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November 5, 2003, Extra Credit
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November 5, 2003
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Making A Difference In Michigan

The No Child Left Behind Act encourages parents to get involved in improving their child's school. As part of that effort, schools must develop strategies to promote effective parental involvement. Additionally, when a school is identified by a state as "in need of improvement," school officials are required to work with parents, school staff, the local education agency, and outside experts to develop a plan to turn the school around. Highlighting the efforts of some parents in Michigan, following is the complete text of an article, "Making a difference," in today's Detroit Free Press:

Michigan has 720 elementary and middle schools in need of academic improvement. Here are examples of people who go the extra mile to help some of those schools:

At Birney Elementary School in Detroit, two parents – Louise Jordan and Dorothy Moore—stand out among a number of volunteers because they're always at the school, helping out teachers in the classroom and organizing sports activities, principal Sandra Rall said.

Jordan has become a crucial resource for parents whose work hours conflict with school hours because she allows them to drop off their children at her house until school starts. And she doesn't charge, Rall said.

At Damon J. Keith Elementary School in Detroit, the school's namesake—a U.S. Circuit Court judge—has become a visible presence and has gotten his law clerks to volunteer at the school, principal Deborah Hunter-Harvill said.

That's on top of the many parents who volunteer in the classroom and for special activities.

And at Oak Park's Pepper Elementary School, physical education teacher Ed Lubanski has inspired teamwork among students by getting the Berkley Youth Soccer Association to donate 150 team shirts and a load of trophies.

Lubanski approached Pete Fenwick, the association's leader, expecting just a few items. He was blown away when he got so much more. So now, when his students play soccer, they can do so as bona fide teams.

Lubanski doesn't stop there. He has taught the students soccer and ties in academic skills by having the students write about why they like the sport.

"I try to help them see that the same things you do in the classroom, you do in the gym. It carries over," Lubanski said.

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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: 11/17/2003