What does a great school look like?
There are four characteristics shared by great schools around the country:
- Great principals and great teachers
- Autonomy to make decisions at the school level
- Accountability for high-performing results
- A supportive community advocating for student success
We will work with district, public-charter and parochial schools, as they are all critical to student success. Each serves a significant number of Cincinnati students; all are included in our investment strategy to ensure that every Cincinnati student has access to a great school. One platform won’t be prioritized over another. Only great results matter, because only great results will benefit our kids.
Great principals and great teachers
Great schools rely on great principals and teachers. Cincinnati does have a cadre of principals and teachers across the city that are putting in incredible efforts and seeing great results. We need more great educators to lead more great schools.
This will require an exceptional talent pipeline. We intend to fully unlock the talent of great teachers and leaders, empowering them to truly adjust and serve all students well.
Autonomy to make decisions at the school level
When great school educators have autonomy to make decisions at the school level, each school is able to tailor its approach so their distinct student population will succeed. We will give teachers and principals more training, more power, more autonomy, more support. We want to remove roadblocks to their success and the success of their students.
Every school in which Accelerate Great Schools invests must have specific operational autonomies. In exchange for autonomy at the school level, the schools will be held accountable for high-performing results for all its students.
Accountability for high-performing results
Autonomy will always be paired with accountability. We believe that a school that is not serving its students well is doing a disservice and should not continue to have that opportunity. Only great results matter, because only great results will benefit our kids. If it works, we’ll support it. If it doesn’t, we won’t.
The autonomy and accountability details will be formalized through a performance-accountability agreement between the school operator/leader and the district, archdiocese or authorizer. This agreement will describe the school-level autonomies and associated high-performing academic proficiency measures so that autonomy will always be paired with accountability.
A supportive community advocating for student success
Great schools require a supportive community advocating for student success. From parents to policy, supportive communities provide an academic environment where every student can succeed.
We believe parents, teachers and principals should be engaged and in control. When decisions are being made at the school and neighborhood level, a parent can take an active role in defining what serves their children best. Educators at a great school are empowered to respond because they can tailor their approach so their distinct student population will succeed.
A supportive community empowers people to advocate for policy that shapes the education environment. Students across the nation are faced with large bureaucracies where decisions are made centrally, limiting student success. We will support advocacy at the local, regional and state level to provide an environment focused on creating more student success, including policy that will bring decision-making to where it should be: the schools.