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Long Hill Elementary School

6490 Ramsey Street
Fayetteville, North Carolina 28311
Phone (910) 488-0012
Fax (910) 488-0014

Kathy L Kennedy

Melanie Hamblin Assistant Principal

January 20, 2000

Dr. Spencer Kagan
Kagan Professional Development
1160 Calle Cordillera
San Clemente, California 92673

Dear Dr. Kagan:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the children and teachers of Long Hill Elementary School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We have had three years of Kagan professional development and attribute our success as a school to our knowledge of the Kagan strategies. During the 1998 -1999 school year, Long Hill Elementary School was named a "National Blue Ribbon School" by the United States Department of Education. Our site visitor noted that the overall teamwork in our school was "incredible". She cited evidence of teamwork with students, teachers, and parents in her report to Secretary of Education, Richard Riley. Ratings on student surveys are the highest ever—our students love the joys of learning!

As a principal, I am convinced that the training we have received in Cooperative Learning and Multiple Intelligences has enabled my teachers to meet the individual needs of all of our children--even my teachers in the Exceptional Children's program utilize the Kagan strategies. It is gratifying to observe students engaged in the learning process when I visit classrooms. I have observed students participating overtly in strategies such as Mix-N-Match, Pairs Check, Numbered Heads Together, Showdown, and Spin-N-Think, to name a few. I am always amazed at the individual accountability and equal participation in each of my classrooms. Perhaps this is one of the reasons our test scores have soared during the last two years.

I became the principal of Long Hill Elementary School in July 1997, and we began Kagan training in August. Upon my arrival in 1997, the composite score of students passing the state End of Grade test was 78%—today, 86.9% of our students pass the test. The curriculum and the test have not changed; however, our delivery of the curriculum has changed. We are much more focused on overt active participation of all learners as a result of our training. All of our learners—low, average, above average, and gifted students benefit from these strategies.

Additionally, I celebrate the fact that we have very few discipline referrals to the office. I attribute this to the positive cross-gender and race relationships that are developed in cooperative learning teams. I have witnessed teachers with previous management problems become some of my very best as a result of the structure of the Kagan structures.

The modeling that occurs from the trainers in your workshop is a key factor in their success. Teachers are able to experience the strategies as students, thus permitting them to duplicate the training in their classrooms.

Once again, let me thank you for your wisdom and, most of all, for sharing your expertise to make classrooms across America more fin, inviting, and academically enabling for our children.


Kathy L Kennedy

Learning for All ... Whatever It Takes
U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School 1998-1999

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