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Editorial: School innovation shows good results

Nov. 09, 2012 @ 11:58 PM

Give us a little flexibility on the local level, and we can show results.

That has been the message from teachers and administrators for a number of years, and a recent effort at the Village of Barboursville Elementary shows the idea can work.

Through West Virginia's Innovation Zone program, the school created a new curriculum that blends science into all subject areas. School officials report that WESTEST 2 scores have improved not just in science, but in reading, math and social studies as well.

For example, the approach might begin with a hands-on science experiment, but the students also use math, writing and other skills to record their findings and assess the results. The physical activity also seems to help engage students.

"You learn more by seeing what happens," fifth-grader Will Turman told The Herald-Dispatch. "You can remember it better."

The higher test scores are encouraging, especially in the area of science, which is so important to our nation's future.

But it is also great to see local schools being allowed to try something different.

Certainly national education programs, such as No Child Left Behind, have good intentions. But they easily become too "top down" and driven by standardized testing.

Programs such as the Barboursville Elementary science-based curriculum show that given the opportunity, local teachers can find a creative way to help students learn.

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