The following are excerpts from a recent Flint Journal article highlighting the improvements made by Bunche Elementary School in Flint, Mich. under No Child Left Behind.
"Bunche Elementary School was once considered one of the worst schools in the district. Its test scores at rock bottom, in 2000 it became one of three Flint schools to receive the dreaded ‘reconstitution’ order, which basically meant it had to make major changes - and fast.
"But this year, by the final week before summer break, Bunche was celebrating, and Principal Anthony Sitko's bold blue hair was a badge of honor.
"Sitko had promised the kids he would turn his hair blue if their Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores improved enough to meet federal guidelines and get the school off the infamous list of schools that did not meet what the feds call "adequate yearly progress."
"‘Mr. Sitko's blue hair was funny,’ said fourth-grader Chavis Ivory, 10. ‘We made him look like a fool. It was a challenge. (Making AYP) makes us feel happy. We did so much, and now we are smart. Before, words were confusing to me. I couldn't understand them. But I learned to clap them out. I was taught how to sound them out like, teddy bear - ted-dy-bear.’
"‘Over time, Bunche has become a school where parents want to send their children. Last year, the rate of students leaving and moving into the school was 33 percent - below the district average and below the nearly 50 percent mobility Bunche had five years ago.’"
"The changes at Bunche were many, including requiring school uniforms, adding a specialized reading-level library that had books for varying reading ability - even changing the school's mascot from the Raiders to the Ambassadors (Bunche is named for U.N. diplomat Ralph Bunche, the first black American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize).
"When the new AYP list is released, possibly later this month, Bunche and Garfield will have met AYP for the first time in at least five years."
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