The Three Essentials
Improving Schools Requires District Vision, District and State Support, and Principal Leadership
This report describes the findings of SREB’s study of the role of the district office in creating the working conditions that principals need to improve teacher effectiveness and student performance. The Three Essentials of school improvement described in the report emerged from close observations of the inner workings of seven school districts, as SREB’s Learning-Centered Leadership Program sought to answer this essential question: What are the conditions school districts can create that make it possible for principals to be more effective in leading school improvement?
This report, part of the Challenge to Lead education goals series, examines the impact of an undereducated workforce and calls for making adult learning programs a priority across the SREB region especially during the current recession.
Promoting a Culture of Student Success: How Colleges and Universities Are Improving Degree Completion
Fewer than one-third of degree-seeking, full-time freshmen in the nation’s public four-year institutions graduate in four years. To help raise this rate, SREB examined many strategies that public institutions are using to help more students earn bachelor’s degrees, with particular attention to students in regional colleges and universities who often face academic and/or economic disadvantages. This report summarizes 15 institutions’ successful approaches to improving graduation rates, provides specific strategies that campus leaders can use and profiles each of the 15 institutions.
Many Americans have just lived through what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event. In 2009, for the first time since 1954, per capita income in the United States and the SREB region declined. Nationally, the decline from 2008 to 2009 was 2.6 percent, compared with 2.2 percent regionally. In 1954, the nation’s per capita income fell 0.9 percent and the region’s declined 0.2 percent.
Is the SREB region making progress in whether adults have at least a bachelor’s degree? This is a more difficult question to answer than one might think.
The percentage of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree rose from 2000 to 2008 in the region — and the percentage without declined. This trend looks like progress.
All SREB states have legislation enabling public high school students to take college credits in what are sometimes called “dual enrollment” or “early college” programs. Proponents of such programs say that they may help students prepare for college and reduce time to degree. However, critics of such programs question whether all students who enroll are prepared for them.
Data reported by many SREB states for the first time in the SREB-State Data Exchange 2008-2009 Highlights reveal details about public postsecondary education courses taken by high school students. High school students taking college courses are concentrated largely in technical institutes or colleges that have a career-training focus and in two-year, transfer-oriented colleges.