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Missed goals leave students at three Oldham schools eligible to transfer

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By Tracy Harris

Students at three Oldham County schools are eligible for transfers to other Oldham schools after the schools failed to meet No Child Left Behind act goals for the 2010-2011 school year.

Parents of students at Crestwood Elementary, Locust Grove Elementary and Oldham County Middle received letters recently regarding transfer eligibility.

The transfers come after Adequate Yearly Progress reports were released by the Kentucky Department of Education in September. 

Data from 2011 Kentucky Core Contest Tests are used to determine scores.

The transfer policy only applies to Title 1 schools, which typically have over 40 percent of students coming from low income families.

Last year was the first year the letters were sent out. Only OCMS students received the letter last year, and one student transfered to East Oldham Middle. 

OCMS students will again have the option to transfer to EOMS, while Locust Grove and Crestwood students have the option to transfer to Camden Station or Centerfield.

So far, three parents have requested transfers.

Superintendent Paul Upchurch said this is another example of problems with NCLB.

“The concept is wonderful,” he said, because NCLB wants all children to make progress regardless of race, family income or disability.

However, NCLB breaks student populations into 10 subgroups based on race, English proficiency, special education and free or reduced lunch.

Upchurch said each subgroup has an annual goal, and if any one subgroup does not meet that standard, the school fails to meet AYP. 

Upchurch said this issue is one reason why the state is applying for an NCLB waiver. The KDE posted its “application for flexibility” on its website for public comment last week.

The waiver will not lessen the school district’s responsibilities, Upchurch said.

“It has real strong accountability and holds us accountable for moving forward,” he said. 

Kentucky’s two-tiered Unbridled Learning Accountability Model would provide a “single designation for both state and federal purposes,” according to a KDE press release about the waiver. 

Kentucky is being considered one of several examples for why the waiver is needed — the passage of Kentucky Senate Bill 1 in 2009 implements a “more reasonable and balanced system of accountability,” according to Terry Holliday, commissioner of the KDE.

“I feel certain we will be in excellent shape for a waiver,” Holliday said.

Applications for the waiver program submitted by Nov. 14 will be peer-reviewed in December.