The district’s executive team identified three elementary schools and a middle school where students of color performed ahead of the pack. All four schools drive educational behaviors in line with the belief that every child can take on challenging subject matter and master high-level skills. The importance of high expectations – coupled with concerns that too few high school students of color were taking AP tests and the preparatory PSAT test for college entrance – led to new MCPS initiatives. The district instituted training to help teachers work with kids from other cultures; added formalized, school-based and cross-cultural discussion circles for teachers, parents and students; engaged in better analysis of racial and ethnic issues flagged by assessment data; and set up forums and protocols to help school teams better determine if the behaviors and beliefs of adults in the schools are creating institutional barriers for students of color.
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