Kaycee Eckhardt’s high school classroom is on the front line of the struggle here to address students’ academic needs in the post-Hurricane Katrina era.
In a two-hour class, Ms. Eckhardt uses a highly structured intervention program called READ 180 to teach reading to 15 freshmen, some of whom are repeating 9th grade. Most of her students are behind by at least two grade levels. In some cases, they lag by as much as four, or more, grade levels. Six students in the class have special needs.
Three of the freshmen, though, read at or above grade level, and probably should be taking a regular English course. But there’s only one such class for 9th graders at Joseph S. Clark High School this year, and it already exceeds 25 students—the class-size limit...
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