Secretary Duncan kicked off this summer’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series yesterday at Vashon High School in St. Louis. The program, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity, promotes summer learning and reading, as well as healthy lifestyle choices and nutrition. Duncan joined students in a summer school reading exercise, toured classrooms, and shot hoops with students in the school gym.
Vashon High School is one of eleven schools in the St. Louis Public Schools undergoing a turnaround with the support of the Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Vashon High School will enter its third year of turnaround this fall, and under Principal Derrick Mitchell, the school has made some encouraging progress. Once on the brink of closure, Vashon’s discipline incidents are down, attendance is up, and from 2009-10 to 2010-11, student achievement increased by 15 percentage points in both reading and math.
Other SIG schools in the St. Louis Public School district are also making noteworthy progress on these key indicators of success. The district has implemented an Office of Innovation to oversee turnaround work in its SIG schools and to provide professional development, leadership training, data tools, and other resources where they are needed most.
Click here to read more SIG stories from around the country, and click here to read about last year’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series which included local officials, celebrities and area elementary students. ED’s next Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event will be in early July in Washington.
Alexandra Strott is a student at Middlebury College and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach