Attendees will take a journey through five very different districts that are either high-performing or improving and serve children from low-income backgrounds and children of color. Although they are very different from each other in outward characteristics–size, locale, demographics, funding, governance– they all share leaders who believe in the capacity of students to learn and who build a culture where adults in the system feel it incumbent to make kids smarter; a process to guide the adults in the district to make better decisions while growing their ability to do so, and systems to undergird that improvement process. That is to say, there is no single program, policy, or practice that links them all. Rather they share what Sir Michael Rutter, in 1979 (15,000 Hours, Harvard University Press), called an "ethos." That ethos can be built in any school and any district, as demonstrated by the "districts that succeed."
Long-time reporter and education writer, Karin Chenoweth is author of, among other titles, It's Being Done (2007) and Schools that Succeed (2017) as well as her latest book, Districts that Succeed: Breaking the Correlation Between Race, Poverty, and Achievement (Harvard Education Press, 2021). She has been published in The Washington Post, Education Week, and Educational Leadership and has spoken to audiences of educators around the country.