We should be replicating proven school models that decrease the opportunity gaps in communities that need thriving first class education the most. Communities where schools have been failing our students for far too long deserve immediate attention and real change. All students deserve a quality education.
I have two children that attend Phalen Leadership Academy at 103 (PLA 103), one is a 1st grader who is advanced and learning at a 3rd grade level. My kindergartener is also performing at a first-grade level. I am encouraged that progress continues to be made at PLA 103. It hasn’t always been perfect, but in it’s 4th year of innovation I see improvement. The school has gone from a failing school to an A-rated school. I like that the kids are tested each week under the Project: RESTORE model to gauge where they are academically so that their struggling areas can be addressed immediately. I like that they are incentivized under this model.
The definition of innovation is the action or process that creates a new method, idea or product. There is a quote I heard that I continually remind myself of; it states “nothing changes if nothing changes.” With new and innovative things come positives and negatives. I am hopeful this year, with the introduction of the new principal, that PLA 103 will continue to improve. Proven school models are successful when they have all the crucial components: strong leadership and autonomy, teachers who are prepared, supported, paid, and a great culture.
Access to quality educational opportunities is a crucial key element in transforming a child’s future. Assuring that every IPS student has equal opportunities and access to a quality education could very well save them from a life of poverty, systematic oppression and historic trauma while creating a bright and successful future. Join me in asking IPS to expand models like the one at PLA 103 throughout the district.