How Did Friendship Learn by liuhongmei


									 How Did Friendship Learn
         to Run
     Good Schools?
Insights from a History of Twelve Years of
     Friendship Public Charter School

            by Mary Procter
          former Chief of Staff

       Prepared for the 2010
    Friendship PCS Convocation
            August 2010

                        History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page   1
                                      FOREWORD to the Full Friendship History

                     I am proud to have created a team to build a charter school in D.C that
              every year educates thousands of children from low-income neighborhoods.
              Securing an education for all of our children is a goal every bit as righteous as
those for which Dr. King gave his life more than 42 years ago.
       Failure to graduate from high school denies children access to college, the passport to
the middle class. The Department of Labor estimates that high school graduates earn
$600,000 more during their lifetimes than high school dropouts.       I am proud that high
school graduation rates in D.C. charter schools are significantly higher than the U.S.
average, an average that includes schools in affluent communities that are worlds apart from
the vulnerable neighborhoods where D.C. charter schools are located.
       I am a builder; this is what I know how to do. But building these schools is
enormously hard work. We at Freindship take risks every day to seize opportunities for our
students. At Morehouse College, which I attended in order to follow in Dr. King‘s
footsteps, we were taught to seize, not fear, opportunities.
       Children, especially those from low income families, need help every step of the
way.    Where there are barriers, they have to learn from us that there is a way around them.
Lisa Sullivan, one of our founding Board members, taught me to pay attention to the
aspirations of young people and help them develop their own powers.         My Board
supported me in opening the second largest open-enrollment high school in D.C., one that is
seriously committed to college for every student.
       The secret of Friendship Public Charter School and its extraordinary staff is dreaming
big dreams for our students, taking big risks to achieve our dreams, and working incredibly
hard to make sure those risks pay off.     This history will encourage others to take risks to
help children realize their dreams.
                                                   Donald L. Hense, Chairman
                                                   June 2010

                                                        History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page   2
Dear Friendship Teachers and Staff for School Year 2010-11
       As we complete a dozen years of Friendship Public Charter School campuses, Donald Hense
has asked me to write the history of the school going back to 1997 and his earliest idea for a charter
school. That history is planned for printing in the fall of 2010.
       But as you come together for the 2010 Friendship Convocation, he wanted you to have
access to some of the most important insights and lessons from the history in this condensed form.
       You already know (or if you are new to Friendship are about to learn) Friendship Schools
embraces a sophisticated educational design including: challenging academic standards, a full
curriculum map tailored to our students‘ starting points, rich and flexible uses of data on student
performance, and a sophisticated set of professional development practices.     This complex design
did not drop into our midst all at once. We built it slowly based on experience, research, and what
we learned and continue to learn from our community of parents teachers, students and staff .
Understanding how this design came about and what progress and setbacks were experienced along
the way will give you a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the model you see today and the
important role you can play in its continuing evolution.
       The full history of Friendship Public Charter School will describe the background for charter
schools in D.C. and the significance of being a charter school. It will introduce many of the key
players in the history and describe the evolution of the management and financial structure of
Friendship PCS and how that influenced the evolution of the current Friendship model.
       These insights drawn from the full history will focus primarily on the evolution of the
Friendship educational model, in three chapters:
       1. The Beginning, the First Schools and the Edison Design:
       2. The Evolution of Friendship‘s Own Design;
       3. Examples of the Payoff; Southeast Academy, Collegiate Academy, and the Partnership
           Schools in Baltimore and D.C.
As members of the Friendship School‘s Professional Learning Community this history is your
history and you will be helping shape this on-going story. I welcome your feedback about it.
                                                      Mary Procter,
                                                      Founding Chief of Staff, FPCS

                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page   3
Chapter 1: The Beginning, the First Schools and the Edison Design
            PHOTO OF FRIENDSHIP HOUSE The starting point for understanding Friendship Public
Charter School is in its origin in Friendship House, a former settlement house and social services
agency that opened in 1904 and helped children and adults with child care, employment training,
literacy.     The ―spirit of Friendship House,‖ understood by all of its staff and those it helped, was
that all individuals deserved caring, all deserved respect, and community mattered.
        When Donald Hense took over as Executive Director in December 1996, he loved and
admired all that Friendship did for struggling families, but he believed that without engaging the
schools, this was just nibbling around the edges of poverty. He set out to use the new D.C. law,
passed in 1996, authorizing charter schools, to start a Friendship school that would embrace and
expand the whole person vision of Friendship House.
        Since Friendship House had passion to improve the lives of children, but no capital to invest,
and no detailed knowledge of how to start a school, Hense and the Friendship House Board decided
in mid-1997 to team up with The Edison Project (later called Edison Schools), a for-profit company
that was already managing a dozen schools and was planning to double that number in a year. He
recognized in Edison Founder Chris Whittle a fellow social entrepreneur and liked the Edison
School Design.
        Edison was prepared to invest in renovating vacant D.C. school buildings, which were
available to charter schools in 1997, to house four large Friendship schools.           Friendship and
Edison submitted an ambitious application to open two elementary schools (Chamberlain in the
initial application and Woodridge as an amendment in April 1998) in fall 1998; a middle school
(Blow Pierce) in fall 1999; and a high school (Carter G. Woodson) over two years in 2000 and
2001, enrolling a total of 3000 students.       The charter was provisionally approved in March 1998
and signed by the D.C. Public Charter School Board on September 3, 2010. Friendship-Edison was
                        Donald Hense, Founder & CEO, 1997 to Present. Donald Hense served on the Board of
                       Friendship House for several decades before becoming Executive Director. A Morehouse
                       alumnus, he had become a dynamic fund-raiser for Whitman-Walker Clinic, Arena Stage, and
                       the Children‘s Defense Fund



                                                                 History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page          4

                 Chris Whittle, Founder and CEO, Edison Schools, 1992-Present. An irrepressible personality
                with ―an artesian well of ideas,‖ Whittle started ESQUIRE magazine and CHANNEL ONE in high
                schools in the communications business before turning his attention to education at the age of 40
                when asked to give a speech on education to the Business Roundtable. Whittle recognized Donald
                Hense as a fellow social entrepreneur and they began an enduring friendship when they first met in
                spring 1997

       How Friendship Schools Became Good Schools in the Early Years.                       Friendship and
Edison attracted four outstanding founding principals to open the first Edison-Friendship Schools.
All four schools were successful within their first year of opening, earning ―four star‖ honors within
the Edison system, and ranking high among their peers in D.C. public schools on the initial
standardized test, the Stanford-9.     Their success was due to the soundness of the Edison School
Design and to the commitment and perseverance (to use two Friendship core values) of the
founding principals, their attitude of ―whatever it takes.‖
       To come up with their school design, Edison as a national educational company had invested
two years and its own resources in a team of educators who had studied good schools across the
country.   The research team put together a set of best practices which they boiled down to Ten
Fundamentals to explain to potential parents and the outside world.

                                 Ten Fundamentals of the Edison Design
                          (as used in the Friendship Schools until June 2007)
Organized for Every Student’s Success. Schools are organized into academies and then grouped into
“houses” of about 100 students where all the teachers meet together in a daily planning time.
A Rich and Challenging Curriculum. The curriculum focuses on the core academic subjects as well as
fine arts, world language, health and fitness, and an emphasis on practical skills such as technology.
Teaching Methods That Motivate. Edison provides teachers with the tools to teach but also with the tools
that help children to learn—all students including those requiring special education services.
Assessment That Provides Real Accountability. Students take all assessments mandated by the state
(D.C.) and are assessed monthly using the Edison Benchmark Assessment system.
A Partnership with Families. Parents are encouraged to volunteer often. A Family and Student Support
Team (FASST) works with families whose problems may interfere with learning.
A Professional Environment for Teachers. Teachers and administrators receive intensive professional
development and attend regional and national curriculum and leadership conferences.
Technology for an Information Age. Each teacher receives a laptop computer and is connected to the
Edison Common (an intranet). Technology is integrated into the curriculum. Families are loaned PCs.
A Better Use of Time. Schools run 8:00 to 4:00 pm for older students and for over 200 days a year.
Ninety minute blocks are used for reading and sometimes for math as well.
Schools Tailored to the Community. Schools implement partnerships with local organizations such as the
Kennedy Center and mentoring programs. High school students must do community service.

                                                                 History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page             5
The Advantages of System and Scale. Teachers and administrators are connected to their colleagues in
other Edison schools via the Common, a system wide intranet and information system.

Dr. Marlaina Palmeri, who supervised Friendship Schools for most of the years between 1999 and
2007, points to four critical ways that the Edison School Design contributed to the student
achievement of Friendship schools and other Edison schools. First, the sound curriculum fully
engaged students in learning when thoroughly implemented.        Second, Edison built in monthly
―benchmark‖ testing to track student progress in learning. Third, Edison School schedules built in
daily common planning periods for teachers to meet and talk with each other ―not before or after
school when they are tired and have other things to do.‖ But fourth and most important she says,
has been the Edison tools for building a ―culture of achievement.‖ ―And what is that?....If there‘s a
common mantra that says, ‗If the teacher next door is failing, then I‘m also failing‘….The school
has to have a sense of no excuses. And….believe the kids can move mountains….And that‘s what
you find in our schools.‖ [Use the last 3 sentences also as a side bar quote.] As Friendship
evolved it preserved and built on these basic elements—a strong curriculum, regular use of
assessments, abundant common planning time for teachers, and above all a culture of
achievement—and enhanced them.
          The founding principals brought their own deep knowledge of educating low income urban
children to the way they shaped their schools. They also brought an incredible ability to surmount
obstacles and persevere in the face of setbacks in the overwhelming task of opening a brand new
PHOTO. Dr. John Pannell, the founding Principal of Chamberlain elementary, had won the D.C.
Principal of the Year award a couple of times as Principal of the 800-student Malcolm X
Elementary School in Anacostia.
PHOTO. Clara Canty, an expert in the Responsive Classroom, had won parents‘ support as
Principal of the Woodridge Elementary School before it was closed by the city, leased to
Friendship, and re-opened under her leadership.
PHOTO. Vonnelle Middleton, the Founding Principal of Blow Pierce Junior Academy, had been an
award-winning Principal of the St. Louis Career Academy
PHOTO. Linette Adams, the Founding Principal of Collegiate Academy, had been the much-
beloved Principal of Banneker Academic High School in D.C.
          The first enormous challenge for the founding principals was dealing with the renovation of
buildings in very bad shape, a daunting task on top of their demanding responsibilities as school

                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page    6
leaders. When Pannell was asked what had been the three biggest difficulties of his first year, he
answered: ―Building, building, building.‖
Chamberlain renovation $3.5 million. All windows in the building as well as all floors, ceilings
and walls on the western half, which had been damaged by a serious roof leak, had to be replaced.
There was no cafeteria until November and no gym until February.

Woodridge renovation $1.2 million. Windows and many wall treatments had to be replaced.

PHOTO of GRAFFITI on wall of Blow Pierce
Blow Pierce renovation $5.6 million. Squatters had moved into the vacant building and drug
dealers were operating in the parking lot. Edison had to erect a modular gym.

Woodson renovation $12 million. All the plumbing and wires had been torn out and loose asbestos
filled the building.

       Intensive Professional Develoment. While each principal brought his or her own
philosophy to the opening of their schools, they all took advantage of the Edison practice of several
weeks of intensive professional development and team-building in the summer before the opening
of school—Pannell and Canty in 1998; Middleton in 1999 and Adams in 2000. In an attractive
local conference center, designed to make participants feel respected and appreciated, teachers were
trained in the Edison curriculum and in all the practices of positive discipline. They worked
together in teams to design the opening weeks of school—how to build a positive school culture of
students ready for learning.
       Each of the founding principals stressed important practices that later became part of the
Friendship way of doing things. Professional development stressed ―know your students.‖
Pannell took his teachers through the local public housing projects so they could see the kinds of
environments their students came from, hiring a large number of male teachers, to serve as role
models for his Chamberlain students, many of whom did not know their fathers. Teachers were
taught to work as a team. Canty pushed her young Woodridge teachers to work together and
assume responsibility for solving problems at Woodridge. Middleton taught her Blow Pierce staff
to mine the data they had on benchmark and standardized tests for insight into their students‘
learning gaps. Adams created a college-bound culture from the beginning at Collegiate, promising
all her students that they would go to college, maybe not immediately, but they would go. She also

                                                          History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page    7
built a community feeling, she and her staff taking Collegiate students in small groups to restaurants
or theaters to widen their horizons and build trust among students and adults.
       Each in their own way, the principals fused the Friendship spirit of caring about individuals
and community with the Edison design for a strong school culture of achievement. Edison
provided Friendship with shoulders to stand on and eventually to build on in running schools that
could take low income children into mainstream America.        Edison set an example of a sensible
set of education practices, integrated so that they made sense as a whole, of professional
development supporting school culture, and of teaching methods that engaged children in really
learning what was specified in the Edison curriculum.    Edison set high standards; Friendship added
a strong connection to the community and the specific challenges and opportunities the community
provided. Edison gave teachers tools for teaching diverse children in their classrooms; Friendship
gave them knowledge of those children that helped teachers be more effective. Edison supported
teachers with technology, common planning time, and ample professional development.
Friendship formed teachers into a community that continuously got better at fostering student
       Together they laid a foundation of academic ambition combined with the Friendship House
vision of creating citizens and communities through respect and caring.

                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page     8
                                          FRIENDSHIP TIMELINE (2 pages)
           [Timeline will include photos of buildings, addresses and enrollment)
September 1998            Chamberlain with address
                          Woodridge with address
September 1999            Blow Pierce Junior Academy
September 2000            Collegiate Academy—Phase I
September 2001            Collegiate Academy—Phase II
September 2004            Woodridge Middle School Expansion
September 2005            Friendship Southeast Academy
September 2007            Friendship Southeast Expansion
September 2009            Friendship Tech Prep
September 2008            Friendship Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) Baltimore
                          Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology (FAET) Baltimore
September 2009            The Academies at Anacostia
September 2010            (Planned) Friendship Prep Academy at Calverton

                                    Enrollment in Friendship PCS, 1998-2010

                                                                                                 Tech Prep
         3,000                                                                                   Southeast Academy
         2,500                                                                                   Collegiate Academy
         2,000                                                                                   Blow Pierce Junior Academy
         1,500                                                                                   Woodridge Elementary
                                                                                                 Chamberlain Elementary

























                                                                                          History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page   9
Chapter 2: The Steps to Friendship’s Own Design
       As Donald Hense and his Chief of Staff Mary Procter gained experience with the Edison-
Friendship Schools and joined forces with the competent and ambitious Friendship founding
principals, Friendship began to contribute more and more to the success of the Edison-Friendship
schools, but still had no resources of its own to take more responsibility for the educational
program. The most obvious difficulty was the Edison high school design which was something of
an afterthought in the Edison program and did not meet the needs of low income children from D.C.
neighborhoods. This conflicted with the view of Donald Hense that high school is the gateway to
college and to the middle class. Problems in the high school highlighted the shortcomings of
―absentee control‖ and intensified the feeling that independence had to be a long term goal.
       In 2002-3, Hense and his staff negotiated a combination of bond financing and a new more
equal management agreement so that beginning in November 2003, Friendship had a stronger
financial platform from which to pursue improvements in the educational model and eventually
independence using its own educational model. Hense‘s first challenge in building a foundation
for independence was to develop a really effective high school model.
       Developing an Educational Model for the Collegiate Academy.
        Donald Hense‘s dissatisfaction with how the Edison high school design worked in the
Collegiate Academy began in March 2001 with the first Public Charter School Board Program
Review. There was no real curriculum plan, the team of educators said, just broad Edison subject
standards and a list of textbooks for each subject and grade. The curriculum needed to be ―mapped‖
to set out the sequence and content of the units and lesson plans for each week throughout the
school year. Furthermore, the Edison textbooks had not been adapted to the wide range of skills of
the incoming 9th grade students, many of whom were several grades behind in math and reading.
The problems inherent in remote centralized management of an inner city school had come to the
fore and could not be ignored. Hense seized the initiative and put together a team of DC-based
educators, including Dr. Loretta Webb, a former Montgomery County Assistant Superintendent, to
lay out a plan for improvement. From then on, Hense took charge of the development of a high
school designed to take inner-city kids all the way to college.
       New Co-Principals. By school year 2002-3, co-Principals Brian Beck and Michael Cordell
had replaced Linette Adams (who had moved on to become D.C. Assistant Superintendent for High
Schools). Co-Principal Beck spent the first year building a stronger Collegiate culture of self-
discipline and mutual respect, using as one of his tools the newly-launched athletic program; student
athletes had to maintain a GPA of 2.25 and go to a study hall before team practice. Meanwhile, for
                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 10
the 96 seniors ready to graduate in 2003, Co-Principal Cordell launched an all-out effort to get them
all accepted in college. The college guidance office became the focal point of excitement as each
college acceptance was received and posted on the corridor wall.
              Michael Cordell, Co-Principal Collegiate Academy 2003-5; Chief Academic Officer 2005-
              Present. Cordell‘s passions are good teaching and effective entrepreneurship. Attracted to Chris
              Whittle‘s vision, he was a co-principal for Edison at the Chicago International School before coming to
              Friendship in 2000. As Chief Academic Officer since 2005, he has led the development of a Friendship
              School Design.

                                  Brian Beck, Co-Principal Collegiate Academy 2003-2005; Collegiate Head of
                                 School; currently Senior Director of School Operations and Site Services.
A former                         football player for Oregon State, Brian Beck had been Academy Director of the
Chicago                          International School.

       But even with a curriculum better tailored to Collegiate students, a stronger school culture,
and active college guidance, Hense was convinced that the Edison high school design could not
motivate the kids that needed to be reached—the would-be dropouts, the bright students that did not
see the reason to study. Students had to grasp the connection of high school to their future lives as
adults and that could only be done by building individual bridges between their immediate
situations to those futures that they could understand and could see how they could traverse.
       In mid-2003, Hense enlisted Patricia Brantley (formerly his Development Director for
Friendship House) as a consultant to help him find resources to make his vision real. Together with
Co-principals Cordell and Beck, Brantley sought out the most innovative programs across the
country. In July 2003, she convinced a D.C. vocational education program to provide $250,000 for
career academies. Cordell and Beck worked to find the space, create the schedule, and recruit the
teachers to set up four Career Academies—Arts and Communications; Technology and Pre-
engineering; Health, Law and Public Service; and Business and Finance. In August 2003, all 11th
and 12th graders were enrolled in one of the four. Juniors and seniors at Collegiate still enroll in one
of three career academies.
       Hense also believed that students, especially those who would be the first in their families to
go to college (most of the Collegiate students), needed an experience of college level courses while
still in the supportive atmosphere of high school. In school year 2004-5, the Collegiate Academy
launched the first four Advanced Placement courses with 62 students taking exams. By May 2008

                                                                  History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 11
580 students took AP exams and Collegiate was awarded one of three national ―AP Inspiration
Awards‖ for this impressive increase in students exposed to college-level work. The Friendship
principals of caring, respect and community were evolving into an integrated whole school, whole
child, whole community educational design.
From the Hense Vision:
      All students should go to college. The schools should be focused on getting them there and
       giving them the skills to stay there.
      Students, especially if they are the first in their families to go to college, must have a chance
       to experience college level work before they leave high school.

       In March 2004, the Gates Foundation granted Friendship $400,000 to start an Early College
Program at Collegiate Academy. The program began with five college courses taught by professors
at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and grew to 20 college courses in 2008-9 with
over 1000 early college course exams taken. Students received grades of ―A‖ or ―B‖ on two out of
three exams.
                   Patricia Brantley, Chief Operating Officer 2004 to Present, brought a Princeton degree and a
                   toolbox of practical experience in non-profits. As the right hand person for Dorothy Height,
                   President of the National Council of Negro Women, she came to share Dr. Height‘s view of
                   education ―Parents send you the only kids they have; they do not hold back the better kids.‖

       Using Assessments of Student Work to Improve Collegiate Teaching. In the Spring of
2002, almost 90 percent of the students at Collegiate scored Below Basic on the Stanford-9
standardized test. That means they had not mastered even the minimum requirements for their
grade levels. Dr. Arsallah Shairzay, the Collegiate math coordinator, began to develop a set of
weekly tests aligned to math standards , and lesson plans for each grade. Over the school year
2002-3, Shairzay introduced pre-and-post tests for each math standard, and created assessment
portfolios so students take ownership of their own learning and mastery. Student mastery of math
improved dramatically (reaching 67 percent on the D.C. CAS test in 2009) and Friendship staff
began to understand the power of students knowing and using their own assessment data. The

                                                               History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 12
Friendship House principle of respect for individuals was being integrated into teacher respect for
their students.
From Hense Vision
       Children, especially those with limited family support for their education, must learn how to
        take responsibility for their own mastery of high academic standards.

        An All-out Effort to Formalize and Develop the Friendship Design.
        In the summer of 2005, Michael Cordell, newly named by Hense to be Friendship‘s Chief
Academic Officer, took the lead in a year-long set of discussions with stakeholders to identify how
to go beyond the Edison Design and formalize and develop what was becoming a distinct and
distinctive Friendship Design that matched Donald Hense‘s increasingly sharp vision for the
Friendship schools. Through experimentation, much of that vision was already being implemented
in the Collegiate Academy. Now was the time to take a systematic

Hense’s Vision for the Friendship Schools
 All students should go to college. The schools should be focused on getting them there and
   giving them the skills to enable them to stay there
 Standards must match national standards for high schools to prepare kids for college work
 Students, especially if they are the first in their families to go to college, must have a chance to
   experience college level work before they leave high school
 What and how our teachers teach should start with the children we have, what they already
   know and don‘t know, and what skills they now have and must learn
 Children with limited family support for their education must learn to take responsibility for
   their own mastery of high academic standards
 We must have multiple supports to assist children with the issues that come from living in poor
   and often violent neighborhoods—mental health and guidance counselors, intervention teams,
   and classrooms organized to support individual children
 We must expose children from low-income neighborhoods to many aspects of mainstream
   America, helping them to compete successfully with kids that have grown up in middle-class or
   affluent backgrounds

look at what the best schools and school systems were doing around the country and to add the most
valuable practices explicitly to the evolving Friendship Design.
        Resources for a New Friendship Model. To support strengthened Friendship leadership,
Donald Hense was able to tap a new form of non-profit venture philanthropy to provide $4.5 million

                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 13
beginning in spring 2006 to build a central Academic and Operations staff for Friendship that
gradually could take over management from the Edison Schools
       Defining “High Expectations—Academic Standards and Curriculum.”                   The starting
point for Cordell and his Friendship Academic team was the inadequacy of the D.C. academic
standards in 2005, which were ―WAY below the rigor of AP and Early College courses we were
implementing at Collegiate.‖ At the same time, D.C. was required under the new No Child Left
Behind law to move away from the Stanford-9 test (which did national ranking of students) to a
criterion-based test based on well-defined academic standards. The combination put a lot of
pressure on Friendship (as it did on the D.C. government) to change many ways of doing things all
at once.
           Over a two year period (from 2005-7), as Cordell puts it, ―We traveled the country, talked
to tons of consultants…to really put together an academic model that would get achievement results
but be true to Donald [Hense]‘s mission and vision.‖ They hired a national consultant Sheila Byrd
to guide the process. In one of the early meetings in May 2006, they came up with more than a
dozen characteristics they wanted in a Friendship graduate, including: ―Graduates can adapt to new
environments; They have good communication skills, self-esteem, strong intra-and-interpersonal
skills and a sense of personal and civic responsibility….; They have problem-solving skills such as
the ability to analyze and use data.‖
       Academic Standards. With Byrd‘s coaching, the team developed Friendship standards,
finishing the high school standards first and then the standards for the younger grades. They used
many sources: national standards, D.C. standards (after Superintendent Janney beefed up D.C.
standards in 2005-06 by adopting Massachusetts standards), reports by Jobs for the Future,
American Diploma Project, and International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement standards.
       Byrd and colleague Sue Pimentel have since gone on to become leaders of the national
movement to adopt ―common core standards‖ for English and Language Arts (ELA) and
Mathematics in many states (including as of 2010 the District of Columbia) , so that all children in
these states are held accountable for mastering standards that will prepare them to go to college or
enter the workforce.
       A statement from the Common Core standards web site explains the power of the core
mathematics standards: ―The standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual
understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need
to succeed at higher levels rather than the current practices by which many students learn enough to
get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review again the following year.‖
                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 14
PHOTO FROM TOY VIDEO. Prem-Raj Ruffin, Collegiate Academy since 2001, AP
Calculus, TOY finalist 2008. ―When considering my educational philosophy, I am reminded of
the difference between an eagle and a buzzard; eagles fly high and buzzards fly low. My job is to
create high flying eagles, helping to distill a sense of determination in students… Calculus and
physics-based learning are essential for college.

        A Curriculum for Mastery of the Standards. The next challenge for Cordell was how to
create a curriculum and associated assessments for every subject and grade level that would result in
Friendship students mastering the new Friendship academic standards He decided to start with a
pilot project and hired as a consultant Michael Watson (who had built the academic design for
Capital City PCS High School as its principal and had brought about high first year gains in
minority achievement at DCPS Wilson High School).
       During four months beginning in January 2007, Watson worked with a team of teachers at
Woodridge to plan and implement a curriculum ―scope and sequence‖ of units and lessons that
could incorporate the new Friendship and DC standards. In addition, this team began to use
―interim assessments‖ in the spring of 2007 which were aligned to the DC standards and Friendship
Standards to measure and gauge performance on a standardized assessment. Many teachers
involved in this pilot continue to serve leadership roles in strengthening Friendship curriculum,
assessments and professional development, including 2009 Teacher of the Year and Coach
LaTanya Manning, Coaches Tatyana Jarowski, and Melissa Oliver, as well as Chairman Award
Winner Javaris Powell, and other teacher leaders Jennifer Dahl and Dawn Person. .
       Based on the success of the pilot and discussions of lessons learned, Cordell asked Michael
Watson to work with Friendship full time to lead a major revision of the Friendship design which
needed to be accomplished in the incredibly short time of two months (July-August 2007).
Believing they would learn more by getting started than by waiting and planning, Cordell and
Watson quickly gathered teachers to participate in the first Curriculum Academy, where the goal
was to use the newly created Friendship Standards and build a scope and sequence through
―forward curriculum mapping‖ to determine the scope and sequence of what should be taught and
when. They had little to start with because curriculum work under Edison management ―had no
daily lesson plans that were not from a Teacher‘s Edition of a text book, no unit plans and very few

                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 15
curriculum maps.‖ They did the detailed curriculum through most of the fall and trained trainers to
lead teachers during professional development days to finish the year‘s worth of lessons.
       For this intense work, Cordell and Watson determined that the Understanding By Design
(UBD) framework, which required teachers to ―backwards plan‖ the Friendship curriculum starting
with the standards was what was needed to move the schools to the next level. As Cordell said, ―If
we are starting from scratch, start with the best. It met our goal of rich curriculum experience
where kids had to be driven to think critically.‖
       Despite the very limited time frame, Friendship leaders made a sound judgment about good
instructional practice in choosing to use UBD. The curriculum planning team had to teach
themselves to identify the ―enduring understandings‖ that are embedded in one or more standards
and the ―essential questions‖ that students address as they make progress towards these enduring
understandings. Essential questions such as ―Why do people move?‖ ―What does it mean to be a
pioneer?‖ in a unit on the settlement of the West are questions that people keep thinking about all
their lives. This takes curriculum a long way from mere ―coverage‖ of a subject. As UBD gurus
Wiggins and McTighe say: ―our students need a curriculum that treats them like potential
performers rather than sideline observers‖ in their own learning. It takes teaching away from a
whole series of questions that probe for the ―right‖ answer and ―reduces most student questions to
these familiar few: Is this going to be on the test? Is this what you want?‖ Since Friendship
adopted this approach, other urban school systems such as D.C. and Baltimore have started building
their curricula around the concepts of Understanding by Design.
PHOTO FROM TOY VIDEO. Meyassa Baker, Chamberlain since 2007, English Language
Arts, TOY Finalist 2010. ―I spend each day viewing my teaching with a critical eye and asking,
‗How can I do this better next time?‘ The process I will continue toward remaining a successful
teacher is just as important as the process I went through to become a successful teacher.‖
       Teacher-Driven Planning. The most important change Cordell‘s team made was to move
from a practice of ―experts‖ designing a curriculum to be implemented by teachers to a model in
which a ―Professional Learning Community‖ of Friendship teachers design their own curriculum.
The more ―teacher-proof‖ Edison approach had used monthly ‖benchmark‖ testing software to
analyze why kids made the mistakes they did and to suggest how to reteach the material.
―However,‖ Watson says, ―the benchmark exams from Edison were not aligned to what was
happening in classrooms, and were tested in a way that you had difficulty identifying the learner-
centered problem. But during the Woodridge pilot, we found that teachers were quickly identifying

                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 16
problems and developing remedies and actions for improved learning since the benchmark
assessments we created were linked to the standards that were being mastered in the classroom.‖
       Use of Data to Improve Instruction. In the fall of 2007, Cordell pushed Watson and his
team of Subject Area Supervisors to quickly build a better assessment system on a large scale that
was linked to the scope and sequence that was created by Friendship master teachers during the
summer. Friendship invested in SCANTRON software that fall to support teachers in developing
test questions aligned to standards. The software maintained data from quizzes and grade books, so
that teams of teachers could then track student mastery of particular standards. After a lot of trial
and error and refinement under the leadership of Friendship Director of Data Shayla Cornick,
teachers were able to create interim assessments using SCANTRON items that were fair, reliable,
and valid and were linked to standards being taught in classrooms in real time. For the first time,
these assessments were given to all students in grades 2-10 in ELA and Math, and grades ___ to ___
in Science [Check with Cherice Greene] as a tool to improve student learning.
       The same fall Watson created the first edition of the Friendship Data Primer to build a
culture of data examination and allow for data to ―drive‖ learning outcomes. This primer continues
to evolve and improve every year through the work of Dan Byerly and is used during the interim
cycle. Friendship initially developed a six-week cycle during the first two years of implementation
07-09 and then extended it into a nine-week data cycle in the 2009-10 school year in which teachers
meet several times a week in small groups by grade in elementary school or by subject in secondary
school to address and answer such questions as: ―Why am I teaching this knowledge and these skills
this week? How can I adapt my lessons to the learning styles and prior knowledge of the individual
students in my class? How can I enrich this lesson?‖ An interim test in the eighth week of each
cycle was followed by a day of teacher analysis of what standards still had to be mastered, and a
―bridge week‖ (which was requested by principals during the first year of the rollout to provide for
reteaching standards not yet mastered.)
       Hiring for Commitment and Perseverance. In 2007-8, when Friendship first moved
completely to new standards and curriculum developed by Friendship teachers, using a Professional
Learning Community framework, DC CAS standardized test scores dipped below what had been
expected in most Friendship schools, and sharply in the case of the Collegiate Academy. Cordell
and Watson were aware of the warning of change management expert Michael Fullan, ―the early
stages of an innovation are likely to involve participants in considerable difficulty and frustration‖
and an implementation dip is to be expected when large scale change happens to organizations.
Fullan argues that organizations must ―honor the initial dip‖ and recognize that after change is
                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 17
introduced the costs become immediate and palpable. ―Don‘t expect many compliments.‖ he
contends, ―but press on in order to achieve the vision.‖
        Cordell realized that in order for this Friendship Design to become ―the way we do things
around here,‖ he had to focus on not only the skills of new teacher hires, but also on their ―will‖, the
success factors that make an individual a good ―fit‖ for Friendship--a strong belief in students‘
ability to succeed, a relentless persistence to ensure their success, and a voracious appetite for
learning.   As a result, Friendship changed the interview process and put in new screening methods
to test for Will as well as Skill in their new hires.
        To support all teachers in designing and delivering lessons to match the learning styles of all
their students, Friendship went well beyond Edison in tailoring professional development to what
teachers needed when they needed it through the leadership of Alicia Adams, a former teacher who
began her career as a teacher at the Collegiate Academy. Since then, Adams‘ had been given
increasingly responsible leadership positions and was named in 2006[??] as Friendship Director of
Professional Development
        During the early years, the focus was on developing a support system for the large influx of
new teachers entering the system through the MONARCH New Teacher Induction program.
Friendship recruited and hired teachers from Teach for America, local and national universities,
through referrals from current staff, and through other alternative certification routes. Adams and
her team designed an intense induction program for new teachers, set forth a clear set of
expectations, and developed a cycle of feedback to ensure that teachers make progress towards
goals. Adams says that ―We committed ourselves to promoting a healthy culture that is attractive to
talented individuals, supportive of their continual improvement, and, quite simply, a gratifying
place to work. We have seen many of our new teachers quickly blossom into highly effective
teachers after the first two years of teaching.‖
        Cordell, Adams and the academic team began to think of talent management is a system, not
an intervention, a mission-critical venture to prepare Friendship‘s current leaders and teachers for
today‘s work while identifying the talent that needed to tackle future Friendship challenges (i.e.
expansion and turnaround). They developed a Professors‘ Roundtable (for master teachers) and
IMPACT programs (for aspiring leaders) and have begun Friendship Fellows program (for
developing teachers with at least 2 years of experience). Through these programs, Cordell and
Adams aimed to give a new generation of education professionals what they desire most—
professional development to move from good to great teachers, opportunities to advance in and
beyond the classroom, leadership responsibility, and influence on the success of the entire school.
                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 18
       School leadership was revamped to shift the focus away from leaders as managers to
instructional leaders. Principals‘ job descriptions were focused on heading an Instructional
Leadership team with 2-4 Instructional Coaches and 1-2 Assistant Principals. This team was
expected to review and comment on all lesson plans and make daily visits to every classroom. If a
teacher needed particular help in a particular technique, it would be provided right away. If a
teacher was particularly successful in a type of lesson plan, the teacher would be invited to share
with her colleagues.   For school year 2009-10, Friendship is introducing a Handbook with 41
Classroom Expectations and lists of Friendship teachers who do it well. A video of Friendship
teachers in action will accompany the Handbook.
PHOTO FROM TOY VIDEO LaTanya Manning, Woodridge since 2004, Fifth Grade.
Winner of the 2009 Friendship PCS Teacher of the Year Award. ―When students are regularly
immersed in a topic, and are required to become a part of the story, they learn at a deeper level than
with an ‗I teach, you learn‖ method or model….I enjoy an ‗open‘ classroom style, where students
move about and make choices from a menu of work options. This style of learning may be a bit
noisier and may appear to be ‗less structured‘ than learning in a traditional classroom. However,
students who appear to need the most ‗structure‘ in their day are often the ones who find the most
happiness and peace inside my walls.‖
        Student-Centered. Deeply important to Donald Hense, in pursuing his mission of lifting
children out of poverty through education, was that the Friendship Schools be student centered, not
teacher centered.   Student tracking of the data on their own mastery of standards which had been
the practice of individual teachers and departments (such as the Collegiate math department), now
became the standard practice in all Friendship schools. Friendship Board member Greg Prince
(former President of Hampshire College and a writer on American education) remembers with
delight a Board meeting in 2008 when fourth graders talked to the Board about their mastery of
standards. One boy said: ―I‘ve done really well in reading, but I‘m not very good at articulating in
public and that‘s why I‘m presenting to you today.‖ What was clear was the extent to which the
students themselves and not just the teachers had ―internalized‖ the standards. What has been
central to the entire Friendship effort is the effort to make students partners in their education and
not simply objects. When students understand the standards and internalize them it becomes far
easier for them to learn and practice the underlying critical thinking toward which the standards are
ultimately directed.

                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 19
Academy since 2007, Second and Third Grades. Winner of the 2008 Friendship PCS Teacher
of the Year Award. ―Educating children is like searching for a hidden treasure…..They are not
always wrapped in a nice package, but they are full of hidden talents and endless potential…

        Teachers working weekly with their colleagues were expected to tailor their curricula to the
unique learning styles and capabilities of their students while continuing to aim at the common
standards. The master schedules at Collegiate were changed to allow teachers in the same
curriculum department to meet together 2-3 times a week. Teachers helped each other to allow
students more choice in their classrooms, developing different ―learning centers‖ they could choose
to go to. The most experienced teachers have begun asking students to choose the way in which
they will demonstrate mastery of a particular standard.
       Intervention. For students who were in trouble because of academic difficulty, behavior,
or emotional overload, Friendship strengthened the Edison tools for intervention. All campuses
received mental health counselors. All had Student and Staff Support Teams (SSST) which
provided many kinds of special assistance to students and their families. Teachers and instructional
coaches and even principals pull out small groups of children for special attention. Special
education teachers for every 2-4 classrooms team up with regular teachers to develop lessons that
will accommodate struggling students of all kinds.
SIDEBAR From the Hense vision:
      Children, especially those with limited family support for their education, must learn how to
       take responsibility for their own mastery of what they must learn.
      We must have multiple supports to assist children with the issues that come from living in
       poor and often violent neighborhoods—mental health and guidance counselors, intervention
       teams, and classrooms organized to support individual children.
       Early Childhood. At the heart of Friendship House had been the Child Development
Center whose teachers radiated affection for children. Friendship Public Charter School opened its
first classes for three year olds at Woodridge in fall 2004 and little by little worked to make sure
they could help close the gap in vocabulary and life experience between low income and more
affluent children when they enter kindergarten. In 2007 [?] Friendship partnered with George
Washington University‘s Early Childhood Education Department [??] to provide intensive training

                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 20
and in-class coaching to all Friendship pre-school teachers. Friendship reading readiness data
shows a marked difference in preparation between Friendship children and other children entering
PHOTO FROM TOY VIDEO Ethan Powe, Southeast Academy since 2006, Kindergarten,
2010 Teacher of the Year Finalist. During the last three years, my little abededarians have shown
me that letters are not just symbols employed in reading and writing; they can also be snakes, or
winding roads. The number zero becomes a donut or a hula-hoop….An effective teacher is a
master of adaptability, possessing gymnast-like flexibility to meet every child‘s needs.‖
By definition, the Friendship model is a work in progress. The key to it is that teachers work
together every year to come up with new and adapted units and lesson plans to fit the students they
have, and then adapt their lesson plans to their daily experience in teaching these students.

                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 21
Chapter 3: Some Examples of the Payoff: Southeast Academy, Collegiate Academy and
Partnership Schools in Baltimore and D.C.
         It is not enough to have the pieces of good school design to run a good urban school for low
income students; all the pieces must operate together with focus and urgency so that each reinforces
the whole. This can be illustrated by the experience of two of Friendship‘s campuses, Southeast
Academy and Collegiate Academy.
         Southeast Academy—The First Turnaround School.
         As early as 2005, Friendship had a school of its own to run independently of Edison. In July
2005, the D.C. Public Charter School Board revoked the charter of the Southeast Academy for
Academic Excellence and in August 2005 gave permission for Friendship Public Charter School to
operate a fifth campus on the same site as Friendship Southeast Academy. A principal and teachers
had to be hired in a month and the school got off to a rocky start, with test scores for two years that
hovered in the lowest 20 percent of D.C. elementary schools, very little better than the performance
under the previous charter manager.
         Just as Michael Cordell and his team were defining the final pieces of the new Friendship
academic standards, curriculum, use of data to improve teaching, and targeted professional
development, Friendship hired a new Southeast Academy principal, Michelle Pierre-Farid, who had
transformed Tyler Elementary School from one of the lowest ranking in 2004-5 to the most
improved DCPS school in 2006-7.         Working with Assistant Principal Joseph Speight (who took
over as Principal for 2009-10) she began a transformation of Southeast Academy, using her strong
leadership skills and all of the new Friendship tools.
         To get control of a school where ―children were running loose in the hallways‖ (according to
Speight) they began by engaging the teachers and the students in rebuilding the school culture,
forming committees of teachers to work on discipline and instruction and engaging students in the
process so they would own it and their school as well. It took the whole school year for the teachers
to take ownership of the success of their students and to show their students how to take ownership
of their learning. The first year test scores improved a little, but the big payoff came in spring 2009
                                                                     when test scores soared. The percent of
      Friendship Southeast Academ y--Percent Proficient
                                                                     students proficient in reading more than
                                                                     doubled from 2006 to 2009 and the
40.00%                                                               percent of students proficient in math
                                                          Math       quadrupled.
            2006     2007       2008       2009                     History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 22
Following the Friendship Design, Pierre-Farid and Speight established a strong instructional
leadership team which reviewed lesson plans, visited all classrooms daily, and organized
professional development daily targeted on skills that teachers particularly needed, through small
group work or individual coaching.
       They were among the first Friendship school leaders to fully implement student ownership
of their own academic progress and of their own behavior. Older students graph their own mastery
of academic standards in each subject and carry cards with them indicating merits for demonstrating
one of the core values of the school, or demerits.    Teachers of younger students display each
student‘s progress in mastering standards, and lead discussions of what this means. Children cheer
each other on as they progress to higher levels.     The non-teaching Southeast staff joins in the drive
to get better and better. Each day, students chosen as Students of the Day in each classroom come
to the front office to get some kind of treat (such as a new pencil). One or more times a year,
teachers and non-teachers go on a ―learning walk‖ to visit classes and observe how learning is
taking place.   To visit Southeast Academy is to sense that the school is humming like a bee-hive of
data-driven learning. In March 2010, Southeast received a New Leaders for New Schools EPIC
award, one of 22 charter schools in nine cities which made the most dramatic gains.

PHOTO FROM TOY VIDEO Kemi Husbands, Southeast Academy since Fall 2004, Second
Grade. ―It all begins with the Morning Meeting, which is the nucleus of our day. This is when I
help cultivate my students socially as well as academically…..I challenge my students to
compliment and support one another which lends to cooperative learning within our class…

Collegiate Academy—The Gateway to the Mainstream.
       Over the years since 2005 when Donald Hense and his team began experimenting with new
ways to teach and motivate high school students at Collegiate, the Collegiate leadership has
integrated these into a overall mastery of the new Friendship academic standards, curriculum, use of
data to improve teaching and targeted professional development for teachers. In December 2009,
the Public Charter School Board Program Review team of educators commended Collegiate ―for the
great strides it continues to make in improving teaching and learning for all.‖      The Review team
gave their top grade of ―Exemplary‖ to more than half of the elements that make a good school,
including instruction for students with special needs, support for new and struggling teachers, and
assessments of student learning closely tied to academic standards.

                                                             History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 23
                                                                                                                      Good student learning was reflected in the most
                             Collegiate Academy--% Proficient & Advanced 2003-2009

80.00%                                                                                                                recent performance of Collegiate tenth graders

                                                                                                                      (the only grade tested) on the DC CAS. After a

                                                                                                                      setback in 2007-8 (when the new Friendship

30.00%                                                                                                                curriculum was first introduced in Collegiate

10.00%                                                                                                                and an unusually large proportion of students







                                                                                                                      new to Friendship school culture were
Math        11%              14.00%           39.26%           40.34%        28.53%            67.70%

                                                                                                                      admitted) student proficiency on the DC CAS
bounced back in 2008-9 to 42 percent in reading and soared to 68 percent in math.
                   The payoff, however, has been the boost that Collegiate graduates have gotten toward
college and their future careers.                                             Although the number of students taking Advanced Placement
                                                                                                                          (AP) exams in May 2010 dropped from
                          AP Exams Taken by Collegiate Students in May                                                    previous years (due to budget cuts in the
                   700                                                                                                    number of AP courses) the number passing
                                                                                                                          the AP exams with a grade of 3, 4, or 5
                                                                                                        AP Exams Taken
                                                                                                                          increased, from 21 in 2009 to 30 in 2010.
                                                                                                                          Among those passing, four students got
                            2005        2006           2007       2008     2009         2010
  AP Exams Taken              63         99            282         580      545         350                               ―perfect‖ scores of 5 on the U.S.
Government and Politics AP exam.
                   Student performance was equally impressive in the Early College program; in 2009-10,
students took ___ courses for college credit and over _____ Early College exams, receiving grades
of ―A‖ or ―B‖ on two-thirds [CK] of them. On June 7, 2010, the TV program Sixty Minutes, for a
feature on the Gates Foundation, came to film a dialogue between Melinda Gates and students and
teachers at Collegiate Academy. The Gates Foundation had identified the Collegiate Academy as
one of the most promising models for secondary education in the nation.
                   The Most Important Payoff: Access to College.                                                              What counts heavily in all the work on
standards and learning in k-12 schools is how it affects the prospects of those that graduate.
Beginning in spring 2007, 100 percent of Collegiate graduates were accepted into college.
Graduation rates have averaged 95 percent of seniors from 2008 through 2010.

                                                                                                                           History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 24
                     Collegiate Graduation & College Acceptance

                  200                                                             Graduates
                                                                                  Accepted in College
                          02--   03--   04--   05--   06--   07--   08--   09--
    Seniors               96     167    154    246    278    295    246    255
    Graduates             80     159    146    225    237    283    240    236
    Accepted in College   70     102    116    172    237    283    240    236

       Even better, Collegiate students have qualified for large amounts of financial aid and
competitive scholarships, totaling $6.5 million in spring 2010. A total of 14 students in the classes
of 2006 through 2010 have been granted merit-based prestigious Posse Foundation scholarships, the
highest number of any high school in the D.C. area. As part of these four year full funding grants,
each student is accepted in January of his or her graduation year into a ―posse‖ of students of
diverse backgrounds from public and private high schools in the D.C. area who will go as a group to
one of six Posse partner competitive colleges—Bucknell and Lafayette in Pennsylvania, Grinnell in
Iowa, the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Sewanee: The University of the South, and
Pepperdine University in California.
       Until it‘s time to leave for college, these students will meet regularly and learn to support
each other in the new environment of college, on their own for the first time and often part of a
mostly white, non-urban student body. As Treyvon Jackson, a 2010 Posse graduate of Lafayette
College said, ―My Posse (DC Posse Uno as we called ourselves)…is my family and I love them all.
If I ever needed anything within my four years here, I always knew I could depend on them to back
me up.‖
       Through the D.C. Achiever program, scholarships of up to $10,000 per year (for up to five
years) are awarded to juniors from low-income homes. Each Collegiate applicant must complete a
detailed application including essays and financial information and compete with other D.C.
students in a group problem-solving challenge. As 2009 graduate William Gary says about the ease
with which Collegiate students have been successful in this competition, ―We worked in groups in
every class, it was natural for us.‖ The number of successful Collegiate juniors has steadily
increased from 62 in the class of 2008 to 110 in the class of 2011. Over this period, 298 of
Collegiate‘s students have received D.C. Achiever Scholarships totaling nearly $15 million and
accounting for 37 percent of all Achievers Scholarships in the District of Columbia.

                                                                    History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 25
           It is this universal access to college and, increasingly, to selective colleges that will boost
career prospects, that Donald Hense has envisioned for Friendship students since the beginning.
Friendship‘s demanding academic standards--aligned with what colleges expect their incoming
students to know--combined with a school organized to ensure that students master these standards
make this college access possible to hundreds of students whose parents never had such a chance.
           Further Payoff: Partnership Schools in Baltimore and D.C.
           In 2008, in a further test of the quality of its new model, Friendship began to apply what its
leaders knew to troubled schools in Baltimore and D.C.. Donald Hense, with the Friendship
Board‘s full concurrence, felt that taking on schools outside the Friendship system would provide
valuable validation and refinement opportunities for the overall approach. It would help highlight
what was unique as well as what was universal in the concepts being pursued and that learning
experience would benefit Baltimore and Friendship alike.
           Baltimore. In spring 2008, just as Friendship‘s own model was nearing completion,
Andres Alonso, the CEO of Baltimore Public Schools accepted a Friendship proposal to run two
grade 6-12 schools in Baltimore. Friendship leaders heard alarming reports about Canton Middle
School which was to become the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology (FAST). On the
Great Schools website, one parent had written‖ Canton is a very poorly run, dangerous
school….The art teacher got hospitalized, books were thrown out windows, and food fights were
commonplace.‖          Friendship leaders assumed control of this school and another called Friendship
Academy of Engineering and Technology (FAET) in the fall of 2008, applying the overall
                                                                            Friendship principles of creating a
                                                                            culture of success that were
           % of Students in Transformation Schools Proficient
             on Maryland State Assessments--Spring 2009                     elaborated in the Friendship
  90                                                                        design.
  60                                                                                  By the end of school year
  50                                                              Reading
                                                                  Math      2008-9, FAST and FAET 6th
                                                                            grade reading and math scores




                                                                            were above the Baltimore city








                                                                            average and by far the highest of

                                                                            the six transformation schools. In
school year 2009-2010, the schools acquired such a strong reputation that there were 800 students
on the waiting list who had not bee selected in the lottery held in the month of _____ for school
year 2010-2011. [CK with Chris Maher]
                                                                   History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 26
       In April 2010, the Baltimore school system announced that friendship would operate a third
school to serve grades k-5, to be located on the site of Calverton Elementary School (and tentatively
to be called Friendship Prep Academy at Calverton. CEO Alonso plans to open as many as 24
―transformation schools‖ by 2012-13 on top of over twenty charter schools.
       The Academies at Anacostia in D.C. Also in the spring of 2008, Friendship was notified
that it had been accepted as the team to ―restructure‖ Anacostia High School beginning fall 2009,
leaving a year to plan. At the beginning of the planning year, Friendship Chief Operating Officer
Pat Brantley walked through the Anacostia High building and observed ―a school that was empty of
activity. None of the teachers I saw were teaching. Some had their heads down on their desks. The
only evidence of learning was a group of half a dozen students discussing some kind of document
with no teacher around.‖    At the time Anacostia had a 59% graduation rate and ―abysmal daily
attendance.‖ Only 48 percent of students moved on to the next grade. Only 22% of returning
students had a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
       The Friendship team divided the 900 enrolled students into four academies. Two small
ninth grade academies—Sojourner Truth Academy and Charles DrewAcademy--of just under 100
students each were designed to teach a demanding project-based curriculum of high expectations
from the beginning. A third small academy, Matthew Henson Academy of about 125 students
focused on over-age students who had repeatedly been held back and lacked credits to graduate.
       Finally, Frederick Douglas Academy, at just under 600 students, applied the Friendship
model of instruction based on high expectations, the use of data to improve teaching, and
professional development targeted to teachers‘ needs, to 10th, 11th and 12th graders, placing a lot of
emphasis on getting seniors to graduate and gain acceptance to college.
       The Friendship leaders were remarkably successful in achieving some simple improvements
in life at Anacostia. Constant fights among students gave way to engaged classrooms. The
percent of teachers taking daily attendance doubled to 97 percent. The number of 9th graders on
track to graduate doubled and there was a significant decrease in student GPAs lower than 2.0.
       Most importantly, the prospects for Anacostia seniors improved dramatically. Graduation
rates increased from 59 to 79 percent. Ninety percent of the 158 graduates were accepted in
college after a total of 1600 applications to four year colleges and community colleges. Sixteen of
the graduates were awarded D.C. Achiever scholarships paying up to $50,000 over five years.
Most impressively, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the restructured school a big boost when she
chose to give the commencement speech for the Anacostia High graduation on June 11, 2010 at
D.A.R. Constitution Hall.
                                                            History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 27
       Success in turning around troubled schools is a robust test of the Friendship model, which is
designed to get stronger and stronger as teachers get smarter and smarter about how to foster
mastery of fully competitive demanding academic standards among their students.

                                                          History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 28
Afterword: What Can be Learned
       You will see in the full history that this path to running good schools is not smooth or even
predictable. You will see that it first takes a passionately held goal—to move young people out of
poverty through good education. Then it takes making sensible decisions about the first steps in
starting good schools, and putting in the incredible hard work to implement them well, overcoming
many obstacles, taking schools from fair to good.
       The next step is difficult, honestly facing the ways in which the initial approach is not fully
succeeding, finding resources to experiment with better approaches, and changing the experiments
whenever they also don‘t fully succeed. Finally, it is possible to take all that has been learned from
experimentation, combine it with what is known about good schools around the country, and set up
the conditions for taking the schools from good to great.
       Above all, the enterprise must become a community of people who value each other‘s
intelligence, honesty, and hard work to, step by step, make these schools more and more successful
in the work they do—giving children the understanding and tools they need to lead good lives.
       Ultimately, the Friendship story provides an important lesson for all reform efforts
nationally. The task of education is extremely complex. Running a good school is not simply a
matter of finding and implementing a single approach or solution – a ―silver bullet‖ strategy. Every
element is important – students, teachers, staff, facilities, materials, professional development
technology and a safe and healthy physical environment. No element is sufficient; all are necessary.
       Running a successful school is the result of intense, persistent hard work that requires the
intentional integration of many areas of excellence into a whole that is greater than the sum of the
parts. Energy must be directed to supporting, nurturing and challenging every child as a distinctly
creative potential learner and constructive contributor to the school and the larger community.
Education is 90% expectation, 100% hard work and 110% honestly self-criticism and assessment
that leads to continuous adjustment and improvement. It is about teachers and schools modeling for
their students the values and skills they are seeking to instill in their students. No wonder it is the
most demanding and challenging of all the professions. But when it is done well, no profession
offers greater satisfaction and rewards.

                                                             History Insights draft, 5/21/2011, page 29

To top