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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: ed reform

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August 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

It ain’t flashy but it works: Get personal and schools improve

Becka Gross, right, walks with student Taylor Trimming to class earlier this week at Denny Middle School in West Seattle. Gross belongs to a group called City Year, which works in designated middle schools to encourage better attendance and tutor students. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2013.

City year tutor Becka Gross, right, walks with student Taylor Trimming to class at Denny Middle School in West Seattle. City Year is a nonprofit that works in designated middle schools to encourage better attendance and tutor students. The program was featured in an Education Lab story last fall. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2013.

In the search for answers to problems in education, the go-to phrase employed by everyone, on all sides, is this: There are no magic bullets. Well, there might be one, but it’s squishy-sounding, labor-intensive and difficult to measure.

In every full-length Education Lab story we reported over the past year — each demonstrating clear gains in public schools — one constant echoes: the power of relationships.

Schools that are turning the corner point to this over and over, a focus on forging solid, sustained, one-on-one relationships — primarily between teachers and students.

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