In January, Co-Superintendent Neil Smith formed the Work Group for Accelerating the Achievement of African American Students that was tasked with conducting a study of best practices for supporting African American student achievement and making recommendations on furthering implementation in Berkeley.
The purpose of this study and plan development process has been defined as follows:
* Examine data to identify the students who do not appear to be benefiting from current efforts and need additional support.
* Select actions designed to improve outcomes for identified students based on national research on effective practices and familiarity with BUSD
The School Board received a status report on February 27th that included demographic and achievement data for African-American students in district schools as compared to their peers, and rationale for the decision to focus on programming and specific actions at the middle schools in 2013-14.
The School Board received another status update on April 24th that included (1) a brief overview of the research on this topic, (2) a summary of findings from the student focus groups, the parent focus group and the community meeting, and (3) proposed high-leverage strategies based on best practices in Berkeley schools and other districts that have demonstrated success in improving outcomes for African-American students.
The study of best practices and inquiry findings of the Work Group are being used to formalize a plan that will include action plans and recommended resource allocations for the coming year to accelerate the achievement of African American students in Berkeley’s public schools.