Union City, (Thursday, August 27, 2009) – The Ball Foundation, which has adopted a handful of districts across the country to support the development of high-performing schools, has made New Haven Unified its first Northern California partner. “The Ball Foundation’s goal is to help children learn at high levels, regardless of race, national origin, socioeconomic status, native language or culture, and the Foundation believes that the key to accomplishing that goal is supporting instruction in literacy,”New Haven Superintendent Kari McVeigh said. “We share both that goal and that philosophy, and we’re thrilled to join a very select group of districts where the Foundation has agreed to work.”
During the past two years, New Haven has increased and intensified its focus on literacy, a proven means of improving student performance not only in English/language arts but in mathematics and science, as well. The District’s literacy work also has attracted the support of the East Bay Community Foundation.
The partnership with the Ball Foundation began in June when Bob Hill, Director of Educational Initiatives for the Foundation, and veteran educator Jeff Nelson, who works with the Targeted Leadership consulting group that provides training for Ball districts, met with Superintendent McVeigh and New Haven principals and administrators. The Ball/Targeted Leadership team returned this month to host a day-long workshop for the principals and Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs) made up of teacher-leaders from each school.
“Any time you get teachers together to talk about instruction, there’s a certain amount of excitement, but the level of engagement and interaction at this workshop was above and beyond anything I’ve seen in more than 30 years in public education,” Superintendent McVeigh said.
The Ball/Targeted Leadership team also promotes empowering teachers, by creating a culture of shared leadership and collaboration, and the use of data to target specific goals for student learning. The team will return to host full-day ILT trainings in September and October, followed by on-campus coaching visits. “I have no doubt that we will see tremendous results from this work, not just down the road, but this year,” Superintendent McVeigh said. “The Ball folks have done very impressive work in the other districts where they’ve worked, and I’m confident that the same will be true in New Haven.”
The Ball Foundation, was established in 1975 by G. Carl Ball, of the Ball Seed Company, and his wife, Vivian Elledge Ball. The Foundation’s Education Initiatives are designed to increase literacy achievement for all students using systemic changes to improve professional practice.
The Foundation currently is working with only one other district, Rowland Unified, in Southern California. The Foundation previously worked with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, also in Southern California, as well as Springfield (Ill.) Public School District 186 and Northview Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Foundation has twice previously partnered with Targeted Leadership, in Chula Vista and Springfield (link to RESULTS, SPRINGFIELD). Chula Vista, the largest elementary district in the nation, has dramatically surpassed federal Adequate Yearly Progress targets for five consecutive years. In Springfield, African-American and low-income students have improved at a rate triple that at other schools.
The Targeted Leadership model was developed in Boston, where schools have shown consistent improvement on almost all measures for the past 10 years. In New Bedford, Mass., schools employing the model averaged a 30 percent gain in student proficiency on the state test; and in Edmonton, Canada, high school completion rates improved by 14 percent.