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Students Create Public Service Announcements about Local Health Issues

BUFFALO, NEW YORK; December 11, 2007-Academy School@44 and Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) announced today that ECMC will be hosting an exhibition of student work, public service announcements (PSAs) created to educate the greater Buffalo community about health issues in our area.

The public is invited to view the student-generated PSAs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the Overflow Cafeteria (1st Floor) at ECMC on Thursday, December 20. An awards ceremony, also open to the public, will take place in ECMC's auditorium (3rd Floor) from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Students at Academy School@44 have been studying community health issues as part of their program of Real World Learning. The public service announcements are intended to serve the dual role of educating the public and serving as evidence of student learning.

The Buffalo school system is using a new approach for at risk and underachieving students. The Academy School@44 has a unique educational program designed to reach students who have not succeeded in a traditional school setting. Students are selected to attend Academy School@44 because they will benefit from teaching and learning methods that are based on their individual needs, rather than those traditionally in place in schools.

"We've been able to provide structure, stability, and some vision and direction," said Gregory D. Mott, Principal at Academy School@44.

"Some say the Academy School@44 is turning around young lives in the short year that our school has been open," said Mott. Initial reviews are showing Academy School@44 improvements in student literacy, attendance, and attitude. Half of the students have shown improvement in Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies.

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network evaluates school district dropout prevention programs, and alternative education programs in particular, throughout the country. In a recent evaluation of the school, researchers associated with this organization stated, "This model is among the strongest we have studied in the way it employs proven strategies for students at risk of not graduating."

The Academy School@44 program addresses academics through a project-based, blended curriculum. Instead of large group direct instruction, traditional pen and paper tasks, or textbook reading assignments, students at the Academy School@44 work in small career clusters focused on real-world projects, supplemented by a personalized, web-based instructional program that delivers the core academic content.

"This approach incorporates not only a relevant and rigorous curriculum, but the flexibility that allows for each student to reach his or her potential," says Pat Wright, president of ResulTech Educational Services. ResulTech provides ongoing support to Academy School@44, including educational program design and professional development.

"Instead of testes and quizzes, their work becomes the evidence of the learning," says Dr. Mike Muir, of the Maine Center for Meaningful Engaged Learning at the University of Maine at Farmington. "There is still lecture and reading, but only in support of learning by doing and working on the projects. Projects come first, then the occasional lecture, reading, or computer-based instruction, as needed to complete the project." Muir works closely with the Academy School@44 and ResulTech staff as an educational program specialist.

To situate learning in a real world context, the school's curriculum design team invites business and industry partners to work with students to develop the skills and competencies associated with the various career paths and answer the question most often asked by students, "Why do I have to learn this?"

According to Principal Mott, "Academy School@44 is proud to have ECMC as a partner to help make learning relevant and meaningful for students." In addition to hosting the Public Service Announcement Screening, ECMC health care professionals serve as mentors to students and provide on-going assistance with the Health Issues Unit at Academy School@44.

ACADEMY SCHOOL@44:

Academy School@44, located at 1369 Broadway St. in Buffalo, is a vital part of Buffalo Public Schools. The Academy School@44 works to re-engage underachieving students in learning and strives to provide them academic success through high-interest, community-based projects and real world learning. Academy School teachers, staff, and administrators are dedicated educators implementing advanced teaching techniques to benefit students who have not traditionally been successful in school.

ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER:

The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility. ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the University. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service provided as a result of its Culture of Care.

NEWS CONTACT: Joe Cirillo at 716-898-4300 or jcirillo@ecmc.edu

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12/11/2007

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