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Edison, Mann await results

GLENDALE — Edison and Mann elementary schools will find out Tuesday which policies and regulations they will face if their programs do not yield better test results.

Glendale Unified School District officials and school board members will discuss new policies that may affect the two schools if test results being released at the end of the month do not show improvement.

Edison and Mann — two Title I schools, a federal designation given to schools with its students predominantly from low-income families — were marked as Program Improvement schools in 2006 after two consecutive years of not meeting academic benchmarks, said Joanna Junge, the district’s director of special projects and intercultural education.

At Edison and Mann elementary schools, too few Latino students met the 2006 criteria for proficiency in the English-language arts category, according to the California Department of Education website.

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But the failure to meet those benchmarks does not mean the schools are doing poorly, said Alice Petrossian, assistant superintendent of educational services.

“One subgroup of the population didn’t meet the targets,” Petrossian said. “The way we talk about it is that you have 42 different ways to miss your targets.”

Ten subgroups — which include students with disabilities, English learners and socio-economically disadvantaged — are expected to increase by a certain percentage in their Adequate Yearly Progress report every year. Edison and Mann brought students from every other subgroup up to proficiency.

But with federal and state test results and progress reports coming out this month, many district and school officials are wringing their hands in anticipation, Junge said.

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“Everyone is on pins and needles, everyone in the entire nation,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Education releases the Adequate Yearly Progress report, which is its measure of academic proficiency and progress, on Aug. 31.

The two schools have already been penalized for not reaching their targets. In September 2006, families from the two schools were given the option of choosing to move their children to schools that have been meeting their targets, June said.

No one transferred last year, but 13 students from nine families at Mann Elementary were moved at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, Junge said.

The move was just an option for parents, as mandated by federal law, but if the two schools do not show enough improvement in the Adequate Yearly Progress report, then they may face more intervention to get their programs on track.

New policies that district staffers will present to the board on Tuesday say schools in their second year in the Program Improvement category may have outside educational services provide private tutoring or after-school help, Junge said.

The course of action is unclear because the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 — which along with the Adequate Yearly Progress report sets measures to keep schools accountable for student progress — is itself fairly new, Junge said. Some schools are starting their seventh year as Program Improvement schools with no policy yielding improvements, she said.

“Honestly, people don’t know what to do,” she said.

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Edison and Mann have been trying very hard, she said. After-school interventions, private counseling and diagnostic programs that focus on students’ weaknesses are a few of the actions Edison and Mann have been taking to boost their progress reports, Junge said.

Administrators and teachers will see Aug. 31 whether their efforts worked, she said.

“It’s frustrating because the teachers and school worked so hard — not just the teachers and school, but the parents, students, administrators and district office,” Junge said.

Schools needs to focus more attention specifically on Latino students, she said.

Petrossian said the group missed the benchmark by only a small margin and that the schools were marked as Program Improvement because of statistics.

“There’s a real large percentage of error margin on all of this,” she said.

Edison Principal Kelly King and Mann Principal Rosa Alonso could not be reached for comment.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at the district’s administrative office, 223 N. Jackson St.

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 ANTHONY KIM covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at anthony.h.kim@latimes.com.


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