2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Replications, Inc.

Replications is the result of a new collaboration between Teachers College and several New York City public schools. John Elwell, a nationally known expert in school reform and the development of new schools, is the founding director of Replications.

The program's mission is to replicate proven successful public schools by transmitting their cultures to new schools.

The model unfolds as follows: Replications selects an outstanding school, enlarges it by adding a team of three teachers-including a lead teacher-for a period of one year, and then replicates the school by having that team of three teachers open a new school in a new site (the lead teacher becomes the principal of the new school). After a year spent working in the successful school, the professional knowledge, skills and culture learned by the team is transported to the new school.

"The Replications model uses a 'people to people' approach to transmit professional knowledge, skills and culture," says John Elwell. "This insures that the intangible dynamics that make a school function successfully are carried over to the new school, often the most difficult aspect of making a new school work."

The program has already placed teachers in The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and Frederick Douglass Academy, two outstanding New York City public schools. KIPP is the highest performing middle school in reading scores in its district. U.S. News World Report listed Frederick Douglass Academy as one of the top 20 high schools in New York State (Jan 18, 1999).

Both of these schools serve largely minority, at-risk populations yet their students' grades, accomplishments and the overall atmosphere of the schools rival the best private schools in the city. The strong cultures, outstanding reputations, the fact that they are oversubscribed, and the esteem with which they are held in the school system and their home communities make these schools ideal candidates for replication. Additional replications are currently being planned.

"We believe that the replication of these two schools is the beginning of a process which will yield important systemic benefits," says Elwell. "As we expand the number of schools and replications, the lessons these extraordinary schools have learned will be shared with a wider audience and replicating the schools will provide opportunities for more and more children to attend public schools of outstanding quality."

The Charles Hayden Foundation, the Clark Foundation, and the Tiger Foundation have awarded generous grants to Replications, Inc.previous page