Ocean City School Achieves Excellence: Could This Model Be Replicated At Schools Throughout Maryland?

Posted on May 28, 2008

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Spread the good news: Ocean City Elementary School in West Ocean City, Maryland, has perfected a model of educational excellence worthy of replication throughout Maryland and the nation.

Ocean City Elementary School’s success is based on a classroom policy called “Ask and Answer,” and on adult expectations that students be attentive and respectful. Attentive and respectful! Those are the two key words, in my opinion.

Ocean City Elementary School Principal lrene Kordick has solved the riddle of excellence in education. “I think kids don’t talk enough in school. In fact, I think they’re told not to talk,” Ms. Kordick says, according to a front-page story in today’s Washington Post.

The key is how students talk and what they talk about.

Rather than the teacher asking a question and getting one student to answer, teachers instruct children to pair off and ask each other the question, and answer it.

Wait, there’s more. At Ocean City Elementary School, children are expected to speak in complete sentences. Children are expected to greet others by saying “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” Could this approach be replicated at mediocre and failing schools throughout Maryland?

Ocean City Elementary School parent Kim Holloway says of the students: “They’re attentive, they’re respectful.” Ms. Holloway has identified two factors critical for educational success, and also for the survival of our culture and society. Pay attention to what you’re studying or working on, and be respectful of others.

Really good news is too rare to miss, and this story would be easy to miss. It’s below the fold on the front page of today’s Washington Post (May 28, 2008), written by reporter Daniel de Vise, under the headline “‘No Child,’ No Problem: School In Ocean City Nails Its Target.” (Note to Post headline writers: Eschew obfuscation.) Please read the Washington Post story, and ask the principal at your child’s school to read it. — Bernie Hayden

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