Highlights of Cities Selected for Municipal Leadership in Education Project

Nation's Cities Weekly, June 4, 2001 | Go to article overview

Highlights of Cities Selected for Municipal Leadership in Education Project


The six cities selected to participate in the technical assistance project have the following key characteristics:

* Population sizes range from 96,000 to 700,000 residents.

* Median incomes range from $12,968 to $40,000.

* Student's eligibility rates for free or reduced lunch in school districts range from 33 percent to 63 percent.

* School districts in almost all of the cities have a combined student population that is predominantly African-American and Hispanic, with the exception of Portland, Ore.

Charleston, S.C.

Charleston, under the leadership of Mayor Joseph P. Riley, plans to use the technical assistance to assess community resources to support schools, strengthen and reinforce leadership roles within the city and county, increase parental and community involvement in schools and develop methods for recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.

The school district has conducted a number of studies and developed a strategic plan with five-year performance goals and strategies for achievement. Charleston will focus on improving teaching and learning, supporting schools and teachers in implementing rigorous and relevant curricula, improving basic writing, reading, and math skills and working with students to pass the state-required high school exit exams.

Columbus, Ohio

Led by Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus plans to define appropriate and attainable education goals, develop and implement an action plan for improving public education and determine the city's role in such an endeavor, leverage community resources to support the education of the city's children and develop a unified plan that links the Columbus Public Schools (CPS) modernization campaign and the city's housing, neighborhood, and business development plans.

Despite the city's many challenges, there is ongoing commitment from the schools, city hall and the community to improving educational opportunities for students. Examples of this commitment include the creation of the mayor's new Office of Education, in which the director holds a cabinet-level position, and a 12-member Education Advisory Commission to advise the mayor and the city council on public education and lifelong learning.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Fort Lauderdale, under the leadership of Mayor Jim Naugle, will utilize this technical assistance opportunity to help carry out a community-based planning and mobilization process to facilitate residents being better informed about, and more actively engaged in, the schools and youth-oriented programs and agencies. This process is designed to increase citizen awareness and understanding about the factors related to education and well-being of youth, improve student achievement by articulating a vision, develop and implement an action plan on a city-wide, collaborative basis and better integrate the city's efforts related to the schools into the context of broader community-building and capacity-building objectives. …

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