Five Schools Show Significant Growth, Will Exit the Acceleration Network

Posted on December 5, 2019
Categories: Press Releases

PHILADELPHIA —The following K-8 schools will exit the School District of Philadelphia’s Acceleration Network at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, based on significant progress they have made in recent years: John Barry, Paul L. Dunbar, Morton McMichael, S. Weir Mitchell, and Hon. Luis Muñoz Marín.

The announcement was made at today’s meeting of the Board of Education’s Student Achievement and Support Committee.

“I am proud of the tremendous work that our teachers, principals, staff and students have completed to make this success possible,” said Dr. William R. Hite, superintendent. “I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Eric Becoats for leading this work throughout the Acceleration Network. The network is proof that we see academic improvement in schools where we strategically invest resources, and we look forward to these schools continuing to make progress.”

The Acceleration Network model, previously known as the Turnaround Network, was first implemented in the 2016-2017 school year. There are currently 19 schools in the network, which uses a research-based improvement model focusing on five key areas: identifying and cultivating great turnaround leaders; establishing a continuous teaching and learning improvement process; providing professional growth and development opportunities to enhance instructional capacity and delivery; providing resources to support healthy and safe school environments; and engaging the school community in the improvement process.

To exit the network, schools needed to meet two criteria: achieve an overall School Progress Report (SPR) score in the Watch tier (25 percent) or higher for two consecutive years; and show three consecutive years of growth or above-average growth in reading and math.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress made by the five schools that are eligible to exit the network,” said Dr. Eric Becoats, assistant superintendent of the Acceleration Network. “The principals, teachers and staff are to be commended for their dedication and commitment to effectively implementing the school improvement model. Their efforts have benefited the  students they serve. The network is thankful and appreciative of the support provided by our Chief Schools Officer, Dr. Shawn Bird, Dr. Hite and the Board of Education.”

The following reflects each exiting school’s progress on the SPR from 2015-2016 to 2017-2018:

  • Barry: 4% to 36%
  • Dunbar: 14% to 41%
  • McMichael: 18% to 39%
  • Mitchell: 3% to 40%
  • Muñoz Marín: 16% to 51%

In addition to increased SPR scores, each school currently has higher student attendance and fewer student suspensions than before entering the network.

Resources provided to schools included academic teacher leaders in reading and math, additional professional development sessions for staff, and additional staff such as an assistant principal, social worker, and school improvement support liaison.

“I am excited and humbled that our school will exit the Acceleration Network,” said Dollette Johns-Smith, principal of McMichael School. “Under the leadership of Dr. Becoats, the Acceleration Network provided us with the staff, tools, and strategies to successfully implement a turnaround model that ensured student academic success for three consecutive years.”

“The key factors in P. L. Dunbar’s progress have been additional resources and professional development of our staff,” said Dawn Moore, principal of Dunbar School. “With the onset of the Acceleration model, Dunbar has experienced a resurgence, with three consecutive years of significant progress on the SPR. Our exiting the network is bittersweet as we are very proud of our school’s academic progress and also look forward to the resources, supports and training that will make continued growth possible.”

Each school will move into a new Learning Network in 2020-2021 and will remain a District neighborhood school. Schools will work with Central Office to determine which additional resources are needed to sustain progress.