Monday, August 3, 2015

Leadership vs. Advanced Placement

How nice to see the Philadelphia Inquirer finally running an article on the best science and STEM school in city, as opposed to the science leadership school that gets all the local buzz and national attention. And how nice to see this school (yes, J's former high school) finally get some monetary recognition from the Philadelphia School Partnership:
Carver High School for Engineering and Science, which is expanding to serve 120 seventh and eighth graders in September, has been awarded $200,000 from the Philadelphia School Partnership, officials announced Thursday.

That's on top of a $147,000 grant that PSP, a deep-pocketed nonprofit, already awarded to Carver to fund planning for its middle school.

The newest award will support more planning as the school develops at 16th and West Norris Streets, principal Ted Domers said.

"There's a void of meaningful STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] education in the city and across the country," Domers said. "We think this is an opportunity to be doing something that no one else is doing."
Carver's middle-school students will take engineering and computer science classes from the moment they walk in the door. They'll study algebra as eighth graders. Eventually, that will mean more advanced classes for them as high schoolers.

"The only reason our kids can't accelerate quicker is because we can't expose them quickly enough," Domers said.

Going forward, there's no reason a sophomore Carver student won't be able to take a class like Advanced Placement computer science, Domers said.
Mr. Domers, who, I'm pretty sure, is the best principal in the entire Philadelphia school district, is absolutely right that no other Philadelphia public school is doing this. With a largely low-SES population, with much less selective admissions than its leadership school counterpart, Carver High School for Engineering and Science has been achieving much higher scores on math, science, and computer science AP tests.

Perhaps next year Arne Duncan will invite Mr. Domers, rather than the science leadership leaders, to the "Principals at ED" program that, in the words of the earlier Inquirer article, "brings groups of highly innovative and successful principals from across the country to the Education Department to learn more about federal programs and to share experiences from their jobs as school leaders."

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