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Mabton applying lessons learned from Bridgeport schools

MABTON - The closest thing to a doppelganger here in Central Washington for Mabton schools is likely Bridgeport.

With similar enrollment, demographics and economic data as Mabton's, Bridgeport on more than one occasion has garnered national attention for its work as a Title I school district.

That's according to Mabton Schools Superintendent Minerva Morales. Last night Morales and assistant high school principal Susan Sartain shared with the Mabton School Board results of a recent visit to Bridgeport classrooms.

The idea, Morales said at Monday's board meeting, is to learn what's working in Bridgeport and see what can be applied here.

For example, Sartain said one idea Mabton High School will borrow from Bridgeport is for students to begin work on their senior portfolios earlier.

She said the idea is for seventh graders on up at the end of each school year to offer a presentation and make an entry in their portfolio.

"By the time they're seniors they should feel comfortable making a public presentation," Sartain said.

In another best practice gleaned from Bridgeport, Mabton High School students starting next year will need to fulfill a senior project.

Perhaps the most far-reaching element taken from the Bridgeport visit is providing more frequent grade reports for students and parents.

Sartain said Bridgeport schools provide a grade check every two weeks, a print-out that serves as a report card of sorts to monitor student progress.

Students take the print-outs home, have a parent sign the form, then return them to school for inclusion in their portfolio.

In addition to employing that strategy in Mabton, Sartain said she'd like to see other elements of the Bridgeport grade monitoring plan practiced here.

These include sending the every-two-week updates via certified mail to the parents of all seniors. In addition, students will have to write how they plan to improve their grades in the future.

Morales said the key to implementing any of the lessons learned from Bridgeport is clearly explaining "...expectations and the purpose for what we're doing."

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