Educational programs or activities designed to solve problems or address issues in schools will be the focus of this column. Readers are invited to submit items for possible inclusion to: Models, Education Week, Suite 560, 1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
Working from the premise that schools can and should play a role in the early detection and prevention of child abuse and neglect, the Lisbon, Me., school system has developed a "Model School-Based Child Abuse and Neglect Program."
Supported by an initial $25,000 grant from the Maine Department of Human Services and operated in collaboration with the Department of Educational and Cultural Services, the three-year project was designed to increase awareness among school personnel, students, and community members.
Since teachers in Maine are required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse, according to Sara Davis, project director, the first task for school and social-service officials was to develop reporting and follow-up procedures for teachers.
The officials also conducted awareness programs for elementary-school teachers. According to Ms. Davis, the project is developing a "prevention curriculum" for K-12 students, holding a community forum to involve local citizens in the issue, and publishing a directory of community resources for families.
More information is available from Richard Ladner, superintendent of Lisbon schools, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls, Me. 04252; (207) 353-6711.
A project that emphasizes a "total systems" approach to school improvement was launched this fall in Iowa. The Iowa School Improvement Model, a cooperative effort of Iowa State University and four Iowa school districts, was developed to improve teaching, administration, and student achievement, according to Richard Manatt, director of the project and professor of educational administration at isu
"It is a total systems approach for raising student achievement," explained Mr. Manatt. "We measure how the teachers teach, how the administrators lead, how the students achieve, and then develop staff recommendations to improve all of these areas."
The three-year, $17,000 project will be paid for by the four districts. They are: Lewis-Central Community School District, Council Bluffs Community School District, Melcher-Dallas Community School District, and Howard-Winneshiek Community School District.
Each participating district will have a school-improvement task force co-chaired by a school administrator and a faculty member from isu's college of education, who will serve as a consultant. Other task-force members are parents, teachers, school-board members, administrators, students, and other community members. Local decisionmaking, the project's developers hope, will ensure a program tailor-made for each of the districts.
Further information is available from Mr. Manatt at 109 Morrill Hall, E005 Quad, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011; (515) 294-5521.
A criminal-justice education program is coming to Texas's elementary schools. Designed to help prevent crime by teaching elementary-school children to understand and respect the law, the program is supported by a $111,153 grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the office of Gov. Mark White.
When the project is initiated in 25 elementary schools in February, children in grades 4 and 5 will visit courts and police stations and participate in classroom presentations given on a volunteer basis by professionals in the community, according to a spokesman in the Governor's office. The test program could be expanded to other schools following an evaluation next May.
"Even though there have been other programs in this area," said Governor White in a prepared statement announcing the program, "there still are too many youngsters in Texas who are not getting to see just what happens in the criminal-justice system and how it could affect them."
More information may be obtained from Rob Wiley, executive director, P.O. Box 12428, Capitol Station, Austin, Tex. 78711; (512) 475-1061.
A group of faculty members at Oklahoma State University is helping high schools prepare their students better for higher education.
Members of the "Competencies Team," which started on a small scale last year and is now finding its way into more Oklahoma schools, meet with high-school teachers and administrators to help them develop ways to improve the skills students will need to succeed in college, according to Robert Graalman, director of the project. In courses designed for specific schools' curricula, the team members focus on one or all of the six competencies outlined in the College Board's Project EQuality: reading, writing, studying, reasoning, mathematics, and speaking and listening.
Since the team's start, Mr. Graalman said, "the College Board has taken notice of the efforts and sent a representative here to talk of formalizing the structure as a consortium" that could be replicated in other states.
In addition, the team visits high schools "to discuss problems which are common to all educators," Mr. Graalman said. "We found a great desire on the part of high-school faculty just to talk about education. ... That sort of exchange and interaction has probably been the highlight of the program for many of us."
The Competencies Team began in the spring of 1982 when Smith Hold, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, offered osu's assistance to school officials who were interested in improving their students' achievement. To date, nine schools have been involved in the program, which is offered free of charge to the schools, Mr. Graalman said, and he has received inquiries from other interested administrators.
For more information, contact Mr. Graalman, A&S Extension, 202 Life Sciences East, osu, Stillwater, Okla. 74078; (405) 624-5658.--ab