Bridging the Gap…A Roadmap to Tomorrow

April 24, 2012 at 8:33 AM Leave a comment

Play it again…this time we are going to get it right. Let’s put that stake back in the ground and make a promise to the current kindergarten class that they will be the new “no excuses” cohort. For them, there will be no achievement gap. And, because we are smarter this time around, we know we can focus on them without forgetting their older or younger brothers and sisters.

The Kindergarten-Grade Three Cluster – New World Order

Today, make the declaration for all entering kindergarten students who may be at risk that, “This ends here!”  They will become the universal “no excuses” cohort across the nation for whom there will be no achievement gap.

Establish an elementary school grade cluster of K-3 with an administrative leader and dedicated team who are charged with establishing proficiency in basic literacy and numeracy by the end of grade three.

Define benchmarks for progress toward that goal and tracking systems for the whole child. Ensure alignment vertically and assign accountability clearly for academic and psychosocial SMART goals.

Plan proactively, but assess progress and remediate as necessary. Create a planning cycle of continuous plan adjustments and growth.

Offer extended day programs for play, academic support, and social skill building.

Grades Four through Eight – Catch-Up Time

Analyze data from the lower elementary grades to identify students with special needs or risk factors. Pursue academic accommodations in the general education setting. Supplement content courses with special skill-building sessions to bring entering students to a common level of proficiency.

Engage all of the children in the dialogue about their learning. Set goals with them and have them chart their own progress. Accentuate their physical, intellectual, and psychosocial growth in anticipation of puberty. Intend their self-awareness as higher level learners in upper elementary grades – especially prior to onset of puberty.

Continue to plan, defining benchmarks and accountabilities, ensuring vertical alignment, and measuring progress.

Create extended day programs that offer options for skills laboratories, homework support, and extracurricular activities. Identify students with special strengths or talents for deeper engagement and development, e.g., STEM, writing, art, or music.

High School – Rushing Toward Readiness

Engage students immediately in academics with a vision for college and career readiness. Quickly assess entering students for academic progress to date and offer remediation to bring students to a common skill base. Offer extended learning opportunities to make advanced placement accessible to a broader number of students.

Open, or continue, the dialogue with the students about their individual growth plans and goals. Integrate personal interests and objectives into discretionary assignments.

Challenge, challenge, challenge…in preparation for college.


Entry filed under: Issues and Ideas, School Transformation, Student Outcomes.

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