Garn Press Chapters – a new series from Garn Press. Featured in this post, Chapter 2 of A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century: Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child, by Russ Walsh, which is available in paperback on Amazon as an early release. Barnes & Noble and more retailers coming soon.
“When a parent walks their kindergartener through a schoolhouse door for the first time, their heart goes with them. They want to feel secure that they are entrusting their child to a learning environment in which they will thrive. As they listen to sensational reports about ‘failing schools’, it is no wonder that many parents feel doubt. That is why Russ Walsh’s Parent’s Guide is a must read for any parent who is trying to make the best educational decision for their children. It is a clear, thoughtful response that will give parents wisdom, confidence and ease. Walsh is not only a professional, life-long educator, he is a beautiful writer whose style is thoughtful, clear and easy to read. A Parent’s Guide is the best guide for anyone who cares about public schools.” – Carol Corbett Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education.
“Russ Walsh’s new book is a distillation of years of experience and wisdom from an actual expert in the field. This is essential reading for any parent, teacher, school board member, administrator or anyone who cares about the U.S. education system.” – Steven Singer, Pennsylvania educator and public school advocate.
“The Qualities of a Good School”
What are the key characteristics of a good school?
All parents want to send their children to a “good” school. But what is it that makes a school a good school? Are good schools those that achieve high standardized test scores as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and education reformers would have us believe? Or is a good school more than that? Is it possible that a school with mediocre or even low test scores is still a good school?
You can find many books and articles on what makes a good school. I have listed a number of them at the end of this chapter. All these ideas can be boiled down to a few basic concepts. Good schools are those that provide for:
- A clean, safe, well-organized and caring learning environment.
- Strong, highly professional, highly-collaborative administration and teaching staff.
- A broad educational program available to all students.
- A belief system that says all children can learn if taught well, coupled with high expectations for learning.
- An ongoing and varied assessment system that informs teachers and leads to good instruction.
- A high level of community involvement and support.
A new organization, Schools of Opportunity, does the best job I have seen in putting these basic precepts into context and defining what makes a good school, not based on test scores, but on the opportunities for learning that the school provides for children. Schools for Opportunity grew from the concern of the organizers that typical awards for schools tended to favor schools that enroll students who have the richest learning opportunities outside of school. In other words recognition as an exemplary school went to schools in affluent areas. The organizers, including award winning principal, Carol Burris and Director of the National Education Policy Center, Kevin Welner, sought a better way to assess quality and reward excellence, and thus the Schools of Opportunity recognition program was born.
Of most interest for us in defining quality schools are the criteria that Schools of Opportunity uses to determine what schools provide the best chance for students to learn and achieve. Basing their list of qualities on research and years of experience in teaching and leadership, Schools of Opportunity looked for schools to develop programs which:
- Create and maintain a healthy school culture – This is, of course, similar to what is stated above, but Schools of Opportunity also focuses on effective practices to deal with bullying, harassment and discrimination that interfere with learning. The role of parents and the community in helping to foster a healthy school culture is also part of the criteria.
- Broaden and enrich school curriculum – Does the school provide a broad educational program that includes not only the core subjects of language arts, math, science and social studies, but also the visual and performing arts and physical education?
- Provide more and better learning time during and after the school year – A critical aspect of a school of opportunity is providing learning activities before and after school and during the summer. This is particularly important for disadvantaged students who may not have such learning opportunities outside of the school.
- End disparities in learning opportunities reinforced by tracking – Tracking is a system of channeling students into certain courses based on a perception of academic ability. Schools that track students deny learning opportunities to many. Part of fostering a school built on high-expectations for learning is providing all students with opportunities to take Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other college preparatory courses.
- Use a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs – Testing is best used as a way to inform teachers about how well students are learning and about instructional and curricular revisions that may be necessary. Schools of opportunity use authentic assessments at the center of the program and de-emphasize the use of standardized tests in evaluating students.
- Reassess student discipline policies – In order to reap the benefits of schooling, students need to be in school. School discipline practices that focus on exclusion from class through in or out of school suspension often disproportionately impact students of color. Schools of opportunity are constantly reassessing their discipline policies to be sure they are not denying children learning opportunities.
Support teachers as professionals – A good school has a strong mentoring program for new teachers that links the neophyte to an experienced master teacher. A good school is one where teachers are given the time and the support needed to collaborate with each other on curriculum, instruction and assessment. A good school provides ample on-going professional development for teachers to hone their skills.
Provide adequate resources to support a well-maintained school environment – Dirty, dilapidated, ill-repaired school buildings are a national disgrace and work against student learning. Parents and community members need to insist on school buildings that can be pointed to with pride.
Address key health issues – Good health is a pre-requisite for good learning. A school of opportunity provides for this through a professionally staffed health office and screening programs for hearing, vision, nutrition and dental care.
Build on the strengths of language minority students – Schools of opportunity view their language minority students as assets and approach the learning of English in a way that respects the child’s first language and encourages bilingualism. Good schools embrace the diversity that different language cultures bring to the school.
Expand access to libraries and the internet – Good schools have well-maintained, well- stocked, professionally managed libraries. Good schools also provide access to technology to all students and ensure that the technology is used appropriately as a tool for learners and teachers and not a replacement for instruction.
In assessing the quality of the school where they will send their children, parents should consider the quality of the opportunities that the school provides for all students.
What do standardized tests tell me about school quality?
Standardized tests are best at showing overall trends and possible areas of concern. They can, therefore be useful as part of a broad look at school quality. The important thing to remember is that standardized tests scores are only one small part of the overall picture. UCLA professor, W. James Popham says flatly that standardized tests should not be used to measure the quality of schools because the tests are designed to detect differences in learning in individual students. Since students in different schools come from different levels of advantage and disadvantage, standardized test scores cannot be used to evaluate school quality.
Whenever standardized test scores are used in comparisons of school quality, two questions must be asked:
- Do these schools serve the same number of disadvantaged, special needs and second language learners?
- Were those test scores achieved through a quality program that offers broad opportunities to all children or through a single minded focus on raising the test scores?
Look at test scores skeptically and weigh what the test scores tell you about the other things you see at the school that are indicators of quality. Most importantly, is your child engaged, happy and learning based on multiple measures including teacher reports and your own observations? You can read more on standardized testing in Chapter 9.
What constitutes a rich school program of learning?
Good schools offer children lots of opportunities for learning in a broad array of subjects. Emphasis in elementary schools should be on developing literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening) skills and mathematical (computation and conceptual) skills. Large blocks of time, two hours daily for reading and writing and one hour daily for mathematics are ideal. Elementary schools should also offer a firm grounding in social studies (history, government, sociology, psychology) and the sciences (life, earth, chemical, physical). Strong programs in the visual and performing arts including music appreciation, musical performance, art appreciation and drawing and painting should also be offered. Regularly scheduled physical education and health classes, as well as time for recess, should also be a part of a comprehensive elementary curriculum. Elementary schools should also provide after school opportunities in the form of clubs (chess, computers, library, chorus, intramural sports) that allow students to explore interests beyond the regular academic program.
Instruction in elementary schools should take place, for the most part, in a self-contained classroom. One of the major goals of the elementary program is that teachers get to know their students very well and that these young students have a “safe haven” of a classroom environment that is familiar and comfortable. Currently many schools are adopting a “platooning” model for elementary students where students change classes based on the subjects being taught, perhaps having one teacher for language arts and another for math and science. The argument is that teachers will be able to “specialize” in the content they teach. The research is inconclusive on the academic benefit of such models, but the social and emotional costs to young children should be clear. Elementary teachers are whole-child oriented rather than specific content oriented. In other words, they teach children, not subjects. The current obsession with test scores is driving the efforts to compartmentalize elementary education. The social and emotional costs to children of this departmental structure could be great. As the University of New Hampshire’s Joe Onosko, Paula Salvio and Clio Stearns put it:
Sadly, when school success is reduced to achievement gains on standardized tests in two subject areas, and teacher time with each child is reduced to less than an hour each day, the potential for a child to develop an emotional attachment to a caring adult, one who is deeply knowledgeable about and dedicated to their full development, is lost.
Middle school (grades 6-8 and sometimes 5-8) is an appropriate time to introduce departmentalization. The combination of student maturity and increased content demands make specialization desirable at this age. Students again should be taking courses in all the core subjects with, ideally, at least 90 minutes for the language arts and 45 minutes for other subjects. Art, music and physical education should again be a part of any middle school program.
Middle schools should also expand students’ opportunities for choice as they begin to look forward to more specialized study. These programs should include a choice of world languages, as well as specializations in art, theater, and music, including chorus, band and orchestra, computing, and others. After school programs should expand to include a wide variety of clubs, including literary, computer based and mathematics clubs, and both intra- and inter-mural sports.
At the high school level, the increasing maturity of the students and the preparation for life after high school make a rich and varied program with a great deal of student choice ideal. Besides the core courses discussed above, high schools should offer all students opportunities for advanced study in Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate courses. Entry into these courses should not be restricted, but open to all who are interested and willing to do the work required.
High schools should also offer programs for students who wish to pursue careers in a variety of trades from plumbing to computer programming. Wide choice and an opportunity for exploration are the keys to a good program. Again a wide variety of after school clubs, activities and sports are required to help students explore their many interests. Many high school students have found their career paths through high school service learning programs, where students do internships working with young children, children with disabilities, nursing home patients, etc. Programs like these help students explore career options, while also developing a sense of social responsibility.
What should be the targeted class sizes for a school?
Class size matters. Class size matters because it is an issue that impacts the lives of the children in the classroom, the work load of the teacher, and the school budget. Teachers and their representatives argue for smaller class sizes, while school boards try to balance parent and teacher desires for small classes, with the demands of keeping the budget under control. Apparently, private schools think class size matters. They advertise small class size in an effort to attract students to their schools.
Intuitively, most parents and teachers think class size matters, but from a research standpoint the impact of class size has been harder to pin down. At the heart of the argument is the question, “Do the academic gains achieved through smaller class sizes justify the cost of hiring more teachers to accommodate those lower class sizes?” Some education reformers have even suggested that children would be better off if schools would identify their best teachers and then pay those teachers a premium to accept more students in their classes.
A research study done in Tennessee is considered the gold standard of class size studies because of its rigorous experimental design. This so-called STAR study found that students in small classes learned more than students in larger classes and were more likely to complete school and attend college, but those small classes were so small that the STAR study simply rekindled the cost/benefit debate.
More recently, Northwestern University professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach published a study through the National Education Policy Center that summarized what we know about class size. Considering all the research as a whole she concluded that: 
- Class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and one that can be directly determined by policy.
- The evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run, but also their long-run human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.
- The payoff from class-size reduction is greater for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.
- Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds. While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall.
So class size does matter, it matters especially for low-income and minority children, and it is likely to be worth the taxpayers’ money to attempt to keep class sizes down.
Research does not help us much with what the ideal class sizes should be. The STAR study targeted class sizes of 13-17 children, which may be out of the financial reach of many districts. As a school district administrator several years ago, I was tasked with developing target ranges for class sizes for a suburban school district. After reading the available research and consulting with the budget office, I came up with the following recommendations. As parents, I would recommend that you look at these recommendations as broad guidelines and not set in stone. A variation of a student or two from these numbers does not mean that students are necessarily being disadvantaged, but large deviations may be of concern.
Recommended Class Sizes by Grade Range
Courses designed for students with special needs or for students who need focused instruction on certain skills should be smaller, normally about 8-12 students. Also, these class size recommendations were developed for a relatively affluent community; smaller class sizes would likely be necessary to successfully serve students in low-income neighborhoods.
What is the role of the principal in a quality school?
Research cited by Leadership Matters indicates that the school principal is second only to classroom instruction in impacting the quality of student learning. According to the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL):
Effective school leaders know how to focus the work of the school on the essential. They have a clear mission or purpose for the school and identify goals that align with that mission. They communicate the purpose and goals in a meaningful way such that all stakeholders understand what they need to do.
Leadership Matters goes on to say that school leaders impact student learning in the following ways: 
- By shaping a vision of academic success for all students.
- By fostering a climate of collaboration that is conducive to learning.
- By cultivating leadership in others so that teachers and other adults in the school help to shape the school’s vision.
- By working with teachers to improve instruction for all students.
- By managing people, data and processes to foster school improvement.
- To this list I would add crucially:
- By communicating clearly with the entire school community about the school’s vision and educational program.
Obviously, a school principal has a complex job demanding great skill and with many demands on time. Parents should expect an instructional leader who has a deep understanding of quality instruction, a good relationship with the teachers, is well-known to the students, and communicates clearly, informatively and frequently with parents.
What learning supports should be available for my child?
A good school provides students with the learning supports they need to be successful. Not all students learn at the same pace and under the same learning conditions. Some students need more time to learn certain skills, while others may need alternate forms of instruction or more intensive instruction to learn. Schools need to have a professional staff ready and able to identify student learning difficulties and to provide the needed interventions.
At a minimum a school should have access to a school psychologist, a learning disabilities specialist and a school social worker. Smaller schools may share these professionals with other schools and in some cases these services may be provided by a county or state agency. These three people typically work as a team, sometimes called a Child Study Team, to consult with teachers and parents about all aspects of an individual child’s intellectual, behavioral, social and emotional experience in school. The school psychologist may counsel individual students and their families and provide testing to determine student learning potential and needs. The learning disabilities consultant works with teachers and parents to recommend specific instructional interventions that a student might need. The school social worker works with the family and the student to resolve social and emotional issues in school.
The work of the Child Study Team is supported by a team of teachers, often with the special training needed to work with students with learning differences. Good schools employ speech therapists, reading specialists, English as a second language teachers, occupational therapists, and teachers trained and certificated in special education to meet the needs of these students. Students might receive services in the regular classroom, where the specialist comes into the room and works with the teacher to provide needed learning interventions, or in small group “pull-out” sessions where the student can get the needed instruction outside the regular classroom.
Determining if your child needs any of these services can be fraught with emotion for both you as the parent and for your child. Good schools follow a protocol for assistance that seeks to provide the interventions needed in collaboration with parents and with the least amount of disruption to the child as possible. Most schools use some variation of a protocol called Response to Intervention (RTI). RTI has three tiers of support for a child. The purpose of RTI is to make sure all students get the support they need to learn with the least disruption to the regular school routine as possible. The process begins with a teacher or sometimes a parent who recognizes a learning difficulty and asks the child study team for assistance. In Tier 1, interventions take place in the regular classroom. The child study team, reading specialist or others might suggest ways that a teacher might modify or differentiate instruction to help the struggling learner. Tier 1 progress is monitored and after a period of time, perhaps 4-8 weeks, results of the Tier 1 intervention are reviewed.
If the Tier 1 intervention is proving successful, then these interventions are continued. If these interventions do not appear to be successful and improved learning is not evident, the student may be moved to a Tier 2 intervention. In a Tier 2 intervention, students are provided instruction in small groups two or three times a week, again either within the regular class or as a “pull-out.” This instruction may be provided by a specialist, such as a reading specialist, English as a second language teacher, or a basic skills teacher. Again progress is monitored for a period of weeks and these interventions are either continued, determined to have been successful and discontinued, or moved on to Tier 3.
Tier 3 involves more intensive small group instruction, usually outside of the regular classroom and generally five days a week. If after a period of weeks, Tier 3 interventions are not found successful, the student will generally be referred for testing to see if special education services are required. This testing is often done by the school psychologist or the reading specialist. Results of the testing will be used to determine if a child needs specific special education services. These services generally require a teacher specially trained in working with children with learning disabilities. Even when a child is identified for special education services, much of the instruction the child receives will happen in the regular classroom, often by a team consisting of a regular education teacher and a special education teacher.
The purpose of all of these services is to provide struggling learners the help they need when they need it and in “the least restrictive environment (LRE).” LRE is a legal requirement from the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Act that requires that children with disabilities be educated with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible.
As you investigate your local public school, or others schools you may be considering for your child, you may want to ask questions about the kinds of interventions they provide for struggling learners and what protocol they follow when deciding if children need these services.
What non-instructional staff should be available in my child’s school?
A school is a small community. As such a school needs to provide a variety of services that a small community needs. Many of these needs are filled by non-instructional staff, people who work alongside the teachers and administrators to make sure that kids’ needs are being met. When schools are in distressed communities, they may need more of these non-instructional staff to meet the needs of kids growing up in a neighborhood that does not provide traditional health and welfare supports. A good school has, at the very least, the following non-instructional staff: nurses, guidance counselors, librarians, custodians, teacher assistants, and bus drivers.
Healthy students learn better than unhealthy ones. School nurses provide vital vision and hearing screenings as well as assessments of students’ general health, medication for students with allergies and other health concerns, first aid and emergency medical services. They are often on the frontline of noting family issues that may be impacting a student’s health or ability to focus in class. The number of nurses a school needs varies with the level of wellness of the general school population. According to the National Association of School Nurses, schools with student populations with high health needs need one nurse for every 125 children, while schools with relatively well populations need one nurse for every 750 students.
Guidance counselors provide vital services to children in all schools. Here is just a partial list of the many services guidance counselors perform:
- Individual student academic program planning.
- Interpreting cognitive, aptitude and achievement tests.
- Providing counseling to students who are tardy or absent.
- Providing counseling to students who have disciplinary problems.
- Providing counseling to students as to appropriate school dress.
- Providing college and career counseling.
- Collaborating with teachers to present school counseling core curriculum lessons.
- Analyzing grade-point averages in relationship to achievement.
- Interpreting student records.
- Providing teachers with suggestions for effective classroom management.
- Ensuring student records are maintained as per state and federal regulations.
- Helping the school principal identify and resolve student issues, needs and problems.
- Providing individual and small-group counseling services to students.
- Advocating for students at individual education plan meetings, student study teams and school attendance review boards.
- Providing liaison services between students and college admissions offices.
The American School Counselor Association recommends a school counselor to student ratio of 1:250 and that school counselors spend 80 percent or more of their time in direct and indirect services to students.
A school librarian is central to any successful school program. One of the most disheartening aspects of the recent belt tightening in school budgets is that many schools have eliminated librarians. I am tempted to say that the current trend to eliminating librarians in schools is a sure sign of the decline of western civilization. Perhaps that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but the truth is that a professionally certified school librarian is vital to the learning health of a school. One way to determine your school’s commitment to all children learning is to check out the library and make sure that it is adequately staffed and the shelves are well stocked. We all know that librarians order books, assist children in finding books related to their interests, check out books and make sure books get returned. Here are some services school librarians provide that you may not be so aware of. Among many other things, school librarians: 
- Teach students how to locate, select, create and share information.
- Help students link online sources of information with print sources.
- Help students develop responsibility through returning materials and using online media appropriately.
- Assist teachers by identifying resources to supplement classroom instruction, developing subject specific bibliographies and ordering resources to support curriculum.
- Provide access to library resources beyond the school day.
- Manage a vast array of resources for students and teachers.
- Bring stories to children through book talks and read-alouds.
- Know about media and literature for children and young adults.
- Meet diverse student needs and interests.
- Challenge children to think critically about what they read or see.
Teacher assistants provide support for teachers in a variety of ways including assisting in managing the classroom and reinforcing classroom routines, reinforcing lessons provided by the teacher through review for those who need it, supervising students in class, hallways and lunch rooms, and assisting the teacher in preparing materials for instruction. Some teacher assistants are assigned as aides to an individual student who may need particular learning assistance. Obviously, these para-professionals play a large and important role in the school and are in constant contact with students. A good school will, therefore, have a rigorous hiring and training process to be sure that teacher assistants are skilled at working with and understanding children.
Dwindling school budgets and school district financial distress have led many schools to move toward privatizing school bus drivers and school custodians. It is often cheaper to hire an outside firm to manage the hiring and supervision for these school employees, because the private bus and custodial companies offer lower pay with fewer benefits and remove the cost of supervision from the district.
There are two reasons why I believe this is a short sighted cost cutting measure that does not serve the community, the parents, or the children well. The first reason is that people who fill positions as bus drivers and custodians generally live in the school district, pay taxes in the school district, and have both loyalty and a personal connection to the district. Private companies will be looking for the cheapest possible labor sources without regard to residence, so the employees do not have the same level of commitment to the schools, not to mention the tax revenues that are not coming to the district from these outside employees. The second reason is that when a school district is hiring and supervising bus drivers they have a better grasp on the quality of the individuals they are employing. Bus drivers and custodians interact with our children every day, and it is critical that they be good at interacting with children in ways that add to a child’s school experience.
What is the role of the parent/teacher groups in a good school?
As we have seen above, good schools have effective community and parent involvement. One form that this involvement takes is through a parent organization, either a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). A school PTA is affiliated with the national PTA organization, follows the by-laws of the national organization, and pays dues to be a part of this group. A PTO is a local organization that is not affiliated with any national organization. The differences in how these groups function within any given school are minimal, but as part of a national organization PTAs do have a voice in national lobbying efforts on the part of parents of school aged children.
Whether PTA or PTO, parent organizations have an important role to play in the school. Active and well-organized parent organizations provide many services for the school. Perhaps the most visible of these services is fundraising. Parent organizations raise funds to provide the school with items that may be beyond the reach of the school budget. In the past, parent PTA/PTOs have provided for playground equipment, books for classroom libraries, technology infrastructure and general school supply needs. In the best case, PTA/PTOs work with the administration and teachers in a school to identify needs and set fundraising goals.
But parent organizations provide many other services to a school beyond financial support. Among these other services are the following.
- Encouraging parents to be involved in the life of the school.
- Assisting in fostering a healthy school culture.
- Scheduling special programs, forums and discussions for parents on topics of mutual interest and concern.
- Facilitating communication between parents and the school on key issues.
- Giving parents a voice in the operation of the school.
A vibrant, engaged parent organization is a vital part of a good school. All parents should make the effort to be a part of their school’s parent organization.
What resources will help me learn more about quality schools?
For a description of the school recognition program Schools of Opportunity go to their website:
An older, but still useful description of quality schools written for parents by The Center for Research and Evaluation. Standard and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA can be found here:
CRESST. (1994). A Guide to Parents and Communities Seeking Excellence in Education. https://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/parents/cresst_GoodSchool.pdf
To get a sense of what high school students believe makes a quality school see this article:
Armstrong, S. (2002). What Makes a Good School: Students Speak Up at Leadership Forum. Edutopia. http://www.edutopia.org/what-makes-good-school-students-speak-leadership-forum
For a comprehensive report on charter school quality look here. The conclusions in the last few pages of this lengthy report from the Center for Research in Education Outcomes (CREDO) are particularly interesting:
Center for Research in Educational Outcomes. (2103). National Charter School Study. http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Final%20Draft.pdf
For a better understanding of the role of the principal in a quality school see this report:
National Association of Elementary School Principals. (2013). What the Research Says about the Importance of Principal Leadership. http://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/LeadershipMatters.pdf
To learn more about parent teacher organizations look here:
http://www.pto.org/ and http://www.pta.org/
To learn more about Response to Intervention as a learning support program in the schools, see:
15. The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards & Student Testing. (1994). A Guide to Parents and Communities Seeking Excellence in Education. UCLA Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from https://www. cse.ucla.edu/products/parents/cresst_GoodSchool.pdf
16. Schools of Opportunity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://opportunitygap.org/ selection-criteria.html
17. Popham, W. J. (n.d.). Uses and Misuses of Standardized Achievement Tests. Retrieved from http://www.ioxassessment.com/download/UsesandMisusesofStandardized.pdf
18. Gewertz, C. (February 18, 2014). “Platooning” on the Rise in Early Grades. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014 /02/19/21department.h33.html
19. Strauss, V. (March 14, 2014). How ‘platooning’ and data walls are changing elementary school. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www. washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/14/how-platooning-and-data-walls-are-changing-elementary-school/
20. Coggins, C. and Hassel, B. (October 26, 2012). Expanding the Impact of Excellent Teachers. Education Next. Retrieved from http://educationnext. org/expanding-the-impact-of-excellent-teachers/
21. Center for Public Education (n.d.). Class size and student achievement: Research Review. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation. org/Main-Menu/Organizing-a-school/Class-size-and-student-achievement-At-a-glance/Class-size-and-student-achievement-Research-review. html#sthash.EEnIMv1M.dpuf
22. Schanzenbach, D.W. (2014). Does Class Size Matter? Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/does-class-size-matter
23. National Association of Elementary School Principals. (2013). What the Research Says About the Importance of Principal Leadership. Leadership Matters. Retrieved from http://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/LeadershipMatters.pdf
24. McIver, M.C., Kearns, J., Lyons, C., & Sussman, M. (2009). Leadership: A McREL report prepared for Stupski Foundation’s Learning System. Denver, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544625.pdf
25. National Association of Elementary Principals, op. cit.
26. RTI Action Network. (n.d.). What is RTI? Retrieved from http://www. rtinetwork.org/learn/what/whatisrti
27. National Association of School Nurses. (n.d.). Healthy Children Learn Better! School Nurses Make a Difference. Nursing World. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/DocumentVault/GOVA/Ruler-FAQ.pdf
28. American School Counselor Association. (n.d.). The Role of the Professional School Counselor. Retrieved from http://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/ media/asca/home/rolestatement.pdf
29. MacMeekin, M. (April 12, 2013). 27 Things your Teacher/Librarian Does. An Ethical Island blog. Retrieved from https://anethicalisland.wordpress. com/2013/04/12/27-things-your-teacher-librarian-does/\
A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century: Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child
Available (early release): Amazon
Print ISBN: 978-1-942146-33-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-942146-34-6