WCSI Local News

School District Outlines Performance Plan for Failing School

Clifty Creek Elementary School parents heard from Bartholomew Consolidated school administrators last night about the school district's plans to repair their failing school.

The school has received three consecutive F grades in the state grading system. Because the school has received three failing grades, school officials had to hold a public hearing explaining their improvement plan for the school.

School district officials laid part of the blame on changes to the state testing program. Dr. John Quick, the school district's superintendent, said that in previous years the school received a waiver for students to take the assessment tests with pencil and paper instead of on computers. The state wouldn't allow that waiver last year.

"When I went to do it again, the (state) director of assessment, we went round and round and toe to toe," Quick said. "He insisted that we do it online and then lo and behold we had the worst problems we have ever had.

"Ironically, my guess is that had we had the opportunity to do pencil and paper last year, we might not be having this hearing tonight. I believe that."

School district officials say that they have already made many changes at the school, including changing its format to a project based learning program, replacing more than 80 percent of the teachers and investing $2 million in technology including providing computers to all of the students.

Jodie Eaken, the head of the school's Parent-Teacher Organization, spoke for most of the parents in attendance. She said that should be more parental involvement in decisions, instead of those decisions just coming down from the administration. She said that the PTO did not have any voice in those decisions.

"We want to put in a parent-teacher board because we feel like there are too many decisions being made at the admin level that are not talking to our teachers or the people who are in the classrooms every day," Eaken said. "The people who know our kids -- they are not getting feedback from them."

Eaken has two children at the school, she said.

Janice Kotnik, a parent of students who used to attend Clifty Creek, said the problems there have been building for years. She said she knows that families with children are choosing not to move into the neighborhoods around the school because of the bad reputation.

Kotnik suggested that the school district consider adding an academic challenge program at Clifty Creek. The programs, at Southside and Parkside schools, are for high achieving students.

Quick said that the district has chosen to move away from the AC model and is instead working to get those high achieving students in every class at every grade level.

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:56:52 PM

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