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Sleepy Hollow School Addresses Achievers' Needs

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – High achieving students at Sleepy Hollow Middle School will soon have more challenging classes if the Board of Education approves a new instructional program.

Principal Elizabeth Lopez outlined a new program from College Board called SpringBoard, which she said will help high achieving students progress at a faster level and help prepare them for Advanced Placement classes at the high school.

“When we began this work, we wanted to ensure that we were effectively addressing the academic needs of our high-performing students while, at the same time, making sure the structure stayed true to our beliefs of how middle-level learners learn,” Lopez said.

The program would be incorporated into the district's alignment to the new Common Core Learning Standards and provide students in grades six, seven and eight with more rigorous programs in English and math. Lopez said that some elements of the program could also be used in grades nine and 10.

SpringBoard's instruction is “back-mapped” from Advanced Placement classes, Lopez said, which helps students prepare for those classes. The program would cost approximately $22,000 to implement, although Lopez noted that nearly half of that cost would be a one-time fee.

The math classes would be structured so that students would receive their normal honors instruction in each subject, as well as an added “Pre-AP” enrichment class every other day. Math honors classes at the middle school currently operate this way, although the enrichment class is taught under a different program.

The English classes would be structured so students would receive their normal honors instruction in each subject, as well as an added “Pre-AP” enrichment class every day. English honors students do not take an enrichment class.

Lopez said the program would not be open to all students. Only students who qualify under several placement guidelines including the state exams, a placement exam and their report cards, would take part.

School board members and parents were quick to praise the move to accommodate high achievers.

“A number of us for some time have been lobbying for such a program,” School Board Member Vincent Nadile said.

“I think the real breakthrough here is on the ELA side,” School Board President B. Joseph Lillis said. “We have been for advocating this for a long time.”

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