Literacy targeted for middle schoolers

Kenturcky schools try new approach to boost student literacy

Program targets older, overlooked age groups

Teacher Malisa Russell faced her class of Bernheim Middle School seventh-graders and began calling out short phrases.

"Paint a picture," the Bullitt County teacher said. Several students raised their hands, and one offered the correct answer: "Explain."

Russell moved on to another clue: "Read between the lines."

"Infer," a student called out.

It's not unusual to use word games to build students' vocabulary and literacy skills. Except Russell is a math teacher, instructing her students on concepts such as percent of change, equivalent ratio and proportion.

Starting this year at Bernheim though, improving student literacy is every one's job.

"I felt like I always left the reading and writing to the reading and writing teachers," said Matt Murphy, who teaches computer applications. "But now all of us have that responsibility."

Bernheim is not alone.

Read more @ Louisville Courier-Journal.

LA school district focuses on middle school students

LOS ANGELES - Aiming to curb high drop out rates in Los Angeles public high schools, district officials are beginning to focus more on middle school students.

"Middle schools have been overlooked," said Robert Collins, Los Angeles Unified School District' chief instructional officer for secondary education. "We can't win the high school issues unless we do a better job in middle schools."

In coming months, district officials are expected to ask the Board of Education for approval on aggressive reforms for middle schools.

If approved, however, such reforms, which could include a longer school day, would take years to fully implement.

Meanwhile, earlier this year district officials announced a set of initiatives aimed at tackling the drop out rates. "Diploma project advisors" were placed in low-performing and troubled middle schools.

Read more @San Jose Mercury News.

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