Meeting the challenge of No Child Left Behind: How an inner -city middle school succeeded

Velma Bailey Whiteside, Fordham University


How did an inner-city middle school, serving a population of poor Black and Latino students, a student population that is traditionally unsuccessful in public schools, raise and maintain student achievement over a period of more than 3 years? A New York City middle school was the subject of the study. The school was selected for the study on the basis of 8th grade students' performance on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)--mandated New York State Intermediate-Level Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) annual assessments. Four elements of effective schools theory, Leadership, Organizational Structure, Curriculum and Teaching, and Professional Development (input variables) and the effect of these strategies on school culture (intervening variable) provided a theoretical framework for the study. Specifically, if the school successfully operationalized these 4 frequently quoted, research based school improvement paradigms, then student success and teacher satisfaction, longevity, and efficacy will be the outcomes (dependent or outcome variables). Teacher perception was a highly informative source of data. A sequential, mixed method research design guided the collection and analysis of data from a staff survey and subsequent interviews of administrators and staff representative of the general teacher population; observations of classes; restructuring committee meetings; faculty conferences; professional development workshops; and school community artifacts. The findings depicted a school led by a strong, long-term, collaborative principal. The principal's strategies include the selective hiring of teachers, the utilization of research based strategies, and a unique reculturation process. The result is a very effective and deeply entrenched learner-centered school culture that supports and encourages staff and students to attain high student achievement through a culture of continuous learning.

Subject Area

School administration|Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Whiteside, Velma Bailey, "Meeting the challenge of No Child Left Behind: How an inner -city middle school succeeded" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3210285.