February 2004

Reforming education

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A new Arizona high school tries a different teaching concept

by Kate Gawlik
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Education reform is bound to be a popular topic during 2004, a presidential election year. Democratic presidential candidates will debate their plans to improve the U.S. education system while President Bush touts his efforts related to the No Child Left Behind Act.

Many school districts and private institutions also are trying to revolutionize education by creating different campus atmospheres and more rigorous courses. The Deer Valley Unified School District in Arizona took a different spin on education and created High School No. 5 in Anthem, Ariz., a school designed around a smaller learning community.

The high school, which officially will be named by parents and community members before it opens to freshmen and sophomores in August, will divide students into eight houses, or clusters. Students mainly will attend classes within their individual houses—each house will have computer and science labs—but teachers will be encouraged to collaborate with other clusters. By 2006, the school will host grades nine through 12 with at least 2,000 students.

Photos courtesy of Canonsburg, Pa.-based Centimark...

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