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More Md. Elementary, Middle Schools Fall Short of 'No Child' Goals

Ten Prince George's schools are in restructuring. Nine of them -- Andrew Jackson, Charles Carroll, G. Gardner Shugart, Nicholas Orem, Stephen Decatur, Thomas Johnson and Thurgood Marshall middle schools and Gaywood and John Eager Howard elementary schools -- have been restructuring for two or more years. One, Arrowhead Elementary, faces restructuring for the first time.

State rules call for schools that are restructuring to replace staff, contract with private managers, convert to charter status or make other "significant changes to staffing and governance," according to the state Education Department. Prince George's school officials said they have used turnaround specialists as part of a support system that includes faculty support teams and before- and after-school programs.

Two P rince George's elementary schools that were facing restructuring, Bladensburg and Overlook, exited the watch list this year, signifying two consecutive years of academic progress.

To make adequate yearly progress under the federal law, a school must meet performance targets in each of eight student "subgroups," including racial minorities, poor students, special-needs students and students of limited English proficiency. Superintendents cite weak performance among two particular subgroups, special education and English for nonnative speakers, as the reason most schools miss their goals. Getting schools off the list involves "very targeted support" to those subgroups over multiple years, Deasy said.

Montgomery educators reported substantial improvement in reaching performance targets: 27 of 38 middle schools made adequate progress, up from 15 last year, as did 124 of 129 elementary schools, up from 116 last year.

"We are extremely pleased with the growth in performance at the middle school level this year and the extraordinary performance of our elementary schools," Montgomery Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said in a statement.

But progress did not translate to fewer schools on the state watch list: 17 of the county's elementary and middle schools are on this year's list, up from 12 last year.

Only one Montgomery school on the watch list, Shady Grove Middle, made its targets for the second consecutive year and escaped the remedial process. Ten schools that made their targets this year remain on the list because they missed them last year. Other schools landed on the list for the first time.

Only elementary and middle schools were included in yesterday's report; high schools come later in the year, after the release of High School Assessment results. Reports are due from the District on Friday and Virginia next week.

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