Time to tweducate
At Latonia Elementary School in Covington, kindergarten teacher Katy Goodrich faces challenges that stretch far beyond a typical 9-to-5 routine. Above the daily management of a room full of five-year-olds, she knows the pressures of teaching in a district where 85 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Where maintaining learning, and raising test scores, takes creativity, dedication and endless quantities of energy.
“I think in the urban schools you have a really great opportunity to make so much of a difference,” Goodrich says. “A lot of the students don't come in with the background or the family support. But if you work really hard with them, they can meet expectations and achieve so much academically and behaviorally. I think it’s so rewarding to be a part of that.”
Goodrich is one of the teachers featured in a new website launching today via a regional initiative focused on highlighting academic achievement in our urban core. The initiative, a partnership between Cincinnati, Newport and Covington schools, designed tweducate.org
– Together We Educate -- to serve as a far-reaching collection of local innovations and opportunities.
“This is the one-stop shop for all great things in education,” says Ben Greenberg of the Strive Partnership
, which helped compile individual school and district information for the site. “It’s really about attracting, supporting and retaining teachers.”
The site provides a wealth of information about local urban districts, including the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as well as local universities’ teacher training programs. It also offers a glimpse into what it is like to work, live and make a difference in Greater Cincinnati.
One section of the site focuses on innovation stories, providing overviews of community learning centers in Cincinnati Public Schools, work-study options at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Cristo Rey high school, future educator scholars in Covington and Newport’s Read to Achieve program.
Another section, called PD with Impact, offers a menu of teacher professional development options that have proven records of raising student achievement levels. The clearinghouse offers professional development alternatives with measurable outcomes. “That’s revolutionary in this country,” says education consultant Jan Leslie, who worked to help develop the site. “We are all about data.”
While student achievement is the goal, statistics show that attracting and retaining quality teachers remains a struggle. In urban school districts, 20 percent of teachers leave the profession every year, according to a 2010 McKinsey and Company
report. But the need for them keeps getting bigger. The same report noted that in the next 10 years, 1.8 million of the country’s 3.2 million teachers will become eligible for retirement.
And better quality teachers make a significant impact on student achievement. Consider these findings from a Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
“A student scoring at the 50 percentile who spends two years in an average school, with an average teacher, is likely to continue scoring at the 50th achievement percentile. That same student, having spent two years in a ‘most effective’ school with a ‘most effective’ teacher, rockets to the 96th achievement percentile. The converse also holds: If this same student spends two years in a ‘least effective’ school with a ‘least effective’ teacher, that student’s achievement level plunges to the third percentile.”
None of those statistics surprise Goodrich, who, like many of her most successful peers, chose urban teaching because she wanted to have the greatest impact on her students’ learning. That potential for transformation fuels the work behind Together We Educate and its efforts to capitalize on current initiatives and position our region as a destination for the best and brightest educators in the nation.