America’s Choice

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2005

to debut

at Southside

Special to the times-journal

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In 1988, before most states were seriously considering holding all their students to higher academic expectations, The National Center on Education and Economy was in the process of developing a set of powerful academic performance standards tied to international benchmarks.

This gave birth in 1997 to the America’s Choice School Design, which quickly became a nationally recognized reform model with its own unique focus-high quality classroom instruction built around clearly stated academic performance standards.

The Dallas County School System has selected Southside High School as the implementation site for this innovative instructional program, through the creation of a Ninth-Grade Academy.

The junior high wing of the school will be renovated and will house the entire ninth-grade population.

All first-time ninth-graders will participate in the America’s Choice Design Program with a select group of teachers who have all been specifically trained in specialized teaching skills.

According to Ms. Barbara Barge, team design coach, a thirteen-member teaching team will address students’ needs through a proactive, rather than a reactive approach.

&8220;Each student will have an individually tailored lesson plan,&8221; Barge explained, &8220;and in every subject, writing and visualization talents will be taught and utilized to teach problem-solving skills. Our goal is to have these students with the same teachers throughout the ninth and tenth grades, that is what we are working towards,&8221; Barge said, &8220;to ensure a seamless and cohesive educational experience.&8221;