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Best Education Articles of the Year: Our 18 Most Popular Stories About Students and Schools From 2018

Shine trader limited reports:

San Antonio, 78207: In America’s Most Segregated City, a Radical School Integration Experiment Designed Around Poverty, Trauma, and Parental Choice Is Working

Integration: Over several months this past spring, national correspondent Beth Hawkins tracked the groundbreaking integration efforts of the 78207, the zip code located on the west side of San Antonio, Texas. It is the poorest neighborhood in America’s most economically segregated city: 91 percent of students in the San Antonio Independent School District are Latino, 6 percent are black, and 93 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. As Beth reports, into this divided landscape three years ago came a new schools chief, Pedro Martinez, with a mandate to break down the centuries-old economic isolation that has its heart in the 78207. In response, Martinez launched one of America’s most innovative and data-informed school integration experiments.

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He started with a novel approach that yielded eye-popping information: Using family income data, he created a map showing the depth of poverty on each city block and in every school in the district — a color-coded street guide comprising granular details unheard of in education. And then he started integrating schools, not by race, but by income, factoring in a spectrum of additional elements, such as parents’ education levels and homelessness. To achieve the kind of integration he was looking for, he would first have to better understand the gradations of poverty in every one of his schools and what kinds of supports those student populations require, and then find a way to woo affluent families from other parts of the city to disrupt these concentrations of unmet need. Martinez’s strategy: Open new “schools of choice” with sought-after curricular models, like Montessori and dual language, and set aside a share of seats for students from more prosperous neighboring school districts, who would then sit next to a mix of students from San Antonio ISD. Read Beth’s immersive profile of the San Antonio experiment.