By JULIETA PAITA
Former First Lady Laura Bush announced the second education initiative of the George W. Bush Institute at AldineISD Stovall Middle School on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.
The program called‘Middle School Matters” will target middle school students to success at a college level. About 400 people were present to listen to Mrs. Bush introducing the program, including a group of Aldine ISD Board Trustees, Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg, Dr. Terry Grier, Houston ISD Superintendent, Aldine ISD administrators, members of President Bush’s education policy institute, and Stovall Middle School students and staff.
“This is a great standing school to announce this initiative; this school district, Aldine school district was the 2009 BROAD prize winner in urban education, and it’s a very prestigious award, I congratulate you,” said Former First Lady Laura Bush.
“The George W. Bush Institute’s newest education Initiative that we are announcing here today at Stovall is ‘Middle School Matters.’ The vision of Aldine ISD is ‘to produce the nation’s best,’ and we are represented here today in the students who are with us, in our staff, in our leadership team at Stovall Middle School; we have some of the nation’s best students and educators representing the great ideals,” said Dr. Wanda Bamberg, Aldine ISD Superintendent. “In Aldine we are all about serving students and serving staff to support them in the important work of improving student achievement.”
The Middle School Matters program is designed to help middle school students struggling with classes, to provide them with the skills needed to be more prepared once they reach high school, and that way instead of dropping high school, they could get their diploma.
“Our goal is to produce practical, measurable results working with exceptional partners; about 1/3 of students do not graduate from high school in 4 years and 7,000 kids drop out of high school every day,” said Ambassador James Glassman, member of the George W. Bush Institute. “And the way to change the situation is by concentrating on middle school.”
During the presentation of this new initiative program, remarks about how a good education during middle school is so important for students was the primary topic. “Middle School education is a critical time for students to see if they are prepared for high school and thelife after that. To succeed, we know we need to reach students during these critical school years, between 6th and 8th grade there is a great opportunity to elevate students’ reading skills, to strengthen their writing abilities and to help them catch up in math,” said Mrs. Bush.
According to Ambassador James Glassman, researchers have shown that middle school is the best time to correct a student’s achievement problems, and that this program has been created to dramatically increase the numbers of students who enter high school ready for success.“Middle School Matters is a comprehensive research based program applied to middle schools, the Bush Institute has brought together a team of top education researchers and practitioners from across the country,” said Mrs. Bush.This research team analyzed the keyfactors in middle school achievement and determined that 11 elements distinguish outstanding middle schools: school leadership, effective teachers, reading and reading interventions, mathematics and mathematics interventions, writing and writing interventions, learning and cognitive science, advanced reasoning, data and use of data to improve instruction and learning, dropoutprevention, extended learning and school, student, family and community support.
Dr. Bamberg gave thanks to Mrs. Bush and to all members of the George W. Bush Institute “for this opportunity to be part of the celebration.” To end the presentation, Mrs. Bush stated “Every child in the United States deserves a quality education, so they can become responsible and productive citizens in life.”
By JULIETA PAITA