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Plan OK'd to improve pupil performance

The Lockport School Board has approved a plan that should help middle school pupils improve their performance in core subjects like mathematics and English.

Assistant Superintendent Susan Nablo said the plan calls for setting up "six committees or teams" that would investigate -- over a three- to six-month period -- specific areas of concern and come up with proposals to adjust programs, policies and procedures to make Emmet Belknap and North Park middle schools more effective.

The committees -- to be made up of administrators, teachers, parents and students -- are expected to be formed soon.

One committee will investigate how to improve student reading and literacy skills. Another will deal with special education, and another on how to get parents more effectively involved in their children's education, she said.

"We'll also have a committee looking at the transition of students going from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school and from high school out into the world.

"We want to make sure we are preparing our students the best we can so they don't go, for example, into middle school feeling ill-prepared, timid and frightened. We want them to go with confidence that they have the skills to do what they need to do," Nablo said.

Two other committees will deal with data analysis and how to use curriculums such as art, music, technology and physical education to boost student achievement in core subjects like science, social studies, English and mathematics.

Each committee is to be made up of school administrators, teachers, parents and students, according to the plan, which was drawn up by the district's Steering Committee, Nablo said.

The recommendations for the formation of these teams were made for the middle schools because "typically, scores are higher at the elementary level and pretty good in high school. But something seems to happen in middle school, and we don't know what that is. What we do know is we have to make some changes to make things improve," Nablo said.

She said the Steering Committee "really examined everything and this is what it feels will help."

The school district has 1,244 pupils enrolled in Emmet Belknap and North Park middle schools this year, 59 fewer than last year, according to Superintendent Bruce T. Fraser.


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