Using Data, Chicago Principal Boosts Achievement Among Black Boys
When Marilyn McCottrell became principal at Chicago’s Fuller School of Excellence in 2016, she immediately took action to reduce the achievement gap between Black girls and Black boys. Employing the power of data, McCottrell has encouraged teachers to reconsider their approaches for working with struggling Black boys in their classrooms. Some of the policy changes that have been implemented under her tenure include more equitable grading scales and missed homework policies, and implementing the black experience into lesson plans. McCottrell emphasizes that Black boys don’t need to be saved, but rather, “they need to be respected and appreciated for the differences and the unique gifts that they bring to the educational experience.” Fuller has already begun to see early results of its efforts. In the 2017-2018 school year, Fuller’s percentage of boys “on track” (meaning they earned a C or higher in reading and math and had an attendance rate of at least 95 percent) increased by 23 percentage points, and McCottrell is already working to boost achievement among black boys even further during the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.