Question: I'm having an issue with "Focused Fridays" in the middle school. Isn't this taking "teaching to the test" to the extreme? What about those students who don't need all of the extra assistance, such as those in advanced math or English? Why not offer them enrichment classes or advanced classes instead of boring them with the same old, same old? Lastly, is my child really getting targeted ELA and math instruction if it is being taught by someone who isn't an ELA or math teacher?
Answer: Earlier this year, our middle school was identified as a "School in Need of Improvement" under the federal No Child Left Behind law. If we continued to do the same things we'd always done in the middle school, we could expect to get the same results -- and those results are not acceptable. Put simply, we've had to think out of the box, and "Focused Fridays" are part of that thinking.
In general, Focused Fridays are designed to let us provide direct instruction to students according to their needs. The format allows us to provide enrichment to high-level learners and prescriptive instruction to lower-leverl learners. There are also some students who are near proficiency, and this extra focus might be enough to push them over the line.
As a district, we're doing the best we can to provide quality instruction to our students with limited resources, and Focused Fridays are just one part of that.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, Superintendent of Schools
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