Principal Sees Course Rigor as Basis for Common-Core Readiness
As schools in 46 states begin implementing the Common Core State Standards in earnest, many educators are wrestling with the question of how to get students who are falling short of existing standards somehow to leap over the new, higher bar. Veteran principal Carol Burris believes she has an answer: Make their classes harder.
At South Side High School in Rockville Center, N.Y., where Burris has been principal for 13 years, nearly every student—including English-language learners and those receiving special education services—takes advanced classes. When students are struggling, they do not receive remediation or a pared-down curriculum. Instead, they are supported on grade-level material and pushed harder. There is no low-level track for students without plans to go to college. Everyone at the school prepares to go.
The 1,100-student school participates in the International Baccalaureate program, an intensive pre-college program built around advanced academic work. Until last year, students took honors core courses through their junior year, at which point they could choose between honors and IB. Then, in September 2011, Burris took the unusual step of making IB English 11 a...
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