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Lantana Middle School Teachers Collaborate Across Disciplines to Boost FCAT Scores

Lantana Middle School Teachers Melinda Park and Dennis Kavanaugh use work of Vincent Price to achieve student success.

Two Lantana Middle School teachers have created a curriculum that offers intensive writing instruction in both of their classes although one of them teaches Language Arts and the other teaches Social Studies. The result of the collaboration: Much higher FCAT writing scores.

Melinda Parks, Language Arts teacher, and Dennis Kavanaugh, Social Studies teacher, use a theme to connect the two classes. They used the films of Vincent Price this year, since much of his work has a historical background and can be used for both subjects. The two taught the same concepts on writing using a rubric. They applied their own content to develop the essays.

For this second year of using the strategy, the two colleagues who work on the same "team" included team science teacher, Cheryl Phillips. Her class watched The Fly and focused on scientific methods and learned about inferences.

"A review of last year's scores revealed a substantial increase for students who received the intensive instruction compared to those who didn’t," said Kavanaugh. "There was no gap between white, black and Hispanic students’ performance."

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