The teachers worked in teams, particularly in the primary grades. In some cases, schools started preparing children for testing from the time they started kindergarten, but not at the expense of other activities, teachers said.
Higher performing schools had strong extracurricular programs and effectively communicated their expectations about homework and behaviour to parents.
Schools with lower socio-economic data relied heavily on the strong leadership of their principal to provide discipline and communicate expectations.
Except for that last one :), I think we can discuss how those characteristics can be applied to Halecrest. I also like some of the practices of Burnhamthorpe Public School, one of his exemplar programs.
Every month the entire school focuses on one concept that improves literacy. One month the whole school worked on how to phrase a question.
The parent council at Burnhamthorpe puts out a newsletter with articles on how to nurture children's intelligence and improve literacy.
There's an emphasis on the arts that has made for an award-winning choir, visiting opera performers, choral and jazz music. Extracurricular activities range from chess club and math club to line dancing and soccer.
Every Burnhamthorpe student has a T-shirt with the school motto: "Good, better, best. Never let it rest until my good is better and my better is my best."
Definitely some ideas worth thinking about.