Saturday, May 28, 2011

Students Overcoming Hidden Barriers

EAST PORTLAND, Ore. -- Students in Ellen Green's class were having a hard time focusing.
They had just returned from three days at Outdoor School, and the sun outside reminded them that summer break – for some, the end of middle school – was less than three weeks away.
Those were hardly the only challenges facing the 16 preteens in Green's first-period class at H.B. Lee Middle School in outer East Portland. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders face much deeper barriers, year-round and invisible to most.
Most of them, like 80 percent of their classmates, live in poverty. Many in Green's class are in special education, and nearly all are learning English as their second, third, fourth or even fifth language.

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