America’s best urban schools are typical urban schools that achieve atypical results – proving that, despite the challenges, excellence and equity are possible in urban education. Where these very successful schools differ in size, school enrollment characteristics, grade-level configurations, expenditures, and other factors, they share impressive similarities in the structures and practices they employ to support all groups of students toward high levels of achievement.
America’s best urban schools foster school cultures in which all stakeholders feel safe, valued, cared for, and respected. They provide all students access to rigorous, standards-based curricula, and they plan and deliver initial instruction that is more likely to lead their students to mastery. They configure programs and services in ways that meet students’ needs. And, they build and implement a coherent system of interdependent structures designed to support continuous improvement.
The educators in America’s best urban schools are not superheroes. They are teams of teachers and leaders who believe in their collective capacity to make a powerful difference in the lives of students.