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Author: Paul Allison

Tiffany is a tall African-American girl in seventh grade. She will be 16 by the end of the school year. Tiffany was left back three times in elementary school: once between kindergarten and first grade--for reasons she can’t bear to retell--and twice more in third grade because she scored low on state math exams.

Tiffany is three years behind her peers, and she thinks she is unable to understand mathematics, but she loves to read young adult novels about teen issues. When asked what she is really good at, Tiffany says that she makes collages on her computer. She seems obsessed with editing images and memes with music into short videos on different topics.

Tiffany doesn't like her school because many of the other students play too much. Except for math, Tiffany finds most of her schoolwork easy to complete, and she has learned how to do just enough to not appear on any teacher’s radar. She is rarely on disciplinary lists and has better skills than most other students, so teachers tend to not notice her. Tiffany hates revising her writing, but she does pay attention to craft and details when a teacher asks her to.

The principal and counselors have put Tiffany on a list of students for accelerated promotion. Working with a special program in the Department of Education, the principal is trying to get youth who have been involved with the criminal justice system and who are two years or more behind into high school. Even though Tiffany doesn't have a criminal record, the principal would like to have her start high school classes as soon as possible.

The principal is under a lot of scrutiny because of how in the past, as part of this project to accelerate middle school graduation for some students, he has promoted over-aged, under-credited youth without transparent criteria.

He wants to know if there might be a way to have Tiffany show that she is ready for high school.

DMU Timestamp: May 11, 2020 21:16

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