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August 26, 2003, Achiever
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August 26, 2003
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 August 25
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In Lower Yukon, Alaska: "The System Is Changing" Because of No Child Left Behind And Teachers "Are Excited By The Prospects"
As reported in Monday's Juneau Empire—"After a dismal assessment, Lower Yukon school district makes changes"—not one of Lower Yukon's 11 schools made "adequate yearly progress" in reaching Alaska's state standards. Following is an excerpt from the article:

"That dismal assessment hasn't dampened enthusiasm among the district's 200 teachers, principals and administrators. At meetings last week at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the mood was decidedly upbeat. Rather than break teachers' spirits, No Child Left Behind has opened the door for the district to break away from its past and take risks aimed at improving student achievement.

"'The system is changing,' said Superintendent Bob Robertson, starting with the annual in-service meeting itself. It was the first time in more than 20 years the entire district staff has met under one roof.

"More important, Robertson said, the district has decided to weave Yup'ik life into the classroom through new courses and nontraditional teaching methods. Educators hope that by making education more relevant to village residents, the schools can snap the cycle of educational failure that has gripped the region for generations.

"'If we continue the way we've been doing, we're not getting (students) to better themselves,' Robertson said. 'If we enable them to continue to fail, we're not going to change the situation at

all.' "Rather than feel threatened or overwhelmed by the changes, school administrators and teachers said they are excited by the prospects.

"'Finally,' said Kotlik principal Mitzi Garrison. 'All my life I've wanted to be innovative, but the system kept you from doing it.'"

The complete Juneau Empire article can be found at: http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/082503/sta_yukonschool.shtml

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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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