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NPR has a good news story from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. Brimley Elementary School that serves many low-income students, and it is thriving. More than half the students are Native American.
What’s the secret of their success? Federal aid of an extra $1 million. And it makes a difference.
The principal explains what he does with the extra money:
“So that does help, big time. That really gives us an extra pot of money,” says Routhier. He adds that the school uses that pot for things like hiring more staff and early interventions for struggling students. There’s a resource teacher for special education and a speech and language pathologist.
“First-graders who are having a tough time with reading and writing get one-on-one time with a specialist. There’s an intervention teacher for kids in fourth, fifth and sixth grades — they mostly focus on math. There are teachers’ aids to help out in all the kindergarten, first- and second-grade classrooms. And class sizes are small, averaging 22 kids.”
Teachers regularly give diagnostic assessments to see what the students need and how they are progressing.
There is no miracle ingredient, no silver bullet. It makes south sense that you wonder how it became a news story. But in these crazy times, when everyone has a plan to change everything, common sense seems shocking.