Inspiring Makeover, Questionable Upkeep
Feb 24, 1:00 AM
Using technology to get kids excited about math is just one of many ways education at Silver Hill has changed since the school was transformed three years ago. In 2006, after being ordered by state and federal officials to take corrective action for failing to meet federal standards for student achievement for at least two consecutive years, educators embraced the idea of converting the school into a Horace Mann charter school, freeing teachers there from many typical classroom restrictions. By the fall of 2008, the proposal had evolved from concept to reality. Gilman credits the school’s gains to its conversion. “Now, we’re seeing steady improvement. As a charter, we have a great deal of flexibility. When we needed help teaching writing, we went and got professional development. When aspects of our math system weren’t working, we looked at how we could improve it. And when we needed technology, we went out and examined our options and got the devices we needed.’’ Students now receive more individual tutoring. Teachers have access to training programs that once were out of reach due to budget constraints, thanks to federal money not available to traditional public schools, including a $550,000 federal start-up grant. And every classroom is equipped with the eInstruction technology, including the Mobi whiteboards and CPS Pulse student response pads, handheld “clickers’’ that closely resemble television remotes.