Tuesday, November 26, 2002

CPS to expand tutor services

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

More than 2,000 Cincinnati Public Schools students soon will be offered free one-on-one instruction or Internet-based tutoring services, as required by federal legislation signed this year.

The No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President Bush in January, requires underachieving schools to offer tutoring services to their poorest and lowest-achieving students.

  These schools will be required to offer their lowest-achieving and poorest students tutoring services under federal legislation signed in January:

•Cincinnati Public Schools: Central Fairmount, Heberle, Hoffman, John P. Parker, Losantiville, Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Ridge, Project Succeed Elementary at Swifton, Roberts Paideia, Rothenberg, Taft Elementary, Westwood, Whittier, Windsor.
• Covington Independent Schools: Latonia Elementary.
• Middletown Public Schools: McKinley Elementary.
• North College Hill City Schools: Becker Elementary.

Seventeen schools in Greater Cincinnati - including 14 in the Cincinnati school district - must offer the services because they did not meet state student achievement goals for two consecutive years. A list of these schools was released by Ohio in July and Kentucky in September.

Cincinnati Public will mail letters to parents of eligible students in January and the district is expected to contract with tutoring companies and begin providing before- or after-school tutoring services that month.

"These services have always been available to upper- and middle-income children," said Jo Anne Friedmann, the district's compliance officer for federal programs. "For the first time, low-income children will have the same options."

Some of the tutoring providers in Ohio are well-known companies, including Sylvan Learning Center, while others are less familiar, such as Maryland-based Achievement Technologies Inc. and the Web-based Tutor.com.

Cincinnati school officials are researching the companies that had been approved by the state.

Of the 5,300 low-income children eligible for the services in Cincinnati's 14 underachieving schools, the district will be able to offer the services only to around 2,300 students because of limited funding.

State officials said that's OK.

"They are to prioritize to the lowest-achieving, lowest-income students," said Dottie Howe, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Education. "If they don't have the funding, they have to prioritize."

As required by the federal law, districts must set aside a portion of their Title I funding to pay for the services.

Title I funding is federal money based on enrollment of low-income students.

Cincinnati schools received a 6 percent increase in Title I funding - or an additional $1.2 million - this fiscal year, which will help pay for the new requirements.

E-mail jmrozowski@enquirer.com

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