Monday, September 10, 2001
Small schools, big results
Report lauds Cincinnati's new approach
By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
As 10-year-old Ashley Nelson walked out of Parham School in Evanston Friday, she called out to her principal 95 today! for a test score she received.
Principal Sharon Johnson called the girl over to give her a high five between hugs for other kids as the 462-student body headed home for the weekend.
Elizabeth Ramos walks around while her fifth-grad students at Parham School put their work away.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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Two miles away, at the 500-student Clark Montessori in Hyde Park, 15-year-old Jessica Smith walked the hallway after school in her bare feet and described the close relationship she has with her teachers.
My English teacher and I just met two weeks ago but I already feel like I know her, Jessica said. And she's one of my favorite teachers.
The two Cincinnati public schools are among 22in 12 states singled out for their educational practices in Smaller, Safer, Saner Successful Schools,'' a report released today by the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota.
Joe Nathan, director of the center, said smaller schools typically provide:
A safer environment.
A more positive challenging environment.
Higher graduation rates.
Fewer discipline problems.
Greater satisfaction for families, students and teachers.
As school districts consider building projects totaling millions of dollars including the estimated $1 billion plan Cincinnati Public will unveil in December Mr. Nathan said he hopes they consider the "smaller is better' research.
Clark, a seventh- to 12th-grade school that was the first public Mon tessori secondary school in the nation, is small enough to foster a close community collaborative, principal Tom Rothwell said. Small groups of students meet with an adviser teacher for 15 minutes every day, he said.
I know every student by name, he said. And our hope is that every student knows each other.
Parham, a K-8 school, was praised in the report for achieving success after undergoing CPS' redesign plan because of consistently low performance.
Now, Parham is ranked in the district's highest category school achievement for its gains in areas such as test scores and student and staff attendance.
This school teaches you everything you need, said fourth-grader Shannel Wilson. It's good for me to grow up and get a good degree and get a job.
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