Good case for merit-based pay raise? Give the folks at this school a raise, and tell them if they keep improving, they'll get another.
Dunno, Eugene. It looks like a number of things went into the improvement, most of them systemic changes.
However, as a longtime follower of CCS, forgive me if I adopt a bit of a wait and see attitude. CCS has shown itself to be good at trumpeting growth and denying backsliding. The article credits common planning periods and a focus on literacy across the content areas for the improvement (both systemic changes, rather than individual teacher choices). These things are not new in the system, however. Common planning periods were the "silver lining" when the middle and high school days were shortened and reading across the curriculum goes back even further than that.
I think that the district would still be very happy to dump Champion Middle School onto a charter group (if the "parent trigger" comes through) and you may note that there is very little mention of Clearbrook--except that it remains on the bottom. Clearbrook is allegedly a "special" school for students with emotional disabilities. In reality many view it as a dumping ground for difficult students of many kinds, particularly those with a record of disciplinary problems. It is besieged with low expectations, low resources and low morale.
The "just try harder" approach has been shown over and over again to achieve only short-term gains, which wither shortly when focus moves elsewhere.