Local superintendents discuss how they use NAEP's urban district data
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Archived Webcast of Lessons Learned from NAEP: A Discussion with Urban School Leaders


On March 8, the National Assessment Governing Board and the Council for the Great City Schools convened a group of education leaders from some of our biggest urban school districts to discuss  the top lessons learned from The Nation's Report Card: 2015 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) findings. TUDA, a special program of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), reports on the achievement of fourth and eighth-graders in several subjects, including mathematics and reading. Watch the webcast - posted above - of this dynamic panel discussing why testing matters in today's dynamic education landscape, how school administrators and teachers can use assessment data to improve learning, and why having a national benchmark of student performance is important at the district level and beyond. Panelists and their bios are below.


Peggy G. Carr is the acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. In this position, she oversees the collection, analysis, and reporting of education data from preschool through graduate education.

Dr. Carr joined NCES in 1993 as director of analysis and reporting in the Assessment Division. In 1998, she was named the associate commissioner of assessment, responsible for national and international large-scale assessments, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), National Assessment of Adult Literacy, Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, Program for International Student Assessment, and Teaching and Learning International Survey.

She previously served as the chief statistician in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education; a research methodologist at Howard University’s Statistical and Research Computer Laboratory; and an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard, where she taught doctoral-level graduate courses in statistical computing, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. She has served on numerous doctoral dissertation committees and has published in a variety of areas, including child, social, and experimental psychology; biostatistics; student achievement; and assessment methodology.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho leads the nation’s fourth largest school system, which has more than 350 schools with 400,000 students. Mr. Carvalho has served the school system in several capacities since 1998, including as chief communications officer, administrative director and as both associate and assistant superintendent. Under Mr. Carvalho's leadership, the district won the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year and the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education. Mr. Carvalho was selected as the National Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and has received honors from both Mexico and Portugal.

Michael Casserly has served as executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public school systems, since January 1992. Before assuming this position, Dr. Casserly was the organization’s director of legislation and research.

As head of the council, Dr. Casserly has unified urban schools nationwide with a vision for reform and improvement. He has also launched an aggressive research program on trends in urban education; convened the first Education Summit of Big City Mayors and Urban School Superintendents; led the nation’s largest urban school districts in volunteering for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); and led the first national study of common practices among the nation’s fastest-improving urban school districts.

He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in the nation’s urban public school systems and facilitating the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in big-city schools. Dr. Casserly is also working to strengthen district management and operations as well as improve the public’s image of urban education.

While he was the council’s director of legislation and research, Dr. Casserly initiated major reforms in Title I, vocational education, and drug-free schools. He also initiated and wrote the federal Magnet School Act and the Urban Schools of America Act. In addition, Dr. Casserly has written numerous studies, reports, and op-ed pieces on urban schools, including “Beating the Odds” — the nation’s first look at the performance of urban school students on state tests.

Dr. Janice K. Jackson, a recognized leader in the field of urban education, was named chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in July 2015.

Jackson joined CPS in 1999, teaching history and economics at South Shore High School before securing a grant to create Al Raby School for Community and Environment in 2004. Under her leadership, the school became one of the district’s most successful neighborhood high schools, with a graduation rate of over 80 percent and stellar college access success. After five years as Raby’s principal, Jackson was chosen to lead the new Westinghouse College Prep High School, which has been nationally recognized for academic excellence, in part because of a successful world language program. She also created extensive opportunities for Advanced Placement courses.

In 2014, Jackson was chosen to lead CPS’ Network 9, which includes 26 schools and over 14,000 students. She provides principals with direct supervision and guidance to help ensure students receive an academic foundation to prepare them for success in college, career and beyond. She formerly served on the Illinois ACT Council, and was a member of the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success.

Brian Pick serves as the Chief of Teaching and Learning for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In this role, he leads the District’s efforts to equip teachers with resources and professional learning opportunities. Prior to this, Mr. Pick served in various capacities at DCPS, including policy analyst, chief of staff for school management and support, and deputy chief of curriculum and instruction. Most notably, he led the development and rollout of the DCPS Teaching and Learning Framework, spearheaded DCPS’ Race to the Top application process—which ultimately resulted in a $30 million grant—and led the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the 2012 National Curriculum Leadership Award by the Council of Great City Schools. Prior to joining DCPS, he taught in California for three years as part of Teach For America.

In his role as assistant superintendent of professional learning for Boston Public Schools (BPS), Doannie Tran focuses on developing the system and processes to sustain adult learning at every level of the school system. Previously, Mr. Tran spent six years as a science teacher, three of which were at BPS’ O’Bryant School of Math and Science, before joining Teach For America (TFA) to launch the Massachusetts region in 2009. Mr. Tran was responsible for professional development for all new TFA teachers in Massachusetts and partnered with Boston University, where he has also served on the faculty. During that time, the Massachusetts region was in the top 10 percent of all regions in teacher effectiveness, satisfaction, and retention. The program Mr. Tran designed and executed received the only high rating given to an alternative certification program by the 2014 National Council on Teaching Quality/US News and World Report study of teacher preparation programs. Additionally, when Mr. Tran was a graduate student, he launched an education company called the Teaching Genome that provides teachers with insight into their teaching styles and uses that knowledge to better support coaching and professional learning communities.

Ms. Karen Thompson currently serves as the deputy chief curriculum and instruction for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She began working for the district in 1991 and is currently responsible for academic programming PreK-12 for district students under the supervision of the chief academic officer. Previously, she was the district’s post-secondary education director, where her responsibilities included supervising career and technical education services, guidance and counseling services, and adult continuing education, which included workforce development and internships. She also was a career and technical consultant teacher as well as a classroom teacher. Ms. Thompson has been involved in urban education for the past 24 years. Before coming to Cleveland, she was director of curriculum for a propriety school servicing over 1200 students yearly in Erie, Pa. from 1986 to 1991. Ms. Thompson has an undergraduate degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and post graduate work from Barren College Erie, Pa., and Baldwin Wallace in Cleveland.

Contact: Stephaan Harris | (202) 357-7504 | stephaan.harris@ed.gov