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School's five-year program a priority

Organization is the key to success in education.

So declared CK School District officials, who are preparing to re-launch the so-called Standards-Based Education Strategic Plan.

“In a standards-based education system,” said Lee Marcum, executive director of secondary teaching & learning, “students in every classroom in the district will be demonstrating not only what they know, but what they can do with what they know.” He made his comments during a recent report to the CK School Board.

“Standards-based education will emphasize and measure what students have learned,” he said. “Students will achieve a high level of “essential academic requirements.”

Marcum alluded to the five-part core to the system, to be implemented over a five-year timeline (2003-2008) — similar to what was done between 1995 and 2000.

l Essential Learnings — Must be well defined, consistent “with the best information about adult life and work in the 21st Century,” and students must be tested regularly.

l Instructional Material — Must be aligned with the course and grade level, foster “high-level thinking,” and consist of a wide variety of teaching styles.

l Student Assessment — Must call on a student to demonstrate what he or she has learned.

l Instructional Practice — Involves teachers making the right decisions about remedial work and enrichment opportunities for students.

l System Accountability — Involves students meeting all course and credit requirements, passing proficiency exams in core subjects, being allowed extra time and given help if needed, accomplishing a “Student Project” for graduation, and passing interviews by teachers.

Specifically, the Graduation Committee recommends adoption of the following state mandates for the Class of 2008:

l Students must earn a Certificate of Mastery.

l Must create a graduating Student Project.

l Create high school and graduating “Education Plans.”

l Art credits will be increased from .5 to 1.0.

l Algebra mastery will be required.

l There will be an increase in total credits to 22 (state standard is 19).

l WASL passage will be required for graduation.

Other programs that were tried and will be continued include:

l Fourteen teachers were hired to reduce class sizes in grades 5 and 6 to 24-25, from an average of 29-30.

l At Ridgetop Junior High, class size was reduced to 12 in one reading course. WASL results showed a 7 percent improvement.

l Also at Ridgetop, the transitions math and algebra class was reduced in size, with WASL results up 3 percent.

l Eleven students who failed first semester English attended a class with more staff support in the second semester, and increased GPAs from 1.52 to 2.12.

l Klahowya Secondary School created a second-semester sophomore English class of students who did not meet standards in the seventh-grade and failed the first semester of sophomore English. WASL reading scores went from 16.7 percentile to 92.3 percentile; writing dropped slightly from 50 to 46.1; but math for these students increased from 25 to 46.1.

The report indicated a continuous supply of I-728 and other state monies is needed to keep classes small and increase support for kids.

Legislators have said the sluggish economy may limit what they can do for districts. Marcum’s report included language from the state code mandating improvements.

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