Three-Way Partnership Transforms Arizona District
In 2008, the struggling Creighton Elementary School District in Phoenix was offered a unique opportunity for comprehensive improvement. Now, two years later, student achievement exceeds expectations, and the district itself has transformed the way it operates.
Creighton was approached in May of 2008 by WestEd and the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, a Phoenix-based philanthropy, to participate in a districtwide reform initiative.
For WestEd, the well-funded, multiyear, flexible commitment from Ellis brought a unique opportunity to effect change. Through the initiative, Creighton district staff developed a collaboration with WestEd’s DistrictsMovingUp (DMU), whose instructional and administrative coaches offer Creighton a systemic, sustainable approach to improving student achievement.
By the fall of 2010, the partners’ intensive efforts had produced significant change.
“From a failing district,” says Ellis Center CEO Steve Mittenthal, “Creighton has moved to a ‘performing plus’ district, with all nine of its schools relabeled. If you look at reading proficiency scores, Creighton outpaces the state average by three-fold, which is extraordinary.”
Creighton’s reform initiative was built on a foundation of school, district, and community input. As a first step in the reform project, DMU staff conducted a districtwide needs assessment in August of 2008.
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