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Archive for July, 2006

One of the questions being considered by the Superintendent’s committee on Nathan Bishop is whether it should reopen as a K-8 or traditional middle school. At the DeJong forums, held city-wide in April, people where asked whether they preferred K-8 or traditional middle schools. Many East Siders at the Hope High forum felt they did not have the information necessary to make the choice.

In order to give citizens good information on which to base choices for their schools, ESPEC will host a panel discussion on September 6th, at which experts will discuss current research on the theory and practice of K-8 and middle schools.  Panelists will include:

Ken Fish- Johnson and Wales University.  Former Director of School Improvement for the RI Department of Education.  (Ken runs Exchange City, which you may have read about in the ProJo.)

John Niska- Middle School expert at Rhode Island College.  Elected as one of 12 National researchers to the Middle Level Research Council of the American Educational Research Association

Julia Steiny- Providence Journal education columnist and former School Board member.

We will announce additional panelists and the location of the panel in the coming weeks, but please mark your calendar today. We hope you will be able join us on the 6th.

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Exchange City

A few weeks ago, the ProJo ran a story about Barrington children visiting Exchange City in Portsmouth, NH. It’s a program where kids learn how to run a business- handle payroll, pay bills and manage operations.

This is a great program, run by Ken Fish, and I was glad to see it get coverage. I thought I’d note, though, that Providence Schools also participate in the program. Greene Middle took a trip to the site in May. A bunch of parents (including yours truly) went along.

I just wanted to note one more way that Providence Schools offer great opportunities for the kids.  Here’s a link to the story.

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The July 15 New York Times is reporting on a US Dept. of Education study which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools:

The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better.

Students in private schools typically score higher than those in public schools, a finding confirmed in the study. The report then dug deeper to compare students of like racial, economic and social backgrounds. When it did that, the private school advantage disappeared in all areas except eighth-grade reading.

Registered Times users can read the story here.

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East Side Monthly

ESPEC steering committee member Sam Zurier has another column in East Side Monthly. Among other topics, Sam discusses the catch-22 faced on the East Side: the lack of good-quality public education drives people (at least, those who can afford it) to enroll in private schools or to move out of the city; then the lower enrollment numbers became the basis of proposals to close East Side schools. Sam says:

The right way to allocate facilities and schools is to support the right of all families in all neighborhoods to quality public education, instead of making cuts based upon families’ decisions not to attend public schools that admittedly failed them.

Unfortunately, there’s no on-line link to the story, so be sure to pick up a copy of ESM when you do your shopping.

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