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Publication December 13, 2019Diane James, SREBVolume 1, Issue 6

Increase Graduation Rates Among African American Males
Promising Practices from the 2019 Making Schools Work Conference

Picture of newsletterMcKinley Vocational High School in Buffalo, New York, beats the odds when it comes to graduating African American males. Nationwide, research shows the graduation rate for black males is 59 percent — the lowest of any population in the country.

But at McKinley, the four-year graduation rate for African American males reached 87 percent in 2017 — more than 20 percentage points higher than the New York State average of 63 percent. The school’s five-year graduation rate for black males is 90 percent. A lot of credit goes to principal Marck Abraham, who took over the reins as principal in the 2016-17 school year after serving as assistant principal there.

Publication January 20186 pages16V02 (R)

College or Career?
Why not both?

High schools are challenged like never before to prepare students better for a wide array of postsecondary options. This brochure introduces the eight STEM-based AC programs ready for your school or system to adopt.


Publication November 15, 2019Diane James, SREBVolume 1, Issue 5

Taking the Bias Out of Teacher Evaluations
Promising Practices From the 2019 Making Schools Work Conference

 An evaluation system that fosters a growth mindset and truly improves teaching and learning is something teachers and administrators can get excited about. Such a system is not tied to the stress of determining teachers’ pay raises but instead results in feedback that is linked to effective teaching and students’ mastery of standards.


Promising Practices Newsletters

SREB’s Promising Practices Newsletter contains real school and classroom practices from school leaders, teachers and other featured speakers who presented at our annual Making Schools Work Conference and the College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference.

Each newsletter contains helpful information from schools that are successfully implementing SREB’s Key Practices for the middle grades, high schools and technology centers as well as the names and email addresses of practitioners you can contact to learn more.

To receive email notifications when new newsletters are published, please subscribe here:

Publication November 20192 pages19V20w

Powerful Project-Based Learning Practices

Teachers who adopt SREB’s Powerful Project-Based Learning Practices connect classroom lessons to real-life practices that students can use in the workplace.

SREB’s approach to PBL empowers teachers to design PBL units around a driving question that challenges students to solve a complex problem, think critically and master course content, concepts and skills over an extended time period. Students engage in a cycle of inquiry and productive struggle that includes questioning, research and further questioning.


2020 Student and Teacher Surveys
For middle grades schools, high schools and career centers

SREB’s new and improved online surveys offer a unique opportunity to collect authentic, anonymous data from students and teachers about their school and classroom experiences. Participating sites receive user-friendly, actionable feedback and valuable insights they can use create a roadmap for school improvement.


The Curriculum and Instruction Review Process

SREB’s curriculum and instruction reviews compile, analyze and report data that schools and districts can use to improve instructional practices, create cultures of continuous improvement and help more students graduate ready for college and careers.

CIRs answer two critical questions:

  1. What promising practices and problems of practice exist in the school?
  2. What actions can the district and school take to eliminate problems of practice and meet bold goals for student achievement?

As part of the process, SREB works with schools to collect accountability and demographic data and administer student and teacher surveys and a career and technical education self-study.

During a three-day CIR site visit, SREB staff and a trained team of educators, school leaders and community partners from neighboring schools or districts create a snapshot of the school’s practices by conducting interviews, focus group discussions, classroom observations and a review of lesson plans, assessments, syllabi and meeting artifacts.

At the end of the visit, the CIR team presents a preliminary report that includes key findings and recommendations. This report is shared with school and district leaders. CIR reports are organized around five focus areas:

  • Engaging instruction
  • Aligned curricula
  • High-quality career pathways 
  • Student supports
  • Leadership for continuous improvement

Most schools undertake a deep review of the CIR report during site development workshops that engage school focus teams in identifying and solving problems of practice. Schools also receive customized professional development and school improvement coaching to support their efforts.

General information

Advisory Council Members

The Making Schools Work Advisory Council is composed of state directors of CTE and school improvement from states belonging to SREB’s school improvement networks.

2019-2020 Council Members

Karen Anderson, School Improvement Director, Alabama State Department of Education

Deborah Coffman, Assistant Commissioner of Public School Accountability, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, Arkansas Department of Education

Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Assistant State Superintendent of College and Career Readiness, Maryland State Department of Education

Wendy Clemons, Executive Director, Secondary Education and Professional Development, Mississippi Department of Education

Latoya Dixon, Director, Office of School Transformation, South Carolina Department of Education

Kelly Foster, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts, Kentucky Department of Education

Twila Green, High Schools That Work / Technology Centers That Work State Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

Yvonne Holloman, Associate Director, Office of School Quality, Virginia Department of Education

Stan Hopkins, High Schools That Work Coordinator, West Virginia

David Horseman, Associate Commissioner, Office of Career and Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Education

Stephanie Johnson, Deputy Superintendent, School Improvement, Georgia Department of Education

Dave Leavitt, SREB School Improvement Consultant, New York

Betheny Lyke, Principal Consultant, District and School Improvement Center, American Institutes for Research

Angel Malone, CATE Director, Office of Career & Technical Education, South Carolina Department of Education

Brook Meiller, Executive Director, School Support & Improvement, Oklahoma State Department of Education

Edmund Mitzel, Executive Director, Maryland State Department of Education

Shell Nichols, Assistant Director, Office of Career Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education

Molly Ream, Program Specialist, Georgia Department of Education

Sonja Robertson, Executive Director, School Improvement, Mississippi Department of Education

Judith Sams, Specialist, Business and Information Technology & Related Clusters, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education

Hether Little-Shirey, Principal, Moore High School, Oklahoma

Felicia Everson-Tuggle, Assistant Commissioner of School Improvement, Tennessee Department of Education

Kristy Unger, Assistant Director, Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center, Missouri

Margaret Williamson, Assistant Director, West Virginia Department of Education