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A troubled school improves — without relying on suspensions

Four years ago, Stanton Elementary School in Anacostia was the lowest-performing elementary school in the District and in danger of being closed. But partly thanks to an innovative alternative to suspensions, Stanton is now on the rise.

According to those who knew its “before” phase, Stanton now is almost unrecognizable. Before, says Ashley Johnson, who has overseen a nonprofit tutoring program at the school for years, “It didn’t resemble a school in any way.” According to Johnson and others, administrators weren’t administering, teachers weren’t teaching, and kids were running wild in the halls.

Since then, Stanton’s standardized test scores have more than tripled in math and doubled in reading. In terms of student growth on tests, it ranks 15th in the District. Home visits by teachers have led to an active and engaged parent body. Clear and consistent behavioral expectations have created an orderly environment where learning can take place. And for those few students who haven’t responded to the usual behavioral incentives, there’s a system that temporarily removes disruptive students from regular classrooms and also helps them learn.

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler’s post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education. She is a member of the boards of D.C. Scholars Public Charter School and the nonprofit One World Education. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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