Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ohio honors 102 schools

Thirteen in region designated as showing 'promise'

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

St. Bernard-Elmwood Place High School senior Keisha Latham (left) is momentarily flustered during an anatomy and physiology lesson with partner Amanda Weaver (and skeleton "Ralph") in Gayle Pope's classroom Tuesday.
Thirteen Southwest Ohio schools were among 102 named on Tuesday as "Schools of Promise" by the Ohio Department of Education.

Among the honorees are every school in Clermont County's Felicity-Franklin district, and three Cincinnati Public high schools - Hughes Center, Dater and Shroder Paideia.

To qualify for the annual award, at least 40 percent of a school's students must come from low-income families. The schools must meet "adequate yearly progress" goals defined by the No Child Left Behind legislation, and at least 75 percent of low-income students and major racial/ethnic groups must have passed achievement or proficiency tests.

"Schools of Promise send a message to students, teachers and families across Ohio that demographics don't define academic success," said Susan Tave Zelman, state schools superintendent.

Here are the 13 schools in Southwest Ohio named "Schools of Choice" Tuesday:
Cincinnati Public: Dater, Hughes Center, Shroder Paideia high schools
Charter school: W.E.B. Du Bois Community School, Cincinnati
Hamilton: Cleveland and Pierce elementary schools
Lockland: Lockland High School
New Miami: New Miami Junior/Senior High School
Felicity-Franklin: elementary, middle and high schools
Reading: Central Elementary
St. Bernard-Elmwood Place: St. Bernard-Elmwood Place Junior/Senior High School
About 1,300 elementary, middle and high schools were eligible for the award. Cuyahoga County led the state with nine Schools of Promise, followed by Hamilton County with eight. This is the third year of the program. Last year, only two schools in Southwest Ohio earned the award.

"We're so proud the state has recognized our achievements," said Jeff Weir, superintendent of the 1,250-pupil Felicity-Franklin district. "This is the first time any of our schools made the list."

Since the first state report card was issued six years ago, Felicity-Franklin Schools went from meeting five of 27 standards - tying with Cincinnati Public for the lowest in Southwest Ohio - to meeting 16 of 18 standards, putting the district in the effective category the last three years.

It also is the first year that St. Bernard-Elmwood Place Junior/Senior High School was named a School of Promise.

Principal Don Hartley attributes the success to several factors: tutoring programs, the homework assistance program, family counseling, and a supportive court system that addresses truancy and community support.

"A lot of good people are working hard here," Hartley said. "More people are getting involved."

The schools will be recognized Oct. 26 in Columbus during the First Steps Toward High Achievement for All conference.


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