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Secretary Spellings Joins Senators Murkowski and Stevens to Discuss No Child Left Behind with Alaska Students, Teachers and Administrators


Anchorage, Alaska— U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today joined Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Lisa Murkowski to commend Alaska students in Nome and Anchorage for the gains they have made under No Child Left Behind. Spellings continued her tour of Alaska schools, where she observed classrooms, spoke to students, and met with administrators from around the state.

“I’ve seen some of the challenges that educators face here in Alaska, but I have also seen students and schools that are proving No Child Left Behind can make a difference for kids of every race and background,” said Secretary Spellings. “My department is committed to helping Alaska’s students continue to improve by partnering with Alaskans to make No Child Left Behind more flexible and workable.”

Secretary Spellings and Senators Stevens and Murkowski began the day in Nome with a visit to Nome Elementary, where students are making steady progress toward the goal of having all students reading and doing math on grade level by 2014. Preliminary results show that since 2003, the number of Nome Elementary students learning on grade level has increased by almost 20 percent.

Spellings and Murkowski then traveled to Anchorage to tour classrooms and participate in an all-school assembly at Creekside Park Elementary School, where students are succeeding with the help of the Reading First program under No Child Left Behind. In fact, the number of Creekside students reading on grade level has increased by 10 percent since 2003.

In their final school visit of the day, Spellings and Murkowski visited East High School’s Partners For Success program. Partners for Success currently serves 800 students annually at four Anchorage middle schools and four Anchorage high schools. The program is designed to help decrease the dropout rate of Native middle and high school students through several methods including: improving teacher performance, increasing access to academic opportunities, and embedding Native culture into studies.

After observing the Partners for Success program at East High School, Secretary Spellings and Senator Murkowski held a roundtable discussion with superintendents from across the state to discuss how No Child Left Behind can meet the needs of the Alaska, while helping teachers prepare students for college and workforce.

In a surprise announcement following the roundtable discussion with superintendents, Secretary Spellings recognized Art LaRue, an eighth-grade language arts teacher from Clark Middle School in Anchorage, as the 2007 American Star of Teaching from Alaska. Art spent 25 years as an educational instructor for the US Army, and after retirement, he went back to school to receive his teaching credentials to return to the classroom to teach children. He has helped raise his students test scores and encouraged parents to play a more active role in their child’s education. Only two years ago, Clark missed AYP in 15 categories, but this year the school passed every benchmark.

“Just like Art LaRue, No Child Left Behind expects results for every child. So we must support teachers who get the job done in America’s most challenging classrooms,” said Secretary Spellings. “The American Stars of Teaching highlight some of the many outstanding educators in communities across the nation who are making a difference for their students and helping to close the achievement gap so that every child can succeed.”

Teachers across all grade levels and disciplines will be honored this fall as American Stars of Teaching. One teacher will be recognized in every state and the District of Columbia. A committee of former teachers at the U.S. Department of Education selected the American Stars from among 4,000 nominations based on their success in improving academic performance and making a difference in their students’ lives.


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