The positive reinforcement that is a mainstay of classes at Mobile, Alabama’s George Hall Elementary mirrors the praise coming in from around the country. At least 95 percent of students here consistently score at or above grade level in math and reading. Educators from other districts come to observe and learn. It’s been a national Blue Ribbon school, a state Torchbearer School, and according to tech giant Intel, it has the best elementary math instruction in the United States.
But it wasn’t always like this. Before 2004, its chronic “low-performing” status, behavior problems, and failure to teach the most basic skills were the norm.