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December 19, 2011 at 6:21 PM

5 Seattle schools on list of state's lowest-achieving

Good news: Pinehurst Elementary and Chief Sealth High are officially no longer on the list of the state’s “persistently lowest-achieving schools.”

Bad news: The other Seattle school that made last year’s list, Rainier Beach High, is on it again.  And four other schools — Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary,  Hawthorne Elementary, Cleveland High and the Interagency Programs School — have joined it.

The list, released Monday by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is made up of the 5 percent of schools whose students have performed worst on state reading and math tests or in their graduation rates. It only includes schools that receive (or are eligible to receive) funding through the federal Title 1 program, which aids schools with large numbers of students living in poverty.

Overall, 57 schools in 38 school districts made the list.

Compared to last year, this year’s list is larger and more focused on Western Washington; while Pasco School District led the way with seven schools last year, this year’s tally included five each from the Pasco, Seattle and Tacoma school districts.

There is one other significant difference between this year and years past: In the past, being named to the list served as a ticket to apply for three-year federal school-improvement grants of between $50,000 to $2 million per year.

Those funds have been used at Hawthorne, Cleveland and West Seattle Elementary. West Seattle has seen the most success; after using its position on an earlier list to land a three-year, $1.2 million grant to revamp its school, test scores and other achievement indicators significantly improved last year.

But there is no longer any federal funding for the program.

“State law requires us to put out this list,” Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction, wrote in a news release. “But that law was also based on the assumption that schools would receive more funding in order to improve. To me, it’s completely unfair to call out these schools without giving them additional resources, but that is the world we live in now.”

Comments | More in Education | Topics: Chief Sealth High School, Cleveland High School, Hawthorne Elementary School

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