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Improving Education

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Social Issues

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Introduction and Program Overview
Due to the increased accountability attached to student scores, the focus of educators has shifted beyond the realm of the regular school day to providing intensive instruction in a smaller group setting. Extended day is an after school program, held on campus, designed to target students with low achievement in writing, reading and math on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills or TAAS test. The program was started during the 1996- 1997 school year and services approximately 125 students per year which is about 22 % of the total population. Out of the total population of 569 students, 36.6% are considered "at-risk" therefore, a large percentage of the extended day participants are determined to be at-risk. Each extended day session encompasses a time frame of three to four weeks prior to the administration of TAAS. Instruction is delivered 2.5 hours each day for three days a week. Language Arts and Math teachers are the primary personnel used to facilitate the instruction and initiate the curriculum. "Further, at-risk students are best served when the teacher provides direct instruction in reading and math." ( ) During the regular school day, students receive a variety of teaching approaches when learning the curriculum. Extended day, however, takes a more "hands on" approach to learning those objectives which are identified as needing improvement during the selection process. A ten to one student/teacher ratio allows for individualized attention to be given. By having a smaller ratio, " frequent monitoring and assessment of pupil progress, high expectations, and feedback that is performanced based " ( ) occurs. Because these students are at-risk of not obtaining sufficient scores, attendance is crucial . In a study completed by Natiello and Dornbusch(1984) , the researchers found "that students exposed to more challenging standards were more likely to attend class and more likely to do well in school than students who were exposed to only teacher warmth and support." ( ) In order to encourage attendance, transportation is provided for students who use "not having a ride home" as an excuse for nonattendance. Attendance incentives are also given in the form of daily snacks and a pizza party at the completion of the program. Funding is provided by a grant from the Texas Education Agency's Optional Extended Year Program. School districts must meet the following criteria to receive grant funds.
- School districts in which at least 35 percent of the children are from economically disadvantaged ...

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Keywords: improving education system, improving education in the philippines, improving education in africa, improving educational outcomes, improving education in rural areas, improving education in america, improving education system in india, improving educational outcomes for aboriginal students

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