Change in Chester, PA
Transforming education in a distressed community requires breaking down the biggest barrier for progress—the widespread, strongly-held belief that nothing will change. Drastic improvements in the school system directly impact economic development, inspiring investments, attracting families, and increasing the pool of local talent.
To effect a total system change, a solution must holistically uncover and dissolve the fundamental background belief that “nothing will change.” The solution must involve administrators, teachers, students, parents, community and faith-based leaders, and businesses. Mindsets must be changed in all areas, not only one or two. This takes leadership, skill, work and resolve. But with this background belief dispelled, new mindsets become the foundation for sustainable change.
Our work with the Chester Upland School District (CUSD) focuses on delivering the following outcomes: (1) Every student and every adult feels cared for, valued, and supported, every hour of every day; (2) Every student graduates from high school ready for college or a career.
To realize these outcomes, we partnered with the CUSD and created a system-wide initiative designed to dispel containing beliefs and institutionalize new mindsets and behaviors. Specifically, we are transforming the mindset from “nothing will change” to “we can and we will.” Our approach focuses the entire population on the frame “what is possible” and builds a thriving school system in that context.
STEM High School doubled the number of students on the honor roll from the previous year
74% of an English teacher's high school students improved two grade equivalencies on the Pearson Reading Inventory in 5 weeks
Early indicators for Keystone math results show below basic scores dropping from 65% to 35%
22 colleges attended the Chester High School college fair
A high school science class placed first out of 18 school districts in the Franklin Institute Science Fair
Proficient scores rose from 4% to 21%