In the spring and summer of 2008, I got very interested in a
particular elementary school here in Washington called Webb/Wheatley.
The school has been, by most accounts, a pretty grim place, with
disastrous test scores, out-of-control student behavior, and rapid
turnover among teachers. Now a new principal and an almost
entirely new teaching staff are trying to turn the place around.
This attempt transform a regular public school struck
me as a fascinating experimetn. It's the sort of
transformation that the No Child Left Behind law demands in thousands
of the country's worst-performing schools, but in practice, it's been
nearly impossible to pull off. During the 2008-2009 school
I spent about half a day each week at the school. I put
together a series of radio reports on the school's first year for
WAMU's show Metro Connection
. You can listen via the Metro Connection web site, but
I also wanted to have a place where people could download all four of the stories. Here it is.
If you click on the following links, the download should start.
Depending on your browser, the piece may also start to play.
Part 1: Change comes to Webb/Wheatley
(Aired May 22, 2009)
Part 2: A tale of two teachers
(Aired May 29, 2009.)
Part 3: The great challenge: Keeping classrooms calm
(Aired June 5, 2009.)
Part 4: Is it working?
(Aired June 12, 2009.)