Title

Home-Town Values and High Accountability: A Texas Recipe for Districtwide Success in an Urban School District

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (jespar)

ISSN

1082-4669

Volume

16

Issue

2

DOI

10.1080/10824669.2011.559902

First Page

137

Last Page

165

Publication Date

April 2011

Abstract

This article reports the findings from a case study of urban school district effectiveness taken from a larger, multistate study. The case study district, Galena Park Independent School District in Galena Park, Texas, was chosen for inclusion in the study based on quantitative analysis of student achievement data in Texas. An education production function model was used to compare how well school districts actually performed to how well the model predicted they would perform given a certain level of resources. Qualitative data were gathered through extensive fieldwork in the school district and were analyzed using codes based on a theoretical framework of district effectiveness developed a priori by the research team. Key findings reveal how the political, administrative, and professional systems in Galena Park were brought into coherent alignment to support district reform efforts. A finding of particular importance was the productive coexistence of both professional and administrative accountability within the same school district. This locally developed recipe combined both home-town values and high accountability into a culture in which reform designed to raise achievement for all students and to reduce historic achievement gaps could grow and thrive.