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What Happens When School Leadership Combines with Best Practices

August 20, 2015 by The Bush Institute

Anson Jackson committed to teaching middle school math in the Rio Grande Valley for two years after college because he was inspired to do something admirable. But he quickly realized that education didn’t just change lives, it had the ability “to change society for the better.”

 In 2014, 10 years later, Anson is the principal of Uplift Mighty Preparatory, a tuition-free middle school in the Uplift Education public charter network of North Texas whose mission is to ensure 100 percent of its students become college-ready. Seventy-five percent of Uplift students are Hispanic, 25 percent are African American, and 90 percent are low-income. “All children deserve a great education,” Anson said. “I want every child to be provided with the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in college and the world, regardless of the zip code that they live in, their background, or ethnicity.”

When Anson and his staff wanted to increase student achievement, they turned to Middle School Matters, a Bush Institute education program focused on working with middle school teachers to implement research-based practices. Through the support of the program, the school is starting to see gains in student achievement, with scores increasing across all grades in reading and writing over last year.

Anson and Uplift Mighty Preparatory are an example of what’s possible when research and best practices combine with school leadership who expect their students to succeed and work hard to make it happen. As Anson explained, “Students will shoot for the stars, if they know someone believes in them.”