At Mobile’s George Hall Elementary, Success is Possible for Everyone

Across the United States, there are an increasing number of schools providing excellent educational opportunities for children, regardless of their home life or background. This is critical to breaking inter-generational cycles of poverty and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to succeed—a defining characteristic of our nation. It’s vital that schools are capable of changing the trajectory of a child’s life.
Each school and community is unique and faces its own challenges and opportunities, and it’s hard accurately describe a “model” for success. However, we know elements that work and often what it takes to create high-performing, high-poverty schools. There is plenty of research on this.

Most recently, Public Agenda released its new report, Failure is Not an Option, on the techniques of nine high-performing high poverty schools in Ohio. Harvard economist Roland Fryer has identified five habits of high-performing charter schools that he says determine more than 50% of their effectiveness. Author Karin Chenoweth, in her book Getting it Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools, looks at practices high-poverty schools have used to improve student achievement, including Mobile’s George Hall Elementary School.

This week, WBHM in Birmingham aired a two-part series on George Hall Elementary, a school that is shattering perceptions about what low-income students can achieve. Despite 99% of George Hall’s students coming from low-income backgrounds, more than 95% of the students score at or above grade level in reading and math.
Click below to read and listen to each story on WBHM‘s website:
Roughly 58% of Alabama’s students coming from low-income homes, but George Hall’s success is unique in this state. It does not have to be. All children can learn at high levels with schools and teachers that give them this opportunity.