SHEFFIELD TWP. — Poverty has become a fact of life for a majority of students at Clearview High School.
Nearly 86 percent of students there are considered economically disadvantaged by the Ohio Department of Education — one of the highest percentages in the state.
That many impoverished students typically means failing grades, low test scores and lack of preparedness.
Typically … but not here.
The state recently designated CHS as a “School of Promise” for the 2008-09 school year, a distinction that was given to only 134 of Ohio’s more than 1,800 schools where at least 40 percent of the students are deemed economically disadvantaged, a designation tied to the federal poverty level, and who have met rigorous academic and testing standards.
The federal poverty level is a sliding scale based on the number of people in the family living at home. For a family of four, the poverty level is an annual income of $22,050 or below.
“What I think it shows is that as long as you have caring teachers, a staff that is willing to go the extra mile for students, it doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money you make,” said Clearview High Assistant Principal Franco Gallo.
Schools of Promise are awarded when students from economically disadvantaged schools achieve at least an 85 percent graduation rate and at least 75 percent of 10th-graders pass the Ohio Achievement Test and/or Ohio Graduation Test in reading or math and 85 percent of 11th-graders pass the OGT in reading or math. Schools also have to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress for the year.
Gallo attributed the school’s success to the hard work of students and teachers and a collective effort to improve test scores and overall grades. After-school study sessions as well as tutoring were attended by many students, and teachers did an excellent job incorporating test material into daily lessons, he said.
“There’s always room for improvement, but I think this shows that when the things we are doing are put into place and if you decide get on board, exciting things can happen,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding.”
The fact that only Cleveland and Akron city schools had a higher percentage of students considered economically disadvantaged on the Schools of Promise list makes Clearview’s success impressive.
Families who are considered economically disadvantaged may earn no more than 30 percent above the federal poverty level or receive public assistance, according to Scott Blake, spokesman for Ohio’s Department of Education.
“In general, with all these schools and especially those with the higher percentage of poverty, research has shown that economically disadvantaged students often come into school less prepared than their wealthier counterparts, so it’s great to see schools and teachers taking initiatives to help bring these students success,” Blake said.
Tennyson and William Barr elementary schools, both in the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake school district, are the only other Lorain County schools that made the Schools of Promise list.
Tennyson has 41 percent of its students that are considered to be economically disadvantaged while William Barr has 44 percent.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7155 or email@example.com.