30 Aug Area Charter Schools Avoid Shutdowns (OH)August 30, 2010
By: Jennifer Smith RichardsSource: The Columbus Dispatch
None of the central Ohio charter schools that were flagged for closure last school year will be forced to shu t down, the Ohio Department of Education said.
One has closed, but the others either improved enough to avoid a shut-down order or escaped the mandate because of the type of students they serve.
Nine local schools – and 31 statewide – had been marked to close if they didn’t show enough improvement on Ohio’s annual school report cards, which were released yesterday.
Three earned F grades again, but:
• ScholARTS Preparatory and Career Center for Children, a K-12 school on the Near East Side, avoided closure at the end of the current school year because more than half of its students receive special-education services. Schools in that category are exempt from the state law that closes chronically underperforming charter schools, said Scott Blake, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education.
• London Academy in Madison County avoided closure because it officially became considered a dropout recovery school this summer. Now it’s exempt, too.
• Granville T. Woods Community Shule, which had about 70 students and had been open since 2002, closed in July because it could not find a sponsor after it was dropped by its previous overseer, St. Aloysius Orphanage. The school was too small to support itself, said Dave Cash of Charter School Specialists, which the sponsor hired to oversee its schools.
Five other charter schools in Ohio cannot remain open under the state law; two of those already have closed or suspended operations.
Statewide, charter schools have improved. About 55percent of the 264 schools that were graded earned the equivalent of a C or better.
In addition, charters fared well this year on the "value added" measure, which rates whether students have made a year’s worth of progress. Of the charter schools with value-added ratings, 74percent made gains of at least one year.
Among traditional public schools statewide, 65 percent made at least a year’s gain.
Far fewer school districts delivered more than a year’s worth of material this year (33 percent) than did last year (73 percent.) And Ohio’s graduation rate fell from 84.6 percent to 83 percent in 2008-09, the most-recent year for which data is available.
But there was some improvement. More Ohio districts improved their grades on the state report card, and Ohio students improved their performance on tests last school year.
"We continue to see promising academic gains in districts and schools," State Superintendent Deborah Delisle said.
Delisle congratulated the Cincinnati school district, which is the first major urban district in the state to earn a B grade. (Columbus is at a C for the fourth straight year.) Youngstown is now the only one of 610 rated districts to have an F.