The Generation Schools Network Model

March 10, 2014

A report released by the Generation Schools Network shows how schools with tight budgets can achieve dramatic improvements not by increasing spending, but by redeploying their resources.  The report analyzes the pros and cons of the Generation Schools model of extended learning time as it is applied at Brooklyn Generation High School.

Brooklyn Generation is a public high school located in the high poverty neighborhood of Canarsie, Brooklyn. Four out of five students at Brooklyn Generation qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 98% are Latino or Black. Most have parents who did not attend college.

Students at Brooklyn Generation are having a dramatically different experience from students attending other New York City public high schools. While Brooklyn Generation's budget remains the same as other public schools in the city, the school has increased instruction time, decreased class size, and achieved impressive student success rates.

Brooklyn Generation students go to school 200 days a year, 8 hours per day. Meanwhile their peers at other schools are in class 180 days a year, 6 hours per day.  Class size at Brooklyn Generation is 18-25 students, not 30-40. Their teachers participate in 20 professional development days per year, as opposed to 4. Their teachers also spend between 1-2 hours per day in common planning time with their colleagues, in contrast to the 45 minutes per week available to teachers at other schools. 

Brooklyn Generation students also spend 280 hours per year focusing specifically on college and career readiness.  This is exponentially higher than the amount received by their peers at other schools, where just 1-2 hours per year is spent on career and college preparation.

Brooklyn Generation's dramatic difference in inputs leads to dramatically different outcomes.  Since its founding in 2007, Brooklyn Generation has doubled the graduation rate among its population. It has quadrupled the number of students passing the NY State Regency exam.  And the percent of its graduating class being accepted to college has climbed to 90 percent.

The new report explains how Brooklyn Generation has achieved this success, and provides an honest evaluation of the advantages, tradeoffs and challenges the school faces.  It is well worth reading as an example of innovative educational practice that is gaining momentum and that should grow into policy.

WATCH
Sanjiv Rao, Ford Foundations Program Officer, describes the Generation Schools approach.


 

Jennifer Wheary is a senior fellow at Demos, a national policy organization, and the co-founder of First to Finish College, a joint project of Demos and SparkAction. She is a first-generation college graduate with a B.S. from Cornell University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

This blog post originally appeared on the Demos PolicyShop blog. It is reprinted here with permission.
 

 

Jennifer Wheary

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