Saturday, July 20, 2002
Most CPS elementaries failing
But students can bus to better schools
By Jennifer Mrozowski, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cincinnati Enquirer
More than half of Cincinnati Public Schools' elementaries aren't meeting state improvement goals, but thanks to a new federal law, kids in those failing schools have a chance to go to better schools this fall.
The law requires the district to offer students the option of transportation to more successful schools within the district.
The following schools did not meet state-defined improvement goals for at least two consecutive years, according to a preliminary list by the Ohio Department of Education. Districts will have to offer students transportation out of those on the list to successful district schools, where space is available.|
The list could change by August as data is verified.
Cincinnati City Schools
Bond Hill Academy
Central Fairmount Elementary
Hyde Park Elementary
John P. Parker Elementary
Mount Airy Elementary
North Fairmount Elementary
Pleasant Hill Elementary
Pleasant Ridge Elementary
Project Succeed Elementary
Quebec Heights Elementary
Roselawn Condon Elementary
Sayler Park Elementary
Silverton Paideia Elementary
South Avondale Elementary
Washington Park Elementary
Hamilton City Schools
Van Buren Elementary
Middletown City Schools
Lockland City Schools
Mount Healthy City Schools
Rex Ralph Elementary
North College Hill City Schools
Northwest Local Schools
Norwood City Schools
Norwood View Elementary
Source: Ohio Department of Education
The Ohio Department of Education released a preliminary list Friday of 415 schools - about one of every seven Ohio schools - that don't meet strict state achievement targets required in federal education legislation signed by President Bush in Hamilton in January. The list could change by August after districts review the state's data.
Six Butler County schools are on the list along with 42 schools in Hamilton County, 36 of which are Cincinnati schools. No schools in Clermont or Warren counties were on the list.
Cincinnati schools spokeswoman Jan Leslie said the district will give transportation priority to the lowest-achieving and poorest students. They will be offered transportation to successful schools where space is available. Ms. Leslie said the district supports the concept of the federal legislation, designed to hold schools accountable and provide options for parents whose children are in persistently low-achieving schools.
It should be an incentive to all of us and our schools to look for solutions for the children who are struggling, she said. We've been prepared for it."
Still, requirements of the federal law, including ranking all students by poverty and achievement, then offering students transportation options by this fall, could be problematic, Ms. Leslie said. That's because districts have 30 days to review the data sent by the state departx ment of education, at which time the department of education will revise its list. School starts in Cincinnati on Aug. 26, in just over a month.
It might be after the start of school that students and parents decide to move, she said. The logistics of it are challenging.
State officials say many parents may opt not to take advantage of school choice, especially since schools will be sending parents information on their plans to improve and meet the achievement goals.
What we hope is that this will generate a discussion with schools and communitiesabout how schools intend to improve performance, said Joseph F. Johnson, special assistant to the state superintendent. The first impetus of this legislation is to get these schools that are not achieving at high levels to improve teaching and learning. What Congress also is saying is where we have schools that have not improved, it's important to offer parents a choice."McKinley Elementary School parent Dee Fricker said she wouldn't take advantage of the opportunity to send her 9- and 11-year-old kids to another school. McKinley, in Columbia Tusculum, is one of the schools on the list.
I think it's pretty preposterous, she said. It's not a feasible thing for a district to be able to do. The focus should be on fixing schools, not abandoning schools."
The schools on the list had less than a 2.5 percentage point increase in students passing fourth- or sixth-grade reading and math proficiency tests for at least two years in a row. They also had fewer than 42 percent of their students demonstrate proficiency in reading or math.
The state used proficiency-test data from past years to determine the list, but also included preliminary proficiency-test results from the past school year.
In schools that haven't met the state's goals for more than two consecutive years, school districts must provide children with supplemental services, such as tutoring. Most of the 415 schools on the list haven't met their improvement goals for four or more years. For those, school districts will have to choose among several options: replace key staff, adopt new research-based teaching methods, decrease school management authority, employ an outside consultant to advise school management, extend the school day or reorganize the internal school organization.
Cincinnati school officials say the district's 4-year-old accountability plan is similar to the federal education law. In Cincinnati, persistently failing schools have to undergo overhauls by hiring new staff and seeking community input to create a new direction for the school.
Most of the things that are recommended are things we believe in and agree with, and many of our schools are doing, Ms. Leslie said.
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