Essential Components and Next Steps for Comprehensive Whole-School Reform in High Poverty Middle Schools
by Robert Balfanz, Allen Ruby & Douglas Mac Iver — 2002
The first half of this chapter briefly summarizes the lessons learned to date regarding components that are absolutely essential for transforming high poverty middle schools. As developers of the Talent Development Middle School (TDMS) model,2 we draw upon our own experiences from the past 6 years working with high poverty middle schools in Philadelphia, Memphis, New Jersey, and Michigan. We argue that by focusing on the infrastructure of teaching and learning and by creating a communal organization of schooling, it is possible to make significant achievement and motivational gains in high poverty middle schools. In the second half of this chapter, we discuss several remaining instructional, school culture, and policy obstacles that must be overcome, and we consider the additional components that are still needed to reliably transform the most troubled high poverty middle schools into strong learning institutions.
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