This case study sought to determine how an urban elementary school, identified by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as a School Under De-Registration Review (SURR), improved student academic performance sufficiently to be removed from the SURR list. This school had been identified as a school in need of corrective action. Only 29% of third graders met the State Reference Point (SRP) in reading. The study explored staff-developed teaching strategies and the role of leadership and its impact on the school culture. The data sources included interviews, the Registration Review Visitation report (RRV), the School Educational Plan (SEP), and the NYSED test data.
Once the school was placed on the SURR list, a team was created consisting of NYSED personnel and community leaders. Teachers, parents, other staff members, and the leadership in the school were interviewed. Collected data were written into a report with recommendations. The team cited five areas in need of corrective action: (1) Mission Statement and Goals, (2) Articulated and Congruent Curricular/Instructional Program, (3) Instructional Management System, (4) Comprehensive Staff Development, and (5) Early Intervention Programs.
The School Educational Plan (SEP), written by the school leadership team, responded to the areas needing corrective action. The SEP was examined, compared, and contrasted with the data collected from the interviews. The document became a “roadmap” to the school's success, guiding the staff in providing specific teaching practices and strategies as well as a calendar of events, and defining how the school could meet the goals outlined in the document.
For this study, members of the school leadership team were interviewed on a one-to-one basis or by telephone. They were selected based on their ability to recall events during this SURR process. Analysis of data from all sources revealed emerging patterns in the process described in the SEP and corroborated by the NYSED testing data.
Results indicated that student academic achievement improved. The school was the first school in its district to be removed from the SURR list. Further results indicated that the school exceeded mandated testing results.