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Lessons from Our Nation's Schools

Education World frequently visits schools across the country. While on the road, we talk with educators, students, and parents to learn what is working well in their schools. The result is Education World's Lessons from Our Nation's Schools series. All the articles below are part of that series.




From time to time, Education World takes an in-depth look at issues facing our nation's schools. Be sure to check out these three series of articles:

  • Teaming Up to Achieve
    Ed World spent a year with the staff of a school in need of improvement.
  • In a Sub's Shoes
    Education World news editor Ellen Delisio spent a year as a substitute teacher.
  • What Ever It Takes
    Ed World spends a year with the seventh grade team at Bennet Middle School.

Believe, Achieve, Triumph!
Charter School Inspires Students to Reach Higher

In telling students to Believe, Achieve, Triumph! the faculty at Csar Chvez Academy Middle School hope to inspire students to see beyond immediate challenges and set high expectations for the future.

LACES Threads High Expectations Throughout School
High expectations, demanding courses, and dedicated faculty combine to give the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) the feel and results of a pricey prep school rather than an urban magnet school.

Students Make Connections With Small School
Through Connections Schools emphasis on peace issues and non-violent conflict resolution, teachers not only hope to create a safer school environment, but change agents to send into a troubled Chicago neighborhood and the larger community.

Students Go Back in Time for a Week
Wearing long skirts and straw hats, third graders from Woodstock Elementary School spend a week learning in a one-room schoolhouse the way youngsters did in the mid-1800s. From using quill pens to rolling hoops, it's quite an education.

Co-Principals Face Challenges Together
Many principals have days when they wish they weren't alone at the top. Mary Gentili and Jeanne Wall say they have found that working as co-principals gives them the help and support they need to efficiently run a school with 1,100 K-2 students.

Welcome to Bennet Middle School
Bennet, the Manchester, Connecticut, middle school that does "whatever it takes," readies for another school year of finding ways to help a diverse group of students succeed.

Who Are We Proud to Be? Amistad Academy
Using chants, rewards, consequences, and lots of hard work, staff members at Amistad Academy charter school in New Haven, Connecticut, are helping urban students set and meet goals.

Treasuring Kids and Their Education on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
As the smallest K-12 public school in North Carolina, Ocracoke School strives to provide diverse learning opportunities in a place that can be reached only by ferry or plane. The small number of students and the isolation on their island home on the Outer Banks foster a close relationship between the school and community.

Learning With Laptops: An Urban School Shows Gains
Not everyone thinks of Internet research as a third-grade skill. But it is at East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut. Third and fourth graders are assigned laptops, and not only have test scores increased, but student motivation as well.

Hands-On Science, New Friends Are Magnet School's Draw
The hands-on science curriculum Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, Connecticut, brings together students from five communities to learn about research and one another.

Mexican Arts, Culture Frame Learning
Mexican arts and culture are woven through the curriculum at Chicago's Telpochcalli Elementary School. The school's mission is to help students appreciate their heritage and to use studies of the art and culture of Mexico teach other content areas.

Responsive Classroom Practices in Action
Once Responsive Classroom basics are in place, students take on more freedom and responsibility, and teachers can step back a little from a traditional role. Education World looks at how Responsive Classroom practices play out in schools and classrooms.

Responsive Classroom Practices Teach the Whole Child
By intertwining social and academic learning, advocates of the Responsive Classroom system say, children become more independent learners and more considerate people. Both students and teachers benefit.

Magnet School Draws Praise in First Year
As a multiple intelligences' magnet school's first year drew to a close, Education World found people just as upbeat as they were in the fall and eager to share stories about students' being more engaged in learning.

High Expectations Yield High Achievement
High-end research in areas such as physics, electronics, and biotechnology is a way of life at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. The magnet school prepares students to function in a technological world.

Magnet School Helps Students Develop, Appreciate Different Talents
A new elementary magnet school built on the campus of the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut, is striving to educate a diverse student body, using the multiple intelligences' theories of psychologist Howard Gardner.

Reporter's Notebook: Native Americans Struggle, Build Pride
Education World traveled to rural Maine to visit two Native American reservation schools. Here is a description of how the relationship between Native Americans and the U.S. government evolved from enmity to separation.

Teachers on Mission to Save Heritage
Native American students have responded eagerly to the introduction of native studies to the curriculums at Indian Island and Beatrice Rafferty schools. Tribal leaders hope that the focus on native studies will help this generation recapture its now struggling culture.

Reservation Schools Preserve Cultures, Boost Academics
Infused with state and federal money, but facing more requirements and students with challenges, staff at two Native American schools talked with Education World about meeting their two missions: passing on Native American culture and boosting academics.

Native American Schools Ponder, Assail Dropout Rates
With the high school dropout rate for Native Americans among the highest in the country, reservation and school officials are searching for new ways to keep teens in school.

Principal Primes Kids to Succeed
Principal Donald W. Salm told Education World he is impressed with the caring staff and community members of Beatrice Rafferty School. Salm talks about life on the reservation and his goals for the school's students.

Indian Island Principal Reflects On Native School's Goals, Challenges
Linda McLeod, principal of Indian Island School, reflects on the challenges reservation educators must overcome, and how those challenges are often similar to those at other rural public schools.

More Than Reading Scores and Stereotypes: The Voices of City Teachers and Students
During an Education World visit to three New York City schools, the children offered insights about their lives in and out of school, and the adults talked about their struggle and dedication to help these children overcome challenges.

Common Elements of Effective Schools
Education World explores the strategies educators at KIPP Academy Charter School, Mother Hale Academy, and Crossroads School are using to break the cycle of failure for students living in some of New York City's most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Reporters' Notebook
Winter weather and reluctant cab drivers don't deter Education World from the goal of the Lessons from Our Nation's Schools series -- to explore schools and communities to find out what our nation's educators are doing right.

KIPP Principal Talks About Hard Work, Success, and Challenges
David Levin, the KIPP Academy Charter School principal, talks to Education World about how the KIPP philosophy of hard work helps students achieve. Levin explains that there can be no excuses, from either the students or the adults in charge of their learning.

Curriculum, Caring, and Crack Vials: A City Principal's Perspective
Crossroads School principal Ann Weiner, who has collected crack vials and fought with city government, offers her views about how structure, staff, and knowledge about every child can help disadvantaged students overcome challenges.

NYC Program Fast-Tracks Teachers to Needy Schools
Facing teacher shortages, especially dire shortages in its neediest schools, the NYC Board of Education is offering mid-career professionals and recent college graduates a six-week summer teacher-training program.