Transfers allowed at two schools

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By Thomas Barr

            HILLVIEW - Of the third-grade students at Overdale Elementary, 92.31 percent scored proficient in reading last spring during assessment tests.

            However, having a school that is excelling in all areas is no guarantee that it will achieve the ever-growing targets set in the federal No Child Left Behind act.

            As a result, elementary students who attend Overdale and Maryville will have an opportunity to transfer to five other schools.

            Because both schools failed to meet NCLB targets for a second straight year, Greg Schultz will be conducting public meetings this week to answer questions about the transfer opportunities.

            Schultz, who is assistant superintendent for student learning, said he personally does not favor students transferring to another school; however, he said his goal on Tuesday (Overdale) and Thursday (Maryville) will be to simply outline the options and answer any questions.

            "I have no doubt that a child can receive a quality education at any of our schools," said Schultz.

            With the school year already into October, he said it is late to offer the transfers. However, that is nothing the district can control since scores were just released.

            Students interested in transfers would be allowed to select Freedom, Old Mill, Nichols, Mount Washington and Pleasant Grove, all of which met all of their NCLB goals.

            Once the requests, if any, are made, Schultz said the district would then decide where the students would attend.

            "It's the parents' decision to seek a transfer but it's the district's decision on where the send the transfers," said Schultz.

            One bad part of the process is that it is the higher scoring students who often transfer to another school. He said that causes the school to suffer even more in future testing cycles.

            Transportation is provided by the district but Schultz always warns parents that students may actually be on the bus longer since there are logistics to get them to their new schools.

            This year, there will apparently be no extended services, such as tutoring, for students who opt to remain at their home school and qualify for free and reduced lunches.

            While the districtwide date continues to improve, Schultz said it would become much more difficult each year for districts to meet the federal standards. In Kentucky, only 12.6 percent of the 174 districts made NCLB standards.

            During a presentation of data to the school board on Monday, chairman Dolores Ashby said she could see the frustration in the faces of administrators in the audience.

            "You all, smile," said Ashby. "I, for one, believe in everyone in this room."

            Schultz said one part of the mission is to keep the confidence of the staff.

            "We are improving and our kids are getting a quality education," said Schultz.

            The transfer meetings will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday this week.