A School Where Content is King

by Robert Pondiscio
May 21st, 2008

Education Week’s Kathleen Kennedy Manzo has been working on an article about Core Knowledge for several weeks and it’s up today in the free content area of EdWeek’s website. Much of the piece is built around her visit to New Holland Core Knowledge Academy in Gainesville, Georgia.

While many schools have narrowed the curriculum since Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, doubling up on reading and math instruction to prepare students for crucial tests in those subjects, this school has embraced a far broader course of study. Each day, its students tackle a rich and rigorous sequence of lessons in history, science, and the arts, as well as mathematics and reading/language arts.

New Holland is a Core Knowledge “visitation school,” which means officials from the Core Knowledge Foundation have visited the school to ensure that the curriculum is being fully implemented; it serves as a demonstration school for educators interested in adopting the Core Knowledge curriculum. Manzo writes:

Principal [Jill] Goforth and other educators at New Holland say the curriculum is a key reason why the school has made adequate yearly progress—a central NCLB hurdle—each year, with some 85 percent of students meeting benchmarks on state tests in math and reading. No small feat, they say, for this K-5 public school of 640 students—two-thirds of them Hispanic, and 24 percent African-American. Nine in 10 of the students are considered poor, and 27 percent are English-language learners.

Any comment I make about the piece would be colored by obvious self-interest, so just go read it. Here’s the link, available to subscribers, only. We plan to make the full story available to our readers soon.