Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maybe No Child Left Behind isn't a Failure After All

Don't want to forget to remind you that I've got a spot open for you in tonight's Brain Gym Basics TeleChat. Learn to lower stress, stop procastinating, and stay on track.

Was looking for a location for the June, Colorado Springs, Brain Gym class this morning and thought of my friend Debbie. Wondered if her school might be interested in playing host.

Since two teachers come free in exchange for the room, figured it could be a win/win. When her school email bounced, I gave her a ring.

Now she's working with Success for All, a reading and math program used in more than 1,500 schools around the country. And was delighted to find that a teacher she's working with in a North Dakota classroom was doing Brain Gym with the kids too.

The program's not cheap, 75,000 to initiate and $10,000 a year to keep it going. But what a success it's been. Principals at Title I schools have said it's worth every penny. Because Success for All meets the Federal requirements of Reading First (a requirement of No Child Left Behind), grant funding is available.

The Seattle Times reports that it's common to find students reading all the time and loving it! And school officials are loving it too since they've seen a boost in test scores.

At Minnie H. School in North Dakota, only 23 percent of the kids read at grade level. After implementing Success for All, one amazed 1st grade teacher reported an entire class reading at grade level.

In the Bronx, PS 65 became the 5th most improved school in NYC after using both reading component and Math Wings of this remarkable program.

Success for All backs up their claim with the numbers, including state by state by state statistics.

To improve reading, Success for All includes programs emphasizing intense and immediate intervention, language development, family literacy, helping struggling readers, building phonics skills and reading comprehension. And works to coordinate family, community, and school resources.

What makes Success for All work? It's teacher and whole school training and committment plus persistence. Same thing that makes Brain Gym work.

When a teacher or a parent tells me Brain Gym doesn't work, I ask "How often do you do Brain Gym with the kids?" Invariably the answer is "Oh, we tried it a couple of times."

A couple of times just doesn't do it--whether it's Success for All or Brain Gym. And I vote for using both programs! Success for All is the curriculum, the motivation, the involvement. Brain Gym gets the brain moving to work efficiently and quickly.

With all the negative press about No Child Left Behind--even in this blog--it's exciting to report on the success of Success for All. I love being wrong when something that helps kids works after all--if even just some of the time.


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