Inspire 340 Schools Make Gains
The efforts to increase student success in Inspire 340 schools are having a positive impact. Since the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system launched the turnaround initiative known as Inspire 340 during the 2016-2017 school year, the percentage of Inspire 340 schools meeting or exceeding growth expectations has increased.
Instructional Superintendent Karen Roseboro is leading the Inspire 340 effort.
“The performance data shows that the 15 schools in the Inspire 340 network are moving in a positive direction,” Roseboro said.
Inspire 340 schools are schools within the district that have been designated as a Priority or Focus School. Many Priority and Focus schools are Title I schools that receive additional federal funding for supplies, materials, and staff incentives.
The number 340 represents the local education code for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Inspire 340's mission is to inspire students to achieve and excel, despite life challenges, through the power of education.
“In earlier years prior, about 40 percent of Inspire 340 schools had met or exceeded growth expectations,” Roseboro said.
“During the first year (2016-2017) of strategic turnaround, 66 percent of the Inspire 340 schools met or exceeded growth.”
“The second year of turnaround efforts showed an increase to 73 percent of the schools meeting or exceeding growth expectations.”
Inspire 340 includes three School Improvement Grant Schools and one Federal Restart School:
Ashley Academy, which has students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, met growth and increased proficiency after two years of not meeting growth expectations.
Carver High School has exceeded growth expectations for the past two years.
Cook Literacy Model School, which has students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, met and exceeded growth expectations and increased proficiency.
Kimberley Park Elementary met growth expectations.
What are some of the characteristics of WS/FCS Strategic Turnaround model?
As the lead instructional superintendent for the Inspire 340 schools, Roseboro collaborates with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and with the School Improvement Teams in the district in conducting comprehensive needs assessments to identify strengths and opportunities for improvements.
“Inspire 340 has invested in talented leaders and teachers,” Roseboro said.
“Inspire 340 schools have strong, effective and competent leaders. The principals are innovated, motivated, and inspiring, which are qualities needed to challenge the status quo and create the systemic changes required to turn a school around.”
The district hired a Human Capitalist – retired Principal Judy Jones – to support principals in recruiting and retaining teachers.
With the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Inspire 340 schools began to focus more on acceleration than remediation. Schools began to work on solving such problems as attendance, behavior, social and emotional issues before focusing on academic skill deficits of students.
School leaders began to reflect on how their master schedules were barriers to student success and began to create opportunities for students to receive Core + More during the instructional day. Schools also focused on appropriate, differentiated and targeted instruction, on evidence-based teaching strategies, on frequent progress-monitoring using formative assessments, and on using data to inform instructional and staffing decisions.
In the past, some Inspire 340 schools have had a high rate of teacher turnover. The Getting Better Faster 90-Day Coaching Plan for New Teachers gave school leaders tools to coach new teachers. Research says that many new teachers leave the profession in part due to lack of coaching and support. With that in mind, Inspire 340 began to focus more on supporting teachers.
“In addition to school district support and resources,” Roseboro said, “Inspire 340 has support from private donors and non-profits that are committed to providing additional operating money and resources to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to address critical student achievement gaps and to improve third-grade reading and math proficiency scores.”
“We are very grateful to our community for supporting the work of school turnaround.”