Student regrouping key part of teacher-led school

DETROIT — A teacher-led school in Detroit is testing some of the most talked about reforms in public education: academic grouping, extended days, data analysis and professional development, according to an article in Education Week magazine.

Teachers are gradually assuming administrative duties at Palmer Park Preparatory Academy, part of Detroit Public Schools, in a new arrangement between the Detroit Federation of Teachers, central administration and textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Education Week reported.

In addition to an extended day, the school regroups seventh- and eighth-graders regularly into English and math classes based on their mastery of material, according to Education Week. Teachers meet daily to discuss student progress and review data from quarterly tests, the report said. Administratively, four teachers are being trained in school governance, such as how to run budget meetings, the report said.

“It’s so much easier to move the kids and challenge them and address them when they need more attention,” lead teacher Ann K. Crowley told Education Week about the regrouping process. “It’s like an (individualized education plan) for each child.”

One difficulty was in finding teachers who wanted to participate in the flexible scheduling, Education Week reported. The district is monitoring academic progress and other indicators, such as attendance, at the school, but it’s too early to gauge results, administrators told Education Week.

Education Week, “Teacher-Led School Innovates with Student Regrouping,” Jan. 18, 2011 (Subscription required)

Michigan Education Digest, “Teachers to run DPS elementary School,” July 13, 2010