Three schools im­ple­ment flex­i­ble learn­ing plans af­ter be­ing placed on fo­cus and pri­or­ity lists

The Covington News - - Education - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­news.com

If ap­proved Tues­day, three New­ton County schools will have a new flex­i­ble learn­ing plan in place to, hope­fully, bring them off the pri­or­ity and fo­cus schools list - a new re­quire­ment for the 201213 school year.

Un­der the Ti­tle I pro­vi­sion of the El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Act, schools that are deemed “pri­or­ity” are those Ti­tle I schools that are among the low­est 5 per­cent of Ti­tle I schools in the state “hav­ing demon­strated a lack of progress on the state-man­dated as­sess­ments for all students and/or hav­ing a grad­u­a­tion rate less than 60 per­cent over two years.”

In New­ton County, Chal­lenge Char­ter Academy falls on that list. Al­though CCA is an in­de­pen­dent pub­lic school with a sep­a­rate board and ad­min­is­ter, it is funded by the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, and tests are lumped in with the other schools in the sys­tem.

“Fo­cus” schools are Ti­tle I schools that are among the 10 per­cent in the state “that has the largest within-school gaps be­tween the high­est per­form­ing sub­group and the low­est per­form­ing sub­group or at the high school level, has the largest within-school gaps in gra­da­tion rates.”

There are no high schools (al­though CCA does house mid­dle and high school aged students) in the county that have been named “fo­cus” schools; how­ever two el­e­men­tary schools – Live Oak and West New­ton – have been des­ig­nated as such.

Each of the three schools were re­quired to de­velop a flex­i­ble learn­ing plan that will of­fer students ad­di­tional aca­demic ser­vices out­side of school hours in the sub­ject where they are in need of im­prove­ment. At least 5 per­cent of the Ti­tle I monies al­lo­cated to those “fo­cus” schools must be set aside to fund these ad­di­tional aca­demic ser­vices. Ten per­cent must be al­lo­cated for “pri­or­ity” schools. Each school will have an in­di­vid­u­al­ized plan that tar­gets the weak­nesses of the students. Live Oak El­e­men­tary

At Live Oak, $14,724.88 has been set aside. The largest amount al­lo­cated is ma­te­ri­als ($64,000), fol­lowed by $6,000 for tu­tors, as well as ad­di­tional money spent on other vari­ables. The pro­gram will be school-wide and will be avail­able to all 889 students cur­rently en­rolled there. Sci­ence is the sub­ject that students have the most trou­ble with and the students with dis­abil­i­ties sub­group re­quires the most at­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion re­leased by the school sys­tem. And the largest per­for­mance gap is be­tween English lan­guage learn­ers and students with dis­abil­i­ties Ac­cord­ing to num­bers from the 2010-11 school year, 82 per­cent are el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive free and re­duced lunches. The to­tal be­ing spent at Live Oak is $91,342.28.

West New­ton El­e­men­tary

West New­ton had 685 students cur­rently and, ac­cord­ing to 2010-11 num­bers, 79 per­cent are el­i­gi­ble for free and re­duced lunches. There is also $14,724.88 set aside for students throughout the school, with $57,960 set aside for Dell desk­top com­put­ers and $20,000 for teacher salaries. The school has a large dis­par­ity be­tween the scores of the students with dis­abil­i­ties and white students’ sub­groups. Their gen­eral weak­ness is in math. The to­tal be­ing spent at West New­ton is $97,296. Chal­lenge Char­ter Academy

Again, $14,724.88 has been set aside for the “pri­or­ity” school that houses both mid­dle and high school students. There are 100 students cur­rently en­rolled, and 2010-11 num­bers show that at that time, 76 per­cent were el­i­gi­ble for free and re­duced lunch. The big­gest weak­ness for all of CCA’s students is math. The largest ex­pen­di­ture for the school is $28,865.60 for out­side in­struc­tors to teach both dur­ing and af­ter school and $26,250 for a sum- mer learn­ing pro­gram. The to­tal be­ing spent is $52,115.60.

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