Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New St. Mary's School Helps Students Navigate 9th Grade

Year-Long Academy Designed to Lift Graduation Rate

By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 10, 2008; Page B01

Teacher Rebecca Cline was walking her ninth-grade class through the intricacies of scientific notation when, in the back of the room, a student rested his head on his desk. Another instructor quickly stepped in to get him back on task, which was no surprise. Classes at the newly opened Fairlead Academy in St. Mary's County match two teachers with about 10 kids.

The 60 students enrolled at the public school this year were quiet underachievers in middle school. Although they didn't warrant placement in special education programs, they tended to score consistently lower than their peers on standardized tests. Their teachers worried that they might fall behind as freshmen and eventually drop out of school.

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