U. of C. Responds To Sun-Times' Donoghue Story

Here's the letter sent to the Sun Times by the folks at the U of C, which emphasizes the successes of the school but doesn't address directly (or take issue with) topics like additional funding, teacher burnout, etc. that were brought up in the article and the many comments about it (below):

July 26, 2006

John Barron, Editor
The Chicago Sun Times
401 North Wabash Avenue Floor 2
Chicago, IL 60611
Re: Sun Times Series on Donoghue

Dear Mr. Barron:

Enabling all children to learn at high levels is the single
biggest challenge facing public schools in Chicago and cities
across the nation.  In its first year of existence, the
Donoghue campus of the University of Chicago Charter School
has produced results for children that show remarkable
progress towards this goal...

The rest is below.  There's also a long letter from a Donaghue parent in the comments section under "What Did You Think About..?"

Last fall, only 18 percent of Donoghues kindergarten
students met or exceeded the expected prereading benchmark.
By June of this year, a remarkable 84 percent were reading at
or above benchmark.  Given that kindergarten is students main
entry point to Donoghue, and that reading is the gateway to
learning in all the content areas, these results are
significant and show the promise of what the students will
learn next year and beyond.

Over the course of the year, more than 100 parents, the
majority of Donoghues parents, participated in each of 11
family nights held by the school.  The family nights served to
deepen understanding of the schools literacy and mathematics
programs and to enable families to connect with each other and
the entire faculty in support of the academic achievement of
Donoghues students.

Every single Donoghue teacher enabled students to make more
than one year of progress in learning how to read.  This
summer every single Donoghue teacher is participating in
mathematics, literacy and writing institutes to hone their
instructional knowledge and skills.

Donoghue was able to produce these outcomes because it is a
school singularly focused on providing all its children with
rigorous instruction and comprehensive social supports that
will enable every single student to learn and achieve at high
levels.  There is no more important mission in public
education today.

Our vantage point is that of the Center for Urban School
Improvement.  We designed Donoghue and we provide ongoing
support to Donoghue, as well as to North Kenwood/Oakland and
Woodlawn, all University of Chicago-sponsored schools.  All
together, our joint purpose is to demonstrate that schools
that focus on high quality instruction and social supports can
provide an existence proof that children on the South Side of
Chicago can learn at high levels.

Sincerely,

Tim Knowles, Executive Director
Linda Wing, Deputy Director

Filed under: Communities & CBOs

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