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Local schools targeted for sanctions
By: William C. Flook
Examiner Staff Writer
August 13, 2009
Four Northern Virginia schools have fallen short of federal education standards long enough to be eligible for some of the harshest sanctions under the No Child Left Behind Act, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
Jefferson-Houston Elementary in Alexandria, Randolph Elementary in Arlington County and Dogwood Elementary in Fairfax County all entered or remained in the fourth year of “school improvement status,” a designation that requires a school system to let students transfer to better performing schools, develop alternative governance plans and offer free tutoring.
Arlington’s Hoffman-Boston Elementary didn’t meet federal standards for a sixth year, requiring one of a series of harsh options that could include reopening as a charter school, replacing most — if not all — of the school staff linked to the failure to meet federal standards, or turning the management over to a private entity, according to the Department of Education.
Based on the 2008-2009 results, Arlington schools have formed a committee on restructuring Hoffman-Boston and brought in retired principal Marie Shiels-Djouadi as a consultant, according to spokeswoman Linda Erdos.
Failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards, which grow tougher each year, can be as simple as missing one of 29 objectives for annual progress. At Dogwood, for example, the school fell short in one category — reading achievement of black students — by three students, said Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman Paul Regnier.
The school “made a lot of progress overall,” Regnier said. The four schools’ status as federally funded Title I schools, which have a large number of low-income students, opens them up for greater scrutiny under No Child Left Behind. They were among the 103 such schools that qualified for some form of sanctions in Virginia.
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