'The Top Drawer'
Following are some of the programs cited by the Council of Great City Schools in Results in the Making as models of their kind:
Minneapolis Public Schools
Benchmark Tests measure mastery in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students must successfully complete the tests in grades K, 2, 5, 7, and 9 before promotion to a higher grade. Those who do not are placed in special transition programs staffed by intervention teachers.
Pittsburgh Public Schools
The Monitoring Achievement in Critical Thinking Program enhances the ability to question and reason during traditional subject-matter instruction. Part of the social-studies curriculum, it employs reading, discussion, and essay-writing assignments to hone the critical-thinking skills.
Philadelphia Public Schools
Officials credit early-childhood-education programs with a dramatic rise in districtwide test-score averages. Four major prekindergarten programs are offered--Child Care, Parent Cooperative Nursery, Get Set Day Care, and Head Start--along with seven early-school-age programs--Academics Plus, Benchmark, Follow Through, Kindergarten, Primary Skills, Project Success, and a transition program.
Buffalo Public Schools
Enrolling more than 14,000 students, the magnet-school programs have been cited as a major force behind gains in ethnic balance, academic achievement, and parent participation. In the latest round of the U.S. Education Department's school-recognition program, no single school system won as many awards as Buffalo's.
Milwaukee Public Schools
A program of pre-college mini-courses promotes interest in college going among disadvantaged and minority students in middle and high schools. Featuring lectures, laboratory and field work, and trips, the program also motivates students through intensive counseling.
Baltimore Public Schools
The Kid's Diner, a commercial restaurant operated by vocational-education students, provides a real-world environment for the acquisition of work skills and general business knowledge. Since its inception, students in the program have logged an impressive employment record, with each receiving no fewer than two full-time job offers upon graduation.
Dade County Public Schools
The Dade Partners program is one of the largest collaborative efforts between a public-school system and the private sector. The 750 business "partners" work with individual schools to plan such activities as tutoring, the display of student artwork, awards for outstanding achievement and citizenship, and technical assistance with school projects.
St. Paul Public Schools
HealthStart operates independently managed, school-based health clinics in four of the city's schools. In addition to providing primary and preventive medical care, the program gives students information aimed at making them better health-care consumers. Last year, nearly 70 percent of eligible students used the facilities, making an average of four visits.
Albuquerque Public Schools
The New Futures School serves pregnant students and teen-age parents and their children. Offering a standard academic curriculum, as well as health care, counseling, child care, and vocational training, the school enrolls approximately 450 students per year in grades 7-12.
Cleveland Public Schools
In its Five-Year Facilities Utilization Plan, the educational program determines facility use and long-range planning. Administrators receive computer simulations of enrollment to help them analyze the effects of placements in specific buildings.
Several districtwide changes have come from the plan's use, most notably a shift from junior high schools (grades 7-9) to intermediate schools (grades 7-8).