No Child Left Behind

What is No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?

“The No Child Left Behind Act provides new education options for many families. This federal law allows parents to choose other public schools or take advantage of free tutoring if their child attends a school that needs improvement. The law also supports the growth of more independent charter schools, funds some services for children in private schools, and provides certain protections for homeschooling parents. Finally, it requires that states and local school districts provide information to help parents make informed educational choices for their child.” - US Department of Education

If your school is in need of improvement, talk to your school principal or other administrator to find out why and to inquire about the school's proposed solutions: Inquire about school improvement plans to address areas of need. Inquire about ways you can help your student do better on the state testing. Consult with your child's teacher(s) to learn more about your child's academic progress and what you can do to help. Inquire about how you can be involved in the school improvement efforts, for example by:

  1. Being a parent representative on a committee to review and help implement improvement plans, the written parent involvement policy/plan/guidelines, the school-parent compact, etc. 
  2. Getting involved with your school's parent-teacher group such as the PTA or PTO, and specifically supporting their efforts to respond to school improvement needs 
  3. Receiving training to deliver parent support workshops specific to the subject(s) and grade level(s) where the school is in need of improvement (call NH State PIRC for more information about this option). 
  4. Running for or participating in your local school board, especially regarding decisions that may be affecting academic achievement (for example, class size or other funding issues)

If after following the steps above, you do not feel confident that the members of your school community are doing everything they can to address the gaps in academic performance, AND if you feel that as a result your own child's academic performance at the school may suffer, you may want to consider transferring your child to another school in the district, as long as that school is not also a SINI. Before doing so, consider carefully the various consequences of such a move, including:

  • the additional length of time your child will need to be on a bus 
  • the social and emotional impact on your child of the loss of his or her teacher(s), reduced contact with friends, etc., and 
  • the possible effects of the move on his or her academic performance, including the possibility that the new school will be using a different curriculum and/or be working at a different level with the subject matter.

A NEWFOUND EXAMPLE:

When the Newfound (NH) Area School District found its Middle School in need of improvement under NCLB, they decided to involve the students in a game of "Let's do our best and beat last year's scores!" Everyone in the community got involved, from parents and teachers to the Police Chief and the local radio station. Students were encouraged and rewarded for preparing for doing well on the tests through such strategies as pep rallies and raffle prizes. School staff were also coached on supporting each student. The result? With all of that support and with that atmosphere of fun, 78% of students achieved growth targets, and the school made AYP in both Reading in Math.

IT'S UP TO YOU

When the federal government adopted No Child Left Behind, it recognized the power of parents and wrote them into the plan. Parents know their children best, can often encourage them to be their best, and can bring additional experience and support into the school to help make sure all students can reach their maximum potential. If you learn that your school is a SINI, don't panic. Find out how your child and/or other students need to raise test scores and do whatever you can to contribute to the success of your school. After all, it takes a village to raise a child... and it just may take your help as an involved parent to help the students in your community to reach the worthy and ambitious goals of No Child Left Behind.

WHAT IS MY CHILD SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING?

Understanding the educational goals for your child is an important part of parent involvement. But school has changed a lot since most parents were students, and what is happening in your child’s classroom may seem very mysterious to you. One way to learn more about what your child should be learning is to look at the state Grade Level Expectations (GLE) and Grade Span Expectations which can be found on the NH Department of Education website.

The GLE’s are the standards by which students are tested on the state assessment test, the New England Common Assessment Program or NECAP. In response to these new standards the Manchester School district has revised the Mathematics and Language Arts Curricula for all grades K-12. 

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