Thurgood Marshall High School is the newest of the six schools in Great Falls Illinois. The school opened two years ago amid national acclaim for being an important breakthrough in inner-city education (Gabarro, 1993). It was specially designed and constructed for the "house system" concept. Upon enrollment, students are assigned to one house. Houses may compete with one another at sports and maybe in other ways, thus providing a focus for group loyalty. The house system is a traditional feature of schools in the English-speaking world, particularly in Commonwealth countries, and originated in England. Marshall high school is broken down into four houses, each of which contained 300 students, a faculty of 18 and a house master. The school was designed so that each house was in a spate building connected to the core facilities and other houses by an enclosed outside passageway. Each house has its own entrance, classrooms, toilets, conference rooms, and housemaster's office.
On July 15, David Kane became principle of the Thurgood Marshall High School. It was wracked by violence the preceding year and had been closed twice by student disturbances and once by a teacher walkout. The school is also in danger of losing its accreditation if conditions did not improve. Achievement scores of 9th and 10th graders had declined in the past 2 years and no significant improvements could be found in the achievement scores of 11th and 12th graders. As the new principle there are several issues that Kane must tackle immediately. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that the school grounds are surrounded by a disadvantaged neighborhood. Below are the five most impactful issues Kane must solve listed in order of immediacy:.
1. Safety-School Security, Rules, policies, regulations and enforcement.
a. During the first year the school was opened, a teacher was assaulted in her classroom in February and in April a teacher was robbed and beaten in her classroom after school hours.