Bondurant and Second Street Middle Schools are two of five Kentucky middle schools participating in the Middle Grades Research Project, sponsored by the Galef Institute of Los Angeles and funded by the federal government.
Currently, this nationwide program is gathering research on how to successfully develop a comprehensive school design for middle schools. The program is based on Different Ways of Knowing (DWOK), which has proven successful in elementary schools.
Second Street 8th grade math teacher Tim Smith was formerly a consultant in the project. He said the U.S. Department of Education gave a $14 million grant to four states (New York, Texas, California and Kentucky) to find out what really works in terms of academics and how to help kids learn in middle school. The grant is currently only for two years.
Smith said Second Street and Bondurant are in the second cohort; another group of schools had already begun participating in the project. And the Kentucky Department of Education is helping to fund some of cohort two, he said.
"The program will focus on teaching strategies and literacy," he said. "The kids will learn content using the arts, and this way we can engage all kids with the learning process. For example, the teacher may create a song for the students to use to remember things in social studies."