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WARREN ODE list drops 4 city schools



Published: Wed, August 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some board members were angry that the ODE wouldn't notify the press of the change involving the four schools being removed from the list.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Four city schools the Ohio Department of Education had placed on its latest school improvement list have been removed from that list, school officials said.

Earlier this month, ODE released its latest school improvement list that included Alden, Horace Mann, Jefferson, Laird Avenue and Roosevelt elementary schools and East and Western Reserve middle schools as well as schools in Youngstown, Niles, East Liverpool and Wellsville.

The list is based on pupils' low passage rate on the state's fourth- and sixth-grade proficiency tests. Across the state, 212 schools were on the list.

"East, Alden, Jefferson and Horace Mann have been removed from the list," Superintendent Betty J. English said at a school board meeting Tuesday.

The change has to do with the way data was calculated, the superintendent said.

"Needless to say, we're very relieved," she said.

Still on the list

Laird Avenue, Roosevelt and Western Reserve remain on the list.

School officials discovered the change when inquiring about the status of East, English said.

Although ODE released its initial list to the press earlier this month, English said she was told by ODE officials the press wouldn't be notified of the change by which the four schools were removed. If news media representatives contact the department, officials there will verify the information, she said.

"The damage has been done," English said.

That angers some board members.

"That's part of the credibility problem with the Ohio Department of Education," said Robert L. Faulkner Sr. "You would think they would be happy for us, too."

People in the district work hard and take their jobs seriously, he said.

Other board members agreed.

"That is absolutely not right," Linda Metzendorf said.

If the department is going to make headlines with things they say are wrong with a school district, they should "'fess up when they make a mistake," she said.

"It's very disheartening, especially in a school district like ours where everyone works so hard," said Lynn Gibson, board vice president.

ODE representatives couldn't be reached Tuesday evening.

Under federal guidelines, parents with children in the schools classified as underperforming may choose to send their children to higher-performing schools within the same school district for the upcoming school year.

Earlier change

This isn't the first change in the list. Early last month, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that 780 schools in Ohio would be classified as underperforming.

Later that same month, ODE released a list of 415 schools. Ten days later it was cut to 212 schools when the state acknowledged miscalculating proficiency test scores.

Schools have until Monday to verify the list. ODE officials said earlier this month that they anticipate more schools being removed from the list.

Schools on the list are required to develop a two-year school improvement plan, allocate funding for teacher training and offer additional tutoring for pupils in the underachieving schools.

dick@vindy.com




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