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August 8, 2003, Extra Credit
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August 8, 2003
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Accountability Of NCLB Prompts Washington Park Middle School To Makes Changes So Students Have More Academic Support
Prompted by disappointing results on state assessments, the Washington Park Middle School in Washington, Pennsylvania is making changes to its school day structure and to the number of subjects teachers will be asked to teach in an effort to provide students with more academic support.

Following are excerpts from an Observer-Reporter article reporting on the changes:

"The first change, smaller class sizes, stems from the elimination of a 42-minute tutorial at the end of each school day for all middle school students. The tutorial will be replaced by an additional core class period, such as reading, science or math, allowing for additional class sections. Or, for students who scored at basic and below basic levels on the state assessment tests in reading and math, the class period will be set aside for skills building."

"The second change, limiting the content areas of middle school teachers, allows instructors more time to concentrate on content areas as they prepare for their classes before the start of school. For example, a teacher will have to prepare to teach classes only in reading and language arts instead of reading, language arts and math. Some teachers will have to prepare for just math and science courses. Only one middle school teacher next year has three content areas: reading, English and math."

"Washington superintendent Dr. Roberta DiLorenzo said the changes are driven by last year's performance by middle school students on the state assessment exam. The scores fell below the benchmarks for measuring a school district's adequate yearly progress under federal guidelines in the No Child left Behind Act. ... 'We didn't meet the benchmark the year before. There were more students who needed academic support,' DiLorenzo said."

The complete Observer-Reporter article was originally published in August 2003. It is no longer available online.

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 12/14/2004