Monday, July 17, 2006

a clarification

The article on area districts' attempts to better serve gifted students is interesting for a few reasons. First, it details some programs I wasn't aware of, like the "Challenge Academy" at Chinook Middle School. Second, though, are a couple important errors, caught only because I've been part of reorganizing the CHS English curriculum.

According to the article,
The elimination of the ninth-grade honors English track has raised concerns among some parents who worry that their highly capable children won't be challenged. District officials said teachers will have a variety of reading options for each class and will put students in reading groups according to their ability.
First, the variety of reading options is just one change out of many. Individuated projects, greater emphasis on grammar, targeted vocabulary, interactive technology... the curriculum has been gutted and revamped. Second, the last phrase makes it sound like teachers will still sort students into reading groups. Not exactly. It is the student, who, with input from the folks at home, will choose a book off the curriculum that will challenge them. (They'll also get to choose their own "outside reading," while certain essays and texts--Romeo and Juliet, for example--will be shared by all 9th-graders.) The aim is a curriculum structured so that students can rise to the challenge, not so that teachers can keep them in their place.

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