'Raising the Curve': 8 stories from a struggling elementary school

Writer Ron Berler spent a year in an elementary school trying to turn itself around after failing test scores. His book "Raising the Curve" describes what he saw.

By , Staff Writer

2. Extra effort by the principal

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    A University of Missouri study for first-graders included a math portion

    University of Missouri/AP
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As the school year began, David Hay, the principal of Brookside Elementary School, was fighting rumors that he was leaving. (He told Berler he was planning to stay three more years). Hay was perpetually worried over testing and money troubles but often browsed the Internet for science or math websites he thought the teachers could use in the clasroom. "It had gotten to the point at which it was almost a hobby," Berler wrote. "When he found a website he liked, he sent a mass e-mail to his faculty with the link. A few teachers used them. Most, he suspected, deposited them in a file and never looked at them again. He shrugged. 'You try,' he said."

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