Segment 01 – 02: Accelerated Schools Transform Education with Henry M. Levin

All children can learn, even those who have been identified as at-risk students. The accelerated school does not remediate, but accelerates all students to high levels of achievement. By embracing the accelerated schools philosophy and utilizing its systematic process, hundreds of schools from every socioeconomic area, both urban and rural, are seeing remarkable growth in all students.

Rich Rusak, a principal in Aurora, Colorado, says, “You can be a good school and be doing a variety of things, but you’ll never be a great school without having focus. Accelerated schools provide a structure for focus.”

“We are an accelerated school and we want to go faster for these children. They have enough disadvantages; we’re trying to put some advantages in their lives,” says 5th grade teacher Anthony Rego.

Second grade teacher Amy Gallagher says, “I think our biggest strength is that our faculty and staff and administrators really come together to deal with problems or deal with curriculum or different things like that. It’s working as a whole.”

Accelerated schools transform education so all students can reach their fullest potential. Students are often in at-risk situations in conventional schools. One of the primary motives that provided the geneses to the accelerated schools model is the belief that there are no at-risk students, but only children placed in at-risk situations. Henry M. Levin is Director of the National Center for the Accelerated Schools Project at Stanford University.

Dr. Henry M. Levin says, “We began to realize that some very fundamental problems were there. The first thing is that these children were put into special programs, remedial programs, or repair programs which slowed them down, and if we want to bring all children to the mainstream, which we thought should be our goal, and a healthy mainstream in terms of academic results and participation, then it seemed logical to think in a different direction. That’s when we came up with the idea of accelerating the growth of these kids, not slowing them down.”

Bob Jasna is the deputy superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He said, “Why not try to accelerate students? If we tried to remediate, they would always stay where they were and they would always be behind. So as soon as I heard about the project out of Stanford, I became very interested in it.”

The effectiveness of this approach has drawn many schools into the accelerated process, an increasing number of which typically would not have been considered to have at-risk populations.

Learn firsthand from educators dealing with these issues when you watch the full video segment on PD 360.