A Professional Learning Community That Achieves Results

Guest post by Jack Baldermann

At Westmont High School (WHS)—a Title 1 school just outside Chicago, IL—our team has sustained tremendous growth and significant gains in student achievement. WHS continues to rank in the top 1 percent in Illinois and in the nation for its graduation rate. Over the past five years, 98.5 percent of our students have graduated on time, up from a 10-year average of 90 percent. For five years straight, 100 percent of Latino and African-American students at WHS have completed all graduation requirements on time. In addition, WHS can also claim one of the most improved and top performing AP programs in Illinois and in the nation.

What has caused our substantial growth and gains in student achievement? (more…)

Recruiting Allies: How Angry Parents Present Opportunities to Develop Beneficial Partnerships

Guest post by Jayne Ellspermann

Every administrator has encountered an angry parent who calls the school or comes in demanding a conference. These difficult moments can be a struggle for many of us, and we question what is the best way to deal with these people and situations. In my experience as principal, I have learned that angry or upset parents are an opportunity to develop a partnership benefiting all stakeholders.

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