If the Lawrence school board didn't hesitate to adopt the America 2000 goals two years ago, it's probably because the national goals were very similar to their own.
"We were heading in some of the directions that America 2000 is really trying to get us to focus in on," John Tacha, school board president, said.
For example, Tacha said, "we had a goal that every child in this district can learn, even if they learn at different rates. I think that America 2000 is saying the same thing, that every kid can graduate."
Lawrence School Supt. Al Azinger said the district has tried to draw parallels between national goals and local goals so educators don't feel that they're running in too many directions.
Here is an abridged list of district programs and activities that school officials say tie into the national education goals:
All children will start school ready to learn.
- Through the Parents as Teachers program, parents get involved in their children's education even before the children enter kindergarten. An early childhood educator works with parents of children up through 36 months old.
- The Douglas County Children's Initiative, of which Tacha is chairman, teamed up with the Lawrence Schools Area Council this fall for an expanded PTO-PTA Fair. Representatives from a broad range of service organizations were on hand to tell parents what kinds of services are available for their children.
The graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.
- The Directed Studies program at Lawrence High School provides a student-teacher ratio of 10-1 for students at risk of dropping out.
- The Lawrence Alternative High School serves only about 70 students and provides students with highly individualized instruction.
American students will demonstrate competency in English, math, science, history, geography and other challenging subjects.
- State assessments in math at grades four, seven and 10, in reading at grades three, seven and 10, and in writing at grades five, seven and 10. A state assessment in science is on the horizon.
U.S. students will be first in the world in math and science.
- A committee recommending changes for the junior high curriculum wants to require seventh-graders to take science.
Every adult American will be literate.
- The district recently won a $255,000 federal grant to fund an "Even Start Family Literacy Program." The grant will help participants in adult education to achieve literacy.
Every school in America will be free of drugs and violence.
- LHS has three security guards patrolling the school and campus to help with student discipline.
- Drug-sniffing dogs are taken to LHS once a month for unannounced checks of student lockers and cars.