See the full text of the LADC Academic Recovery Plan
LORAIN — An academic recovery plan for Lorain Schools was unanimously approved Monday by the state Academic Distress Commission.
The 17-page plan will be sent to Ohio Superintendent of Instruction Richard Ross. He has 30 days from today — the plan deadline — to approve the plan or reject it and ask for revisions.
Annual goals include increasing students’ mathematics proficiency by 11 percent and reading by 10 percent on the annual state report card compared to 2011-12 state report card results. The state requirement is 75 percent from third through 10th grade and 85 percent for 11th and 12th grade.
Other annual goals include improving third-grade reading scores by 15 percent to meet stricter state promotion standards and increasing high school graduation rates by 13 percent. Lorain’s graduation rate dropped to nearly 65 percent in
2011-12 after state standards were changed. The state requirement is 90 percent. The plan also requires increased student and staff attendance districtwide.
Long-term goals include achieving a “C” on the report card for the 2015-16 school year. The unelected five-person commission took over academic control of the school district in April after four straight years of low state test scores.
One of the conditions for dissolving the commission is achieving a “C” or better for two out of three school years. Ross also could dissolve the commission if he decides Lorain is making enough progress without it. Lorain and Youngstown are the only Ohio school districts where academics are controlled by the state.
The plan also requires teachers to increase communication with parents and for principals to average one visit per day to classrooms. A marketing plan to recruit and retain students is to be developed by May, and a human resource plan for recruiting and retaining high quality teachers is to be created during the 2014-15 school year.
A draft of the recovery plan said the goals are, “ambitious and yet realistic” for the district which has been challenged by shrinking enrollment and finances in the last decade.
Nearly 90 percent of students live in poverty. Dozens of teachers were laid off last year to eliminate a deficit before passage of a levy that allowed the district to avoid a state financial takeover and recall some teachers.
“I hate to say it comes down to dollars,” Superintendent Tom Tucker told commission members during the nearly five-hour meeting. “But we were almost in financial ruin and just barely got out of it.”
Tucker stressed the plan will take about four years to fully implement. Commission member Cathy Dietlin said the level of detail in the plan was “amazing” given that the commission was formed just four months ago.
Commission member Henry Patterson said the plan sends a message to parents, students and teachers that high standards have been set.
“This will be difficult to obtain,” he said.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.