California Educator

September 2013

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Page 33 of 71

School Improvement Advocacy Harmon Johnson Elementary in Sacramento is just one of the many schools benefiting from CTA's Quality Education Investment Act, which has brought greater achievement, more collaboration and shared best practices. Cultivating Student Success CTA's QEIA program is engaging parents, increasing teacher collaboration, transforming the learning culture, and giving at-risk students a fighting chance. S T O RY B Y M I K E M Y S L I N S K I P U B L I C S C H O O L S R E A P what they sow in education reform. The good news is, something special has taken root in California's disadvantaged classrooms. The school improvements planted by the CTA-sponsored Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) of 2006 are producing academic success stories featuring students of greatest need. This teacher-driven school improvement effort is the largest school turnaround project of its kind in the nation — and it's making a lasting difference despite deep cuts to education in recent years. "With QEIA, we are finding new and effective ways to help our vulnerable students and to discover practices that all teachers can learn from," CTA President Dean Vogel says. "New research shows that these proven reforms are leading to positive impacts in achievement, school reputation, school climate and parent engagement. This is exciting to see." 32 Educator 09 Sep 2013 v3.6 int.indd 32 QEIA is getting noticed, too. Last year, the program received international acclaim in a book, The Global Fourth Way, by education researchers Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley. It was showcased as the U.S.-based reform program to watch. While raising test scores is not the primary purpose of this reform program, the Academic Performance Index (API) scores for many QEIA schools now exceed the state's goal of 800 set for all public schools. The academic gains made and best practices discovered are at targeted schools where students are overwhelmingly from low-income minority families, and many are English learners. Some 400 schools remain in the program today after many failed to meet strict benchmarks along the way. The eight-year program ends June 30, 2015. Here are three schools where QEIA is making a significant difference. S E P T E M B E R 2013 9/3/13 2:26 PM

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