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In School's Waning Days, a Focus on the Focus

Parents feel it. Administrators feel it. The students and the teachers certainly feel it -- something about the end of testing, the arrival of summer heat and the approaching final day of school in the city next Wednesday -- once impossibly distant but suddenly tantalizingly close.

Parents feel it. Administrators feel it. The students and the teachers certainly feel it -- something about the end of testing, the arrival of summer heat and the approaching final day of school in the city next Wednesday -- once impossibly distant but suddenly tantalizingly close.

To some parents, it seems little is being accomplished in a school year's closing weeks. Leslie R. Williams, a professor of education at Teachers College at Columbia University, disagrees.

She said the year-end shift in tone is not only inevitable, but also beneficial. "Once the testing schedule is over, there is a great opportunity for doing things like field trips and more exploration of the community," Professor Williams said. "It's a way of consolidating learning...this is a time of looking back and a time of looking forward...And that's a very important thing for the kids. It's not doing nothing, as so many people believe."

This article, written by Rick Lyman, appeared in the June 21st, 2006 publication of The New York Times.

Published Friday, Jun. 23, 2006

In School's Waning Days, a Focus on the Focus

Parents feel it. Administrators feel it. The students and the teachers certainly feel it -- something about the end of testing, the arrival of summer heat and the approaching final day of school in the city next Wednesday -- once impossibly distant but suddenly tantalizingly close.

To some parents, it seems little is being accomplished in a school year's closing weeks. Leslie R. Williams, a professor of education at Teachers College at Columbia University, disagrees.

She said the year-end shift in tone is not only inevitable, but also beneficial. "Once the testing schedule is over, there is a great opportunity for doing things like field trips and more exploration of the community," Professor Williams said. "It's a way of consolidating learning...this is a time of looking back and a time of looking forward...And that's a very important thing for the kids. It's not doing nothing, as so many people believe."

This article, written by Rick Lyman, appeared in the June 21st, 2006 publication of The New York Times.

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