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New Programs Propel DoDEA Students Toward Excellence

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2002 – New elective high school reading and algebra support classes will soon be available throughout DoD's school system.

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Elizabeth Middlemiss, associate director for education at the DoD Education Activity in Arlington, Va., said new reading and algebra support classes will be offered to all DoDEA high school students in the fall. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The classes also support recently enacted national legislation that promotes improved learning, said Elizabeth Middlemiss, DoD Education Activity's associate director for education. The new classes, she noted, begin at all 56 DoDEA high schools stateside and overseas in the fall.

She said the classes are part of DoDEA curriculum enhancements to be implemented over five years. They follow the spirit of the "No Child Left Behind" Act signed by President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002, she noted.

The thrust of the legislation, discussed in detail at www.nochildleftbehind.gov, is to challenge American schools to improve the quality of education and student performance from kindergarten through high school.

While DoD schools are not subject to either the mandates or sanctions of the reform legislation, Middlemiss said, DoDEA schools already have many components of No Child Left Behind. That includes strong reading programs, increased use of technology in the classroom, and rigorous student assessments, she noted.

"We feel we're right on target," she emphasized.

Although most of DoDEA's high school students read well, she noted, some students just need additional instruction. The new reading course will address how to read, she said, and also will show students how to quickly ascertain key information from textbooks. Students who might benefit from the extra help may take a new algebra support course along with standard algebra instruction, she added.

Advanced placement courses in several subjects are available to eligible students, she said. Such accelerated courses typically offer college credit, she added, and students normally take them during their junior and senior years.

Middlemiss emphasized that parents should talk to school guidance counselors about the availability of the new reading and algebra support courses, as well as advanced instruction.

Computer literacy, she noted, is also a key component in DoDEA's educational vision. For example, she said, computer use is embedded in DoDEA's new social studies program.

"They're very relevant materials and different, perhaps, from some of the old social studies books that we remember because they link to (computer) technology in so many ways," she explained.

Technology and learning go hand in hand, Middlemiss said. In fact, she added, computer literacy has joined reading, writing and arithmetic as a key educational issue.

Knowledge of and use of computers, she added, "is going to carry youngsters both within the classroom and outside the classroom, to (enhanced) levels of research and understanding of what's available to them in the learning process."

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Related Sites:
Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Web site

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