By Christina Killion Valdez
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Washington Choice Elementary Principal Linda Stockwell received a letter last month from the U.S. Department of Education that was cause to celebrate. Their hard work had paid off.
For the past several years, the school has ranked in the top 10 percent in the state on standardized reading and math tests. That high level of achievement earned the school a spot among 287 schools in the nation receiving the 2007 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award.
…Washington became a Choice school in 1996 when it adopted the core knowledge curriculum, Stockwell said. That means the curriculum is focused on building a solid foundation of knowledge in world and American history, classic literature, science and fine arts.
The school also uses a spiraled learning system that builds on students’ knowledge, she said. Having that background information improves students’ vocabulary and reasoning skills, which translates into increased reading comprehension, Stockwell said.
It’s an approach that draws students from all over the city, who tend to stay through fifth grade, she said. Currently, the school has about 350 students with just as many on the waiting list, Stockwell said.