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Lazy days of summer ... in class.

For now, it looks like Ohio sixth-grader Mikeidra Mitchell is not being left behind. She will attend seventh grade this fall, but not without a detour to summer school.

According to the Ohio Proficiency Test, Mikeidra improved in reading and math, scoring 215 in reading when passing is 200 and scoring 189 in math when passing is 200. She shows talent in writing, but science and citizenship scores were each 198, when passing is 200.

Hamilton School District's summer school will offer extra help and intervention so her transition to Garfield Middle School this fall will be smoother. In addition, she will take part in reading and math labs at the school, which provide intervention to those who did not pass the sixth grade proficiency test.

Starting off the past school year with one A, three Bs and one D has brought her more attention. And her fifth-grade proficiency test scores showed she was on the cusp of proficiency for reading, math and science, but needed individualized work.

At Buchanan Elementary School, Mikeidra rose to the challenge given her As and Bs in the fourth quarter. "The biggest change in Mikeidra is that she has way more self-confidence and she's having fun learning," says classroom teacher Kathy Issenmann. "She still gives awesome effort."

Other tests given to sixth-graders over the past year have shown improvement, Issenmann says. Last fall, Mikeidra tested at a 2.8 grade level in reading comprehension by Accelerated Reader software program. She rose 2.5 years, or two years and five months, to be at 5.3 level.

Buchanan Principal Tim Carr is sure Mikeidra, with summer school coupled with parental support, will not be left behind. "I am confident Mikeidra will make it to the scores she needs to attain in the near future," he says.

But achievement gaps exist with 78 percent of white students at or above reading proficiency nationwide, but only 53 percent of black students and 60 percent of Hispanic students at or above proficiency. In math, nearly 68 percent of white students are at or above proficiency, but only 33 percent of blacks and nearly 47 percent of Hispanics have reached this level.

Five years ago, Ohio aligned new academic content standards to the curriculum, contributing to success, says J.C. Benton, spokesman for Ohio Department of Education. But the nagging achievement gap led the state Board of Education to establish in 2002 the Closing Achievement Gaps Task Force, comprised of educators, parents, and business and community people. The task force created three strategies including: focusing on high achievement for all, such as developing measurable outcomes that emphasize everyone's role in closing gaps; ensuring that educators are prepared and supported; and adapting structures to student needs, such as access to preschool and full-day kindergarten.

Mikeidra Mitchell, Sixth-grader, Hamilton (Ohio) School District Favorite animal: Tiger Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii, hopes to go some day Favorite warm weather pastime: Playing outside with her brother
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Title Annotation:Inside the law: analyzing, debating and explaining no child left behind
Publication:District Administration
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:States look for tech edge in NCLB.
Next Article:Summer program aims to boost reading. (Inside the law: analyzing, debating and explaining no child left behind.

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