KnowledgeWorks’ Leadership Institute Tackles Issue of Turning Around Persistently Failing Schools

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Each year, KnowledgeWorks brings together more than 300 education leaders in Ohio to hear national and state presenters share best practices, tools and strategies that can help leaders improve academic achievement among Ohio’s neediest students. The event was borne out of KnowledgeWorks’ successful Ohio High School Transformation Initiative, which has improved academic achievement and dramatically increased graduation rates at high schools in some of Ohio’s most at-risk communities.

Is it possible to turnaround persistently failing schools?

KnowledgeWorks will begin its Eighth Annual Leadership Institute at 7 p.m. Thursday in Cleveland with a live, webcast panel discussion addressing ways to turnaround persistently failing schools.

Prior to the panel, noted education and civil rights scholar Richard D. Kahlenberg will deliver a keynote address titled, “Turnaround Schools: Moving Beyond Separate but Equal.”

Each year, KnowledgeWorks brings together more than 300 education leaders in Ohio to hear national and state presenters share best practices, tools and strategies that can help leaders improve academic achievement among Ohio’s neediest students. The event was borne out of KnowledgeWorks’ successful Ohio High School Transformation Initiative, which has improved academic achievement and dramatically increased graduation rates at high schools in some of Ohio’s most at-risk communities.

“KnowledgeWorks is honored to host this event again against the backdrop of a federal call for communities to address the problem of persistently failing schools,” said Harold Brown, president of EdWorks, a KnowledgeWorks subsidiary. “Now is the perfect time for us to bring together leading thinkers and practitioners around the very difficult work of turning around high schools.”

The focus of this year’s event, which runs through Saturday at the Cleveland Marriott downtown, is somewhat of a departure from past themes that have focused on structure, instructional practice and related areas. “2010 Leadership Institute: From a World of Schooling to a World of Learning,” is designed to encourage attendees to become more learner-centered as education moves outside the world of traditional schooling into a world of learning.

Brown will be the facilitator of Thursday’s webcast, which will feature four national education experts addressing the question: “Is it possible to turnaround persistently failing schools?”

The panel includes a range of perspectives, from those whose evidence indicates it is possible to create the climate for change to those believing change is not possible in today’s persistently failing high schools. To view the webcast, click on this link, or go to http://at.pscdn.net/008/00106/LI2010.

Panelists include, Sharon Johnson, principal, Withrow University High School in Cincinnati; Kahlenberg, senior fellow, The Century Foundation; Mark Simon, co-director, Mooney Institute for Teacher and Union Leadership; and Andrew Smarick, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Johnson’s is a dynamic voice in education leadership in the United States. She has been invited to speak at the National Governor’s Conference in Washington, appeared on the Lou Dobbs Show, formerly on CNN, and played host to former U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings during a forum at Withrow High School.

KnowledgeWorks strives to be the leader in developing and implementing innovative and effective approaches to high school education in the United States. Our work primarily focuses on redesigning urban high schools, developing STEM and Early College high schools, and supporting student-centered approaches to delivering real learning and results in our schools.

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