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The Road to Sustainable Success - A Letter to the Boston Globe Editor

To the Editor

With the right mix of trade-offs and investments, Boston Public Schools (BPS) is poised to hold on to recent turnaround gains in its lowest performing schools and avoid the common plight that James Vaznis describes in his story, “After gains, Hub schools seek to avert slip when funds run out.”

What places Boston in a promising position is its short-term investment in building long-term skills and expertise of teachers and leaders. Seventeen of the $26 million of federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds is going toward training, creating stronger teaching teams, and improving instructional approaches that should last even if coaching is phased out. However, securing investment in critical and ongoing needs like school readiness, social-emotional support and extended time may be more problematic as SIG funds disappear.

Going forward, gathering data on the most effective interventions and areas of diminishing returns will be essential. Such information will allow BPS to make informed trade-offs and redirect funds from ineffective programs to those with the most promising gains. Given the importance of sustaining the improvements for the children in these schools, highlighting successes will generate momentum and community support for continued funding needed to secure long-term success.

Karen Hawley Miles
President and Executive Director
Education Resource Strategies, Inc.
Watertown, MA

See the orginal Globe story at http://articles.boston.com/2012-04-02/metro/31270862_1_city-year-school-improvement-grant-program-boston-teachers-union

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