO WERE QUICKLY IMMERSED IN FULL-SCALE REFORM – ALVARADO STYLE. CLASSROOM DOORS WERE OPENED-UP AND THE PRACTICE OF TEACHING WAS PUT UNDER THE MICROSCOPE.

Angela Bass, Instructional Leader

Angela Bass: When Tony and Alan came forward and presented the new initiative with a very strong focus on instruction I was excited about it. Of course it was a lot of unknown, of course there was a lot to learn and read about.But I quite frankly think teachers as well as principals didn’t have the instructional knowledge that we needed. We needed to ramp up our skills because we didn’t have enough to give our neediest children the best that we could give them.

Teacher: Would you agree with that?

Class: Yes!

Lamont Jackson, Principal

Lamont Jackson: When this reform effort took place it was really about empowering teachers to become more knowledgeable about our craft and our practice. And so I just attended every staff development I could attend – two, three times, sometimes the same session – to just absorb every bit of knowledge I could.

Jackson working in Science class…

Lamont Jackson: I know you’re working with magnets…

Hedrick Smith: A NEW CADRE OF PRINCIPALS – LIKE LAMONT JACKSON – WERE GROOMED TO CARRY THE REFORM INTO EVERY CLASSROOM.

Lamont Jackson: I’m stepping in, I’m diagnosing right now. I’m really trying to see what is the need here, right in the middle of this. So…

Hedrick Smith: What do the kids know? What do they need to know?

Lamont Jackson: Yeah, exactly. Like, if I’m talking to students and they’re not able to explain to me the purpose of the lesson, then I need to come in and work with the teacher on that.

Hedrick Smith: Has this been the traditional role of principals, to step in and teach?

Lamont Jackson: Absolutely not. This is something new that came in with the reform effort.

Christine Summers leading training class

Hedrick Smith: THE DISTRICT BUDGET GOT A BIG MAKEOVER TOO. SPENDING ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WAS BOOSTED FROM A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR TO MORE THAN 65 MILLION, A HUGE REALLOCATION OF DISTRICT RESOURCES.

Alan Bersin, Superintendent 1998-2005

Alan Bersin: The theory of action was very specific. Improve the teaching, improve the quality of instruction and we will see gains in student learning. We’re talking about principals becoming instructional leaders, learning about how to lead faculties to improve teaching. So you’re talking about a massive investment to select, recruit, train and retain school administrators.

Summers coaching in classroom

Christine Summers: Good, perfect…

Hedrick Smith: PEER COACHES, LIKE CHRISTINE SUMMERS, WERE SELECTED TO HELP TRAIN THEIR COLLEAGUES IN THE WAYS OF ALVARADO’S REFORM. BUT REPLICATING WHAT ALVARADO HAD DONE IN NEW YORK PROVED A LOT DICIER IN SAN DIEGO. THE TEACHING STAFF RESENTED PRESSURE FROM PRINCIPALS LIKE LAMONT JACKSON.

Christine Summers: Lamont and I work together very, very well now. And that was not always the case. He and I were just butting heads at the beginning. He wanted to implement the way the district wanted to implement the reform movement, very top-down: Everyone will do this. I will see this in every classroom.

HEADLINES: Union spurns district plan for teacher-mentors

Hedrick Smith: THE VERY CONCEPT OF PEER COACHES – AN IDEA ALVARADO WAS ABLE TO SELL IN NEW YORK – BECAME A CAUSE OF GREAT CONFLICT IN SAN DIEGO.

News Headlines: Bersin is determined to put peer plan in place

Ron Ottinger, Former School Board Member

Ron Ottinger: The teachers’ union said, ‘Well, we might like the idea of a peer coach, but we think the teachers at a school ought to select who that person is’. And Tony said, ‘No, you know, they shouldn’t pick their buddy. We’ve got to find out who in the system are the best teachers. We’ve got to train them, certify them and put them where they’re most needed’.

Robin Whitlow, Exec. Director, Teacher’s Union

Robin Whitlow: The union didn’t want to control the choice. What we wanted to control was the quality of the choice. And if, in fact, the peer coach was not providing useable resources to the school site that they had an ability to pick someone else.

Alan Bersin: We couldn’t get any traction on finding the common ground because everything was looked at as an issue of power, who’s in control here?

Hedrick Smith: A COMPROMISE WAS PATCHED TOGETHER. BUT THE DISPUTE LEFT HARD FEELINGS, AN OMEN OF WORSE TROUBLE AHEAD.

Anthony Alvarado: Essentially it was a fundamental disagreement. And underneath the fundamental disagreement was a lack of trust about the implementation of the reform.

Union office

Hedrick Smith: ALVARADO HAD WON THE TRUST OF THE UNION IN NEW YORK. BUT IT WAS A DIFFERENT UNION IN SAN DIEGO…

Robin Whitlow: When Mr. Alvarado came here to San Diego he brought his ideas and what he had put in place over a ten year period in New York, and wanted it to happen here in a year or less. And there was no time to build a relationship. There was no time to build respect.

Elaine Fink: Major, major clash. I mean the union was 100% against anything that had to do with this reform. And they really fought and fought and fought about the teachers having the knowledge and the skill and all of “us”, in quotes, were not teachers and had no right to come in here saying anybody needed anything.

Robin Whitlow: The clash occurs when people who are academics come in and they take their idea, which is an untested experiment, and they enforce it on people without consulting them on what the clientele needs.

Alan Bersin: It seemed that every disagreement we had with this union leadership turned into the occasion for a war. Once Tony and I and our team understood that that was the case, we set about fighting it. And that meant pushing the reform as quickly as we could within the constraints that we faced.

Hedrick Smith: THE CONSTRAINTS, IT TURNED OUT, WERE FORMIDABLE…

School Board in session

Hedrick Smith: THIS IS THE SAN DIEGO SCHOOL BOARD, FIVE ELECTED MEMBERS WHO SET THE AGENDA FOR THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. FROM THE TIME BERSIN FIRST ARRIVED, THE BOARD WAS DEEPLY DIVIDED ABOUT REFORM.

Frances Zimmerman, Former School Board Member

Frances Zimmerman: I did oppose Mr. Bersin. I thought he was a weak candidate. In the interview, I thought he was a weak candidate.

Hedrick Smith: Weak in what sense?

Frances Zimmerman: He could not talk about education. He could not talk with conviction or passion about public schools. He was basically a shoe-in, organized by the business community in this town.

Bersin in staff meeting

Hedrick Smith: WITH HIS BOSSES DIVIDED, BERSIN MADE A CRITICAL STRATEGIC CALCULATION – PUSH HARD AND FAST TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF HIS TROOPS.

Alan Bersin: The way educational reform has been defeated year in and year out in urban America is those who resist change, those who are tied to old ways of seeing and doing, simply wait out the reformers. To overcome that cycle, to break that, required that we move quickly, and again, the calculation was the teachers would embrace this once they saw their own practice improving and once they saw kids doing better.

News Headlines: 13 principals removed at City Schools, Two vice principals are also demoted

Hedrick Smith: PUSHING HARD WAS A STRATEGY FRAUGHT WITH PERIL…

John deBeck, School Board Member

John Debeck: The first thing that went wrong was the firing of principals. I supported that, but the day after that we agreed in closed session to do it, these people were escorted out of their offices by armed policemen from this district. And the whole thing was made public and it was like this huge disgrace thing. And that’s not the way San Diegans treat people.

News Headlines: Demotions List

Elaine Fink: Some massacre – 175 or 180 principals and 13 of them weren’t asked back, and they called it a massacre! Unbelievable in my eyes. I mean there were many more than 13 that couldn’t do the job, many more!

John Debeck: You know reform is fine; getting somewhere. But the means are very important to me and they are very important, I think, to this community.

Hedrick Smith: Do you think that episode in San Diego poisoned the well?

Anthony Alvarado: It exacerbated the issue and became a “cause celebre” because the union used that to promote their perspective that this was an administration to fear.

Protesters against the reform

Hedrick Smith: THE REFORM EFFORT – THEY CALLED IT THE BLUEPRINT – WAS IN TROUBLE AND ABOUT TO BECOME A POLITICAL HOT POTATO.

School board meeting; protestors chanting

Angry Woman: …in a classroom, and there is one teacher. How is that one teacher going to teach 40 kids?!

Man: We are adjourning the meeting for half an hour…

News Headlines: Education Reform at Stake, Election draws sharp battle lines for schools.

Hedrick Smith: THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS OF 2000 BECAME A REFERENDUM ON REFORM.

Maureen Magee, Reporter, San Diego Union Tribune

Maureen Magee: There was a perception that the reforms were in jeopardy, that this election could shift the balance of the school board.

Anti-Zimmerman campaign commercial

Commercial: School Board Member Fran Zimmerman…

Hedrick Smith: IN A HIGH-STAKES GAMBLE, BERSIN’S BACKERS – SAN DIEGO’S BUSINESS ELITE – WENT AFTER THEIR NEMESIS ON THE BOARD.

Commercial: Back to Basics School Reform…

Maureen Magee: It got quite nasty. There were television ads. And it was unprecedented. We had never seen that kind of money in a local school board race.

Commercial: Tell Fran Zimmerman to stop voting against…

Frances Zimmerman: The business community raised almost a million dollars to try to dis-elect me. It was amazing. It was just an amazing experience, in a school board race, that I was thought to be so dangerous and bad that they had to do this.

Zimmerman at rally

Maureen Magee: The intent was for this to sway voters against her and, in fact, I think what it did was rally voters around her.

Hedrick Smith: THE POLITICAL GAMBLE BACKFIRED. ZIMMERMAN WON. ON THE BOARD THE OPPOSITION TO REFORM DUG IN.

John Debeck: The district has gone downhill for so long that I’m going to stay on the Board to try and fix it.

Anthony Alvarado: I could see that the kind of supports that were necessary to make the reform work were encountering political obstacles that didn’t let it happen. The handwriting, from my perspective, was on the wall at that time.

Headline: Chief SD Reformer to Leave… to Headline: San Diego school board meeting turns nasty

Hedrick Smith: IN 2003, ALVARADO LEFT. THE PITCHED POLITICAL BATTLE DEGENERATED FROM POLICY DISPUTES TO PERSONAL ATTACKS.

Board Meeting exchange between Zimmerman and Bersin…

Frances Zimmerman: So I will be voting “no” on this restructuring…

Man: Mrs. Zimmerman, may I take exception to the remark?

Frances Zimmerman: No, you may not take exception to my remarks, Brian. You have been…

Maureen Magee: I think there was a perception that this board couldn’t function, that it was a civic embarrassment.

Alan Bersin: You have really hit bottom, Mrs. Zimmerman. That remark…

Maureen Magee: I mean they went through parliamentary tutors and counselors and therapists and sessions to get along. There was a sense that this was a dysfunctional family.

Alan Bersin: My God! My God!

News Headlines: New School Board Wins, S.D. schools scrap teacher-leader program… Bersin agrees to leave board…

Hedrick Smith: IN 2004, THE OPPOSITION FINALLY WON CONTROL OF THE SCHOOL BOARD. THE NEW BOARD QUICKLY SET ABOUT DISMANTLING REFORM, SHELVING THE PEER COACH SYSTEM AND PUSHING BERSIN OUT.

Michael Casserly, Council of Great City Schools.

Michael Casserly: One thing that we have learned over the years is that it is almost impossible to get academic improvement if the leadership of a school district is simply going to be squabbling and fighting over adult issues that have nothing to do with the academic performance of kids.

Hedrick Smith: EVEN SO, REFORM IN SAN DIEGO PRODUCED VISIBLE GAINS ON STATE TESTS AMONG ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS, AND BOOSTED MINORITY PERFORMANCE, ACCORDING TO A STUDY OF 112 THOUSAND STUDENTS.

Julian Betts, U.C. San Diego

Julian Betts: At the elementary school level we found that over a two-year period the gap in test scores between Hispanics and whites was reduced by about 15%. The gap between African Americans and whites was reduced by only slightly less than that. So those were pretty impressive gains for two years. The middle school level we also found a narrowing in these gaps – much smaller, on the order of 3 or 4% reductions in the gaps. And if anything, at the high school level, the gaps were very slightly aggravated.

Hedrick Smith: EVEN CRITICS CONCEDED THAT IN MANY SCHOOLS, REFORM HAS TAKEN ROOT.

Hedrick Smith: Do you think there’s any portion of the teacher core in San Diego who actually thought the reforms were a good idea?

John deBeck, School Board Member

John De Beck: Oh, I’d say probably as many as two-thirds of them. I think even right now you’re talking about a culture change that’s already occurred, that there’s a lot of teachers that are supportive of things that have happened.

Kids in school

Hedrick Smith: BUT ADVOCATES AND CRITICS SAY REFORM FAILED TO REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL. AND BOTH BLAMED EDUCATION POLITICS.

Frances Zimmerman: Mr. Bersin was here longer than most superintendents. That’s an absolute truth. And he should have had much better results for the time he was here. He should have and he could have, had he been more collaborative.

San Diego scenic shots

Anthony Alvarado: We were outsiders and outsiders implies not knowing people, not having relationships; there are cultural differences. And there is another part to this whole issue which is a community, in the long run, has to be prepared to make a judgment that it wants change.

Elaine Fink: You have to be dissatisfied with something in order to make change; must be absolutely dissatisfied. I believe that most organizations believe that’s as much as kids can do. I do not believe that they come in saying ‘this isn’t good enough, this is a disgrace, and it’s about the adults’. If they were dissatisfied, reform would take place.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND SEGUE

George W. Bush at signing of NCLB….

Hedrick Smith: THAT’S ONE BIG LESSON WE’VE LEARNED. IT TAKES POWERFUL DISSATISFACTION WITH THE STATUS QUO TO MOVE REFORM. THREE YEARS AGO, IT LED TO ANOTHER PUSH FROM WASHINGTON.

George W. Bush at podium

George W. Bush: And it’s up to each local district to make sure it happens; to stand up and demand high standards and to demand that no child, not one single child in America, is left behind.

Hedrick Smith: IT’S AN AMBITIOUS GOAL. AND GETTING THERE DEPENDS ON LEARNING AND REPLICATING THE LESSONS OF SUCCESS.

Kati Haycock, The Education Trust

Kati Haycock: What No Child Left Behind did is take the lessons from the high performers and ask the rest of the country to work hard to get their students to those levels of achievement as well.

Hedrick Smith: What do you say to people who say the public school system is not going to get there – it doesn’t work, it can’t work?

Kati Haycock: It is very clear that even poor kids and kids of color who come from difficult neighborhoods can, in fact, achieve. And we need them to achieve, as a country. Number two, it is very clear that there are some public schools, even now some districts, that have figured out how to do that. Our task has to be to help other schools and districts achieve those same ends because that’s where the kids are and that, after all, is what the promise of America is: that we will educate all of our kids.

NEW YORK CITY SEGUE

New York City skyline….

Hedrick Smith: NEW YORK, AMERICA’S LARGEST CITY WITH ONE MILLION STUDENTS, REFLECTS THE CHALLENGE CONFRONTING AMERICA – TO SCALE UP REFORM AND TO LEARN FROM THE PIONEERS.

Joel Klein, NYC Schools Chancellor

Joel Klein: We’ve got 1,350 schools, you know. And in any business – if I were running a business – all the time I would be looking for best practices and how to export them from my most successful business to my second, to my third, so that you constantly improve.

Meeting at PS 126…

Hedrick Smith: EXPORTING BEST PRACTICES FROM ALVARADO’S OLD DISTRICT 2 HAS BECOME A VITAL CATALYST FOR DRIVING REFORM ACROSS NEW YORK CITY.

Daria Rigney: This day is really about everybody sort of moving to the next level. We’re asking you to do some deeper looking, some deeper study today in the classrooms that you’re going to be in …

Daria Rigney talking to teachers…

Hedrick Smith: DARIA RIGNEY, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS A BIGGER ROLE. SHE’S NO LONGER PRINCIPAL OF PS 126. SHE’S AN INSTRUCTIONAL SUPERINTENDENT FOR A WHOLE REGION OF CITY SCHOOLS.

Scenes of teachers, principals meeting at PS 126

Hedrick Smith: DARIA’S OLD SCHOOL HAS BECOME A LABORATORY WHERE PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS FROM AROUND THE CITY COME TO WATCH AND LEARN.

Visiting teachers in Emily’s room, watching and taking notes

Joel Klein: And what we need to do is invest in actually increasing the talent of our teaching pool and then leveraging it. Because talent can teach other people and bring them all up, and that’s what this has got to be about – a rising tide.

CLOSE

Hedrick Smith: FOR A RISING TIDE OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CLASSROOM IS CRUCIAL. THAT TAKES INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP FROM PRINCIPALS, COMMON CURRICULUM, PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE TEACHING. BUT DIFFERENT PEOPLE GET THERE IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

Andrea Guy & Class: Bake-A-Cake, A-dash-E says…

Hedrick Smith: IN SOME PLACES, THE FORMULA IS SCRIPTED LESSON PLANS TO BUILD LEARNING, STEP BY STEP.

Class: Tremble!

Garnett Mell: Show me what that word means. Show me tremble. Very good.

Wanda Kinsey in hallway, with Pam Bishop, reading in class…at blackboard…

Hedrick Smith: IN HIGH SCHOOLS, ONE KEY IS FINDING WAYS TO MEET STUDENTS WHERE THEY ARE, TO REACH THEM AT THEIR OWN LEVEL.

Testing sequence, Highland 4th Grade teachers scene

Hedrick Smith: ANOTHER CRITICAL STRATEGY IS CONSTANT ASSESSMENT SO THAT TEACHERS CAN QUICKLY CATCH KIDS BEFORE THEY FALL TOO FAR BEHIND.

Shonja Alexander To Student: And every Quarter you’ve gotten better and better and better, which is good.

Rhonda Jones walking across the park, working in school

Hedrick Smith: BUT IT’S NOT JUST WHAT HAPPENS IN CLASS THAT COUNTS. SUCCESS REQUIRES PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT, STEADY SUPPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY, AND TIME – ENOUGH TIME TO GET REFORM DONE RIGHT.

David Sherman: Time is very important. You can’t change schools and cultures of schools that have existed in a certain way for 20 or 30 years and then turn them around in one year. Okay? It takes a few years.

PMOC Meeting

Hedrick Smith: AND IT TAKES RESOURCES.

PMOC Woman: …denote the level of support that the schools will receive…

Susan Agruso: Children who have educational needs need more time and they need more support and that’s more money. And as a society that’s the thing that I hope that we will move towards is recognizing that we can be successful with all children but we do have to have the resources to do that.

Hedrick Smith: ABOVE ALL, IT TAKES HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL STUDENTS AND THE ROCK-SOLID CONVICTION THAT EVERY CHILD CAN LEARN.

Michael Feinberg: There’s so many people out there who still have a mindset that because of a zip code you’re born in or the color of your skin or something like that, that there’s limitations to what one can achieve in this world. And there might be exceptions to the rule, but there’s still a rule. And that drives me nuts. We do have the power, if we want, to eliminate those variables and do whatever it takes to help the kids learn.

Class: 4, 8…

Hedrick Smith: AND IT TAKES A SENSE OF URGENCY.

Class: …24, 28, a boom ditty boom…

Eric Smith: We’re building every child’s opportunities each and every day. They’re counting on us to get the job done, and done now, not at some future point when it’s convenient. There is an urgency about this work. There is an urgency to get the job done right.

Diana Soliz: Procrastination means that generations of kids are going by. If we wait to do something, that opportunity is missed. And, yeah, we’re going to have it for the next group of kids, but what about the kids now? What about those eighth graders now? Or those fifth graders now? Or those four-year-olds now? Or, you know, fourth graders now? Urgency? Absolutely! Our kids need to learn now. Our nation’s kids need to learn now.

CREDITS

Correspondent

Hedrick Smith

Producers

Rick Young

Sarah Colt

Editors

Carol Slatkin

Penny Trams

Writers

Hedrick Smith

Sarah Colt

Rick Young

Principal Camera

Peter Pearce

Field Producers

Corey Ford

Courtenay Singer

Associate Producer

Alicia Woodard Green

Production Assistant

Sam Hornblower

Original Music

Eric Kaye

Graphic Open

Jannis Productions

Camera

Michael Anderson

Keith Walker

Bob Peterson

Joe Friedman

Foster Wiley

Rob Amato

Second Camera

Sarah Colt

Corey Ford

Courtenay Singer

Sound

John McCormack

Paul Rusnak

Celeste Glende

Ron Hyatt

Alan Chow

Joe Hancock

Michael Boyle

James Peterson

Post Production Coordinator

Corey Ford

Principal Researchers

Mary Carlson

Jenny Smith

Post Production

Henninger Media Services

Motion Control

Berle Cherney

Office Manager

Janina Roncevic

Website

Design - John Gorelski

Editor - Jenny Smith

Still Photography

Susan Zox

Publicity

Cara White

Public Outreach

Jenny Smith

Alicia Woodard Green

Gaffer

Murdoch Campbell

Budget Coordinator

Suzanne Snyder

Interns

Michael Bernstein

Alex Crafts

Sarah Long

Samantha Nguyen

Steven Randazzo

Nirmal Deshpande

Stock Footage

ABCNEWS VideoSource

CNN

F.I.L.M. Archives, Inc

Footage Bank

Hedrick Smith Productions Archive

KFMB – TV, San Diego

KGTV 10 NEWS, San Diego

KNSD-TV, San Diego

Media Process Group

NBC News Archives

Ronald Reagan Library

San Diego City Schools

University of Pittsburgh

Stock Photos

Alan Bersin

Blanca Garcia

KIPP 3D Academy

The Charlotte Observer

The New York Times Photo Archives

Special Thanks

Joe Aguerrebere

Annenberg Institute

Richard Elmore

David Grissmer

Vivian Loseth

Julene Mohr

New American Schools

Oyster Bilingual Elementary School

Warren Simmons

Linda Skrla

Southeastern Kentucky Rehabilitation Industries

Lisa Thompson

Washington Bulb Company, Inc.

SENIOR PRODUCER

Rick Young

SCETV EXECUTIVE-IN-CHARGE

Polly Kosko

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Hedrick Smith



A production of Hedrick Smith Productions, Inc. which is solely responsible for its content.

Produced in association with South Carolina Educational Television.

Copyright 2005

Hedrick Smith Productions, Inc.


Copyright 2005 Hedrick Smith Productions. All rights reserved. | PBS Privacy Policy | Created September 2005