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Jefferson High School touts improvements

August 20, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - School officials on Monday celebrated successful efforts at Jefferson High School to bring the school from a "seriously impaired status" to a higher performance level.

Last year, Jefferson High School was given the seriously impaired status after the school fell below standards for dropout rates, attendance rates and test scores, said Principal Susan Wall.

The state Department of Education requires schools to have an attendance rate of at least 92.5 percent, but Jefferson High's dipped to 90.2 percent in the 2000-2001 school year, Wall said.

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Schools are required to have a dropout rate of 5 percent or lower but Jefferson High's had climbed to 8.5 percent, Wall said.

And in the Stanford 9 achievement test, the state requires that no more than 15 percent of a school's students score in the bottom quartile.

At Jefferson High, 17.2 percent of the school's students scored in the lower quartile in June 2001, Wall said.

Through teamwork and extra teaching resources, the school has been able to rise out of the impaired status, Wall said Monday.

The school's attendance rate has risen to 94 percent, the dropout rate has been narrowed to 4.1 percent and 15 percent of the school's students scored in the bottom quartile of the Stanford 9 achievement test last year, said Wall.

"We're so tickled," Wall said.

Wall said teachers and administrators worked hard to reverse the numbers and the school hired an at-risk counselor to work with students who were at risk of dropping out.

The administrators worked to reverse the dropout rate by being more flexible with class times for students, Wall said. Everyone was involved in the effort, including some custodians who acted as mentors, she said.

Wall said she is not worried about slipping back, saying the high marks are simply a "mind-set" that the school must acquire.

"Once you get into the routine, it should be second nature to you," said Wall.

Bev Hughes, associate superintendent of schools, gave much of the credit to Wall, who took over as principal a year ago.

"I need to blow the horn for Susan because I know she won't do that for herself," said Hughes.

Jefferson High was also noted for the improvements on the State Department of Education's Web site.

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