EBR school attracts national attention

By Tyana Williams - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An East Baton Rouge Parish school is drawing some national attention. Sherwood Middle Magnet is being used as the blueprint for how schools around the nation should be operating.

The U.S. Department of Education picked more than 300 schools to receive the Blue Ribbon Award. Of those, only six are being looked at as a guide for other schools around the nation. For about three days, a research team from New Hampshire is spending time interviewing staff and students, and watching them work.

"Sherwood has excelled in their test scores, even with a challenging population," said Cynthia Harvell, with RMC Research Cooperation. "More than 50 percent of students are high poverty."

"We're in the business of helping children to do better, keep up, make their grade point average," said Principal Phyllis Crawford. "Raise the bar, have them meet the bar and not just let them flounder."

The research team says what they are most impressed with is the way teachers help each other. Teachers who teach the same subject often meet for a working lunch, to discuss how to help students better grasp certain concepts. They say they are also impressed with the amount of hands-on support for the students, during and after school hours. Crawford says students are given three opportunities for tutoring throughout the day. She also says they've started a program called "Zero's Aren't Acceptable." The research team says those practices are the reason this school is among the top ten percent in the state.

"There's no wasted time in this building. There's a lot of collaboration between the teachers," Harvell said.

The principal says being recognized as one of the best should reinforce the importance of public education in this state. The director of Blue Ribbon Schools says by sharing Sherwood's success, they hope to push other schools to provide the same standard of education.

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