UW Today

March 27, 2012

News Digest: Effective charter schools, annual 'Trash-In'

News and Information

Study: Similarities of effective charter school organizations
In January, the UW’s Center on Reinventing Public Education teamed with Mathematica Policy Research to release a study that found effective charter school management organizations share two things: consistent expectations of students and an intense approach to monitoring and coaching teachers.

Now, the two organizations have released a follow-up study that explains how five successful charter school organizations put those approaches into practice. “Learning from Charter School Management Organizations: Strategies for Student Behavior and Teacher Coaching” offers guidance for schools and districts looking to replicate these practices.

The report, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, is one of several arising from the National Study of Charter Management Organization Effectiveness. This four-year study analyzed the effectiveness of 22 such organizations by comparing reading and math scores of about 19,000 of their middle schoolers with students of similar backgrounds in traditional schools.

These schools used a model that includes schoolwide student behavior expectations with positive reinforcements and clear consequences, zero tolerance policies for potentially dangerous behaviors and consistent enforcement of the student behavior systems. In monitoring and coaching teachers, the schools provided teachers with individualized coaching and ensured they are observed frequently by master teachers as well as administrators.

Red Square site of annual UW “Trash-In” April 11
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 11, on Red Square, student and staff volunteers will suit up and sort through one days worth of trash from around the UW campus. The annual ‘UW Trash-In reveals how much compostable and recyclable material is still being thrown away on campus.

After a brief introduction to the sorting process, volunteers are given cover-up suits, gloves and goggles, and sent to a sorting station. Bags of trash are emptied onto tables and volunteers sort materials by type into nearby bins for compost, cans/bottles, mixed recycling and garbage. The party-like atmosphere includes music, sorting games and challenges.

“Theres a lot of dancing and laughing while we sort,” said Aubrey Batchelor with the UW sustainability office. “You learn so much about what can be composted or recycled, and its surprisingly fun to see what others have thrown away.”

Mirroring the protest power of a sit-In,  the first Trash-In took place on the UW campus in 1970 to emphasize the waste associated with American life. Students and faculty collected trash from around campus and separated it into categories, returning recyclable materials to the original producers for reprocessing.

“The first Trash-In was about students taking action to bring the issue of recycling to the forefront,” said UW Recycling & Solid Waste Manager Emily Newcomer. “Todays Trash-In is about recognizing our wasteful habits and identifying goals for the future.”