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November 6, 2003, Extra Credit
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November 6, 2003
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 November 5
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In South County, Rhode Island: "Higher Test Scores Offer Lesson In Perseverance"

As reported in today's Providence Journal—"Higher test scores offer lesson in perseverance"—school officials in South County, Rhode Island recently received news from the state that "not one area school district was classified as 'in need of improvement,' and five local schools have been commended by the Board of Regents for improving in both math and language arts for two years or more." Following are additional excerpts from the article:

"In addition, three schools that just two years ago were called 'low performing schools' showed so much improvement since then, they are on the commended list this year: Chariho Regional High School, Narragansett High School and Westerly High School."

"Every school so recognized pointed to concrete initiatives that helped them improve: teacher writing committees, new student advisory programs, hiring a principal to oversee learning and teaching issues, intense teacher collaboration. 'We've built on this for several years,' said Davisville Principal Jane Kondon, who's been at the helm for 20 years. 'It doesn't happen instantly. We're just finally seeing the fruits of all of the hard work.'"

"However, tangible improvements can be made, as shown by Newport's recent success in moving schools out of the 'needing improvement' category and Davisville Middle School's winning streak, said Anne M. Seitsinger of URI's National Center on Public Education and Social Policy. Schools that analyzed their scores last year identified their weak points and worked with the center, focusing on literacy and math skills, Seitsinger said."

"'We got across the importance of doing well on the test, and teachers have torn apart the curriculum and built on each grade level to address weak areas,' [Asst. Supt. Sylvia Blanda] said. Westerly teachers also started a writing committee and a problem solving committee, to discuss strategies over several grade levels."

The complete text of the Providence Journal article can be found online.

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Last Modified: 11/17/2003