South County educator joins in capitol summit

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By LENORE RUTHERFORD

John Triolo, superintendent of the Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District, will speak tomorrow at a "No Child Left Behind" Rural Education Summit in Sacramento.

He will be one of five speakers talking about how to implement the No Child Left Behind program in rural counties, like Tuolumne.

The program is part of a routine reauthorization of Title 1, which provides federal funding for students at risk. Title 1 was started during the Lyndon Johnson administration in the 1960s as part of his War on Poverty, said Triolo, and it is reauthorized every four or five years.

That has already been done, he said, and the deadline to comply is the 2005-06 school year. The hearing tomorrow is about how small schools can comply with it.

"Of course, each administration puts its own spin on it," he said.

One requirement this time that Triolo says "sets small schools up for failure" is that a "highly qualified" teacher be available in each subject, meaning they must be certified to teach each subject.

His district, which includes Don Pedro High School with 60 students and Tioga High School with 125 students, doesn't have enough teachers to have one certified as "highly qualified" in every possible subject.

For example, an English teacher may only have enough students to teach four class periods of English each day, so he or she may teach Spanish and art the other three periods.

"They are qualified," he said, "but they aren't necessarily certified in every subject they teach."

He said larger schools with teachers certified in every subject don't face the same problem.

"But this isn't unique to us," he said. "It is a typical problem for small schools throughout the state."

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The Union Democrat
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