Board to appeal 'school on alert'

July 09, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Board of Education plans to appeal the placement of Springfield Middle School on the list of schools categorized by the Maryland State Board of Education as "Schools on Alert," Deputy Superintendent Patricia Abernethy said Wednesday.

Springfield and Boonsboro middle schools and Bester Elementary School were put in the "Schools on Alert" category because they did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress goals in 2004. Those schools did meet the goals in 2001, 2002 and 2003, according to information released last week by the state Department of Education.

Evening High School was singled out by the state as being a School In Need of Improvement for the first time.


After the state released the information on the schools' status, school system personnel checked data supplied to the state about the students taking the tests to ensure it was accurate, Abernethy said.

During that check, it was discovered that either the school or the school system had made a clerical error, she said. Information for an eighth-grade special education student was not coded properly, Abernethy said.

School system officials believe that when Springfield Middle School's scores are recalculated, it will be found that the school met the state's Adequate Yearly Progress goals and it will be removed from the "Schools on Alert" category, she said.

If the appeal is successful, it would not be the first time a Washington County school's status changed because of one student, she said.

Eastern Elementary School in September 2003 was placed in a second year of a school needing improvement, meaning its scores had not met state proficiency standards for three consecutive years.

School officials discovered that in the spring 2003 exam a special education student left the school in the middle of the examination period. That student's scores, listed as failures due to his absence, were factored in, system employees said.

The school system appealed the state decision and it was overturned. The school was elevated from the improvement 2 to the improvement 1 category.

Under the information released last week, Eastern was removed from the list of Schools in Need of Improvement because of improved Maryland School Assessment scores.

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