Greene Schools Try To Close Achievement Gaps

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

October 18, 2006

Teachers, Jeanette Curtis and Ginger Carver are relying on one another to get their lessons taught.

"It's helping us to just support each other but then one of us can take a group of children aside if one group of children needs to do something different from another group, then there's two of us," 3rd grade teacher Jeanette Curtis said.

"Team teaching" is just one of the new concepts implemented by administrators after some Greene County students fell short on test scores.

"There's some rather large achievement gaps especially with some disadvantaged students, special need students and there in some instances 15 points or 20 points behind the other subgroups," said David Jeck, Greene County superintendent.

Administrators have now devised more specific instructional action plans and the collaborative teaching is just one area of change. Instructors are also using a new bookless method of teaching math to students at Ruckersville Elementary.

"It involves the children, the children are always doing hands on activities and they're always having to think," explained 3rd grade special education teacher Ginger Carver.

Both instructors maintain the same pace of teaching within their classes, this keeps kids with special needs on the same track as those in general classes, or at least for now.

"If it did come to an issue where one class needed to break away from the other class then we would do that, we would do what's best for the kids," Ms. Curtis said.

Unusual methods? Maybe, but small improvements are already evident.

"They're improving from the beginning of the year, but we have a long way to go," Curtis added.

Student's performance on the Standards of Learning tests didn't prompt the change. Because President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy breaks those results down into specific subgroups of students, administrators say that's where they were falling short and why these changes are being made.

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