J.C. Nalle Community School: A Study of a School Turnaround Effort

J.C. Nalle Community School: A Study of a School Turnaround Effort

Dedicated educators, online programs, an extended school day, and community partnerships can help turn around a low-performing school even in the poorest neighborhood, a report from finds. The report, (93 pages, PDF), examined the transformation of the first public "community school" in Washington, D.C., which as of 2011 ranked in the bottom quartile of public and charter schools in the district. With a $275,000 grant from D.C. Public Schools, a $6.8 million building renovation, and continued support from the , J.C. Nalle extended its school day by seventy-five minutes for grades three through five; invested in online "Spatial-Temporal Math" and "First in Math" programs; and bought laptops and tablets for use in the classroom. At the same time, its community partner, the , provided Saturday school for low-performing students and their parents. While the report found that the interventions substantially boosted students' math scores, reading scores remained unchanged. Funded by the Freddie Mac Foundation, the report notes that access to state-of-the-art technology kept students motivated and engaged and helped teachers better target instruction to individual students, even as it underscored the need for more training for teachers and parents.