December 10, 2004 Extra Credit
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December 10, 2004

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"These Children Can Perform"

The following are excerpts from an article in yesterday’s The Charlotte Observer (NC) highlighting a local school that was recently recognized as a Title I Distinguished School:

"Irvin was one of two schools in North Carolina to be recognized nationally as a ‘Title I Distinguished School’ by the National Association of State Title I Directors. Irvin officials will receive the award in February at the association's conference in Atlanta, for closing the academic achievement gap between different groups of students."

"The awards are significant, said Marvin Pittman, director for school improvement with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. ‘Lots of times people have low expectations for students of poverty. What these schools are showing is that this isn't true,’ Pittman said. ‘These schools are really showing, ‘Nope, these children can perform.’’"

"Irvin, with 55 percent of its students getting free or reduced-price lunches, seems to be doing something right, based on the numbers.In third-grade-level reading, the percentage of Hispanic children at or above grade level improved from 12.5 percent two years ago to 63.2 percent in 2004. In third-grade math, the percentage increased from 25 percent to nearly 79 percent in 2004.

"The population of English-language learners quadrupled in three years, and the gap between minority students and white students widened. Irvin starting using basic strategies, some implemented when Karen Haag came on board two years ago. Haag is the school's literacy coordinator for Grades 3-5.

"Two years ago, Irvin had seven ‘literacy assistants,’ who work one-on-one with students or with small groups. This year, the school has assistants in all 18 classrooms. They are paid with federal Title I money, and many are former teachers and stay-at-home moms who work a couple of hours a day."

"Haag tracks each child on a computer spreadsheet, to see what their grade-level performance is and how they are being served. Students are being helped through many programs -- in small groups, with one-on-one tutoring, and in classes for English learners."


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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: 04/08/2008