Main point. Topic sentences. Supporting paragraphs. Organization.
Arrowhead High School teacher Kathy Kopp ticked through her lesson on essay construction. Then she gave her sophomores one more tip for their upcoming language arts test from the state.
“Please, don’t panic and say, ‘I can’t write,’ ” she called out. “Your ideas are good enough to put down on paper and have someone else read.”
Part educators, part cheerleaders, Kopp and her colleagues in Arrowhead’s special education department cajole students to finish their math homework, help them learn new reading strategies and prepare them for the state’s annual testing regimen.
Last year, the school’s 10th-graders with disabilities fell short of the state’s reading proficiency standard under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Under President George W. Bush’s signature change to federal education law, schools are evaluated based on how their students perform on state tests in math and reading.