Sustaining Success at Orchard Gardens
In 2011, we documented the ways in which Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School (OGPS) leveraged additional time to transform the educational experience for both students and staff. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones paying attention and interested in the school’s tremendous impact on student achievement. Over the past two years, the school has been visited by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, performed at the White House for President Obama, and featured by national news outlets such as NBC nightly news and National Public Radio.
Their much deserved recognition stems from the promising student gains first started in 2011. In fact, over the past two years, OGPS’s ELA MCAS (Massachusetts’s standardized test) performance ranks in the top 1 percent among all schools for growth; the school’s growth in math over the same period ranks in the top 6 percent. Our most recent case study, provides an update of the school’s successes and practices—all from the perspectives of the school’s administrators, teachers, and students.
In the upcoming years, OGPS will face a new challenge: sustaining its success as their federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding expires. The school has already begun to take on this challenge. “We are at a critical turning point,” says one staff member. “We can’t afford to slip backwards once we lose SIG money. Our leadership team is committed to ensuring that our kids are successful and that Orchard Gardens becomes a citywide and national model for what is possible in even the most disadvantaged, failing schools.”