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June 2, 2005 Extra Credit
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June 2, 2005

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Kansas Elementary School Drastically Improves

The following are excerpts from a recent article by The Associated Press highlighting a Kansas school’s improvements:

"Two years after being designated among the worst schools in the state, a Hutchinson elementary school is a finalist for a national award given to exemplary schools. ... New teaching strategies, adult volunteers and school leadership are being credited for the school's increased student achievement, higher assessment scores and improved student social skills.

"‘I think the most important thing is that the staff has learned to work together, from the bottom on up,’ fourth-grade teacher Lynda McCue said. ‘That means the kindergarten teacher has to do the job to get her class ready for first grade, and when the students enter my class, they need to be ready to be in fourth grade.’

"The school also has an integrated curriculum so everything students learn in one classroom is reinforced elsewhere. And McCue said students spend a lot of time preparing for state assessment tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation."

"Lincoln's students failed to meet state testing benchmarks in the 2002-03 school year, but they scored a 100 percent proficient or better rating in 2003-04. The preliminary results for 2004-05 show Lincoln scoring 95 percent proficient or better in reading and 89 percent in math - almost 30 percentage points higher than the state-mandated benchmark.

"Eschliman said the improvement would not have happened without adult volunteers who participate in programs like the Youthfriends reading program. ‘These kids, some of them come in with low language skills, but reading with our adults helps so much,’ Eschliman said.

"Teachers also credited Principal Michelle Young, who transferred to Lincoln in July 2003. But Young returned the credit to the teachers and students. ‘I'm pleased, but I didn't think it would happen this quickly,’ Young said about the award. ‘The teachers have literally done everything that I or the district has asked of them. ... They've stayed with the research, and now we're seeing the results.’"

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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: 08/27/2007