Lincoln County Superintendent of Schools Steve Boynton met in person and electronically with a number of Lincoln County news reporters on Thursday and laid out a plan to begin to improve basic education and thereby raise student test scores dramatically over the next few years.
But with a 60% student turn-over year to year, that’ll be a tough mission. And by his own admission, with Lincoln County’s very high family poverty rate, the cards are already strongly stacked against he and the teachers. But they’re plowing ahead anyway.
Boynton says the two biggest factors in predicting academic achievement is the income of the student’s parents and whether their parents graduated from college. Lincoln County students don’t have much of either. That’s why 75% of students don’t do that well in school. But he also admitted that America’s education system is still running mostly on an old model. But new testing data is showing educators a way out of this dilemma.
The model takes note that when students fall behind they tend to stay behind academically because their classmates, and themselves, keep getting promoted to the next grade.
Boynton says Lincoln County Schools will launch a new program that focuses on each and every student. Their strengths, weaknesses and aptitude will all be examined and challenged. Boynton says if a student is having a problem with math, and it’s math he or she should have learned in a previous grade, that student literally walks down the hall and goes through the classroom door and takes a seat in a lower grade classroom and learns what he or she absolutely needs to learn – in any subject.
Educators around the country continue to call for all day kindergarten which Oregon now has. It establishes a better base of knowledge so kids are ready and primed to learn more and more by the time they’re in first grade. It’s like a jet-engine boost to their learning. Boynton says he’s excited about this recent addition to the school curriculum.
Boynton also says that there will be a full court press to help students that are under-performing, giving them lots of one-on-one teaching accompanied by close coordination with their families. And families must expect the school district to make a good case that students not only learn at school, but also at home – and that parents always play a crucial role in their child’s education.
Boynton says the schools must help children suffering homelessness and hunger. All students in the Lincoln County School District are provided breakfast and lunch at their school. Boynton says you can’t expect a child to learn anything when he or she is distracted by hunger.
Boynton told reporters that there will also be an emphasis placed on how children apply their knowledge. Boynton says the way kids learn is through real-life events. It’s this “application” approach to learning that shines a big light on how young people naturally learn.
More to come, for sure….