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School's students now may transfer

Scores trigger option to pull children from E. Wilson Morrison

By M.K. Luther -- mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School students will have the option of attending another county school because of the school's failure to meet federal educational standards.

Under the No Child Left Behind act, schools must meet established benchmarks in Standards of Learning exams and basic reading and mathematics tests.

If a Title I school -- a school receiving federal funding for economically disadvantaged students -- does not meet the benchmark requirement for two successive years, the school has to give parents the alternative of enrolling the student in another county school.

E. Wilson Morrison has not met the AYP benchmark for two years in reading and math, and is now categorized as in "school improvement."

Director of Administrator Support Greg Drescher told the Warren County School Board at Thursday's board meeting that the parents of all E. Wilson Morrison students had been sent a letter about the school's AYP rating and the school choice option.

Drescher said 12 request forms have already been received, but he has had no indication that parents are unhappy with the quality of instruction at E. Wilson Morrison.

"The concerns about the school's performance have been very limited," Drescher said. "I have talked with no parent who is concerned that their child is not being taught well."

Title I funds are used for transportation costs of students who choose to attend a different school.

The AYP ratings are going to become increasingly difficult to meet because the standards are increasing incrementally each school year, Drescher explained. Drescher also said school divisions are currently limited to using traditional standardized tests for assessment methods, which cannot always accurately gauge the academic progress of all students.

E. Wilson Morrison will attempt to meet the AYP benchmarks for the coming school years by adding a Title I reading teacher, examining the teachers' planning process and stressing the use of results-oriented and content-based curriculums, Drescher said.

The school must meet the AYP goals for two consecutive years before being reclassified as no longer in improvement.

Drescher said parents who have questions about the AYP rating or school choice option can contact either him or E. Wilson Morrison principal Margaret Holmes.

A school choice informational meeting is scheduled to be held at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary on Aug.17 at 7 p.m.

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