Thursday, March 11, 2010

STATE BOARD OF ED FINALIZES LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS LIST: Some Administrators Say Process Of Making List Unfair

UPDATED: 7:02 pm PST March 11, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California State Board of Education voted Thursday to approve a controversial list of what are called "low-performing" schools.

But first, the board made some last-minute additions and subtractions.

The updated list includes seven schools in Stockton, three in the Sacramento area, two in Lodi, and one each in Modesto, Marysville, and South Lake Tahoe.

At its meeting, the state education board unanimously voted to approve the final list of 188 "low performing" schools, even though many administrators insisted the process for drawing up the list has been unfair.

Final List: Low-Performing California Schools

Angeles Mesa Elementary

Audubon Middle

Charles Drew Middle

East Valley Senior High

Edwin Markham Middle

Henry Clay Middle

Henry T. Gage Middle

Hillcrest Drive Elementary

John Muir Middle

Manual Arts Senior High

Samuel Gompers Middle

Thomas Jefferson Senior High

South East High

Carson Senior High

Lennox Elementary

Century Academy for Excellence

Crenshaw Senior High

Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary

Gardena Senior High

George Washington Carver Middle

George Washington Preparatory High

International Studies Learning Center

Miguel Contreras Learning Complex

Robert Fulton College Preparatory School

Robert Louis Stevenson Middle

William Jefferson Clinton Middle

Woodcrest Elementary

"There are hundreds of schools that potentially could be on this list and aren't," Biggs School Superintendent Bill Cornelius said. "And there are hundreds of schools that are on the list that should not be."

Among the schools which had been on the original list, but then dropped are Natomas High School in Sacramento, Woodland High School, Fairfield High School and Turlock High School

"You know it's a big sigh of relief for Turlock Unified School District, and certainly for Turlock High School," Turlock Schools Assistant Superintendent Lacrisha Ferriera said.

Schools designated as low-performing will now have to undertake major reforms, such as firing the principal and half the staff, converting to a charter school, or closing the school altogether.

As students were leaving Highlands Academy in Sacramento Thursday, administrators were getting ready to make phone calls to let parents know that the school has now been listed in the state's bottom 5 percent.

"If they're not going to get an exceptional education, then why do I have them coming to this particular school?" parent Amy Ekstedt said.

Highlands Academy plans to use a fourth option, which may involve lengthening the school day and paying teachers bonuses if their students' test scores improve.

"I don't see why we wouldn't look at it," Trinette Marquis from the Twin Rivers School District said. "I think we're going to be bringing everybody into the table and saying, 'Look, we've got this opportunity ahead of us.'"

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