August 20, 2014

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Lorain Schools release data on third-grade reading standards

Collins Lindsay LCSheriff

LORAIN — Percentages of Lorain Schools students at risk for not meeting Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee range from 60 percent at Washington Elementary School to 26 percent at Admiral King Elementary School.

The requirement, which took effect this year, calls for all Ohio third-graders to meet a minimum score on state reading tests to advance to fourth grade in the 2014-15 school year or repeat third grade. The requirement includes exceptions for some English-as-a-second-language and special-education students.

The percentages were reported Tuesday by Superintendent Tom Tucker to the Academic Distress Commission. After four straight years of low test scores, the school district was taken over by the unelected commission in April. Lorain and Youngstown are the only Ohio school districts in academic takeover.

Lorain needs to score a C or better on annual state report cards for two out of three straight years to restore local control or Richard Ross, Ohio superintendent of instruction, could disband the commission if he decides Lorain can perform adequately without it.

Tucker said some students who fail reading requirements could be promoted to fourth grade if they pass all other requirements while still having to repeat third-grade reading classes. He described the process as convoluted.

Tucker said Washington has the highest percentage of at-risk students because that’s where English-as-a-second-language students attend school. Tucker, who took over in August 2012, scrapped former Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s Success for All reading program earlier this year for three programs he said are more effective.

At-risk students receive two hours of reading instruction per day, 30 minutes more than students meeting requirements. In January, Tucker said at-risk students will receive an additional 30 to 60 minutes of after-school tutoring in reading.

Commission Chairman Bill Zelei said the new programs can only be effective if teachers are better trained in them.

“If I’m in the classroom and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, why am I in the classroom?” he asked. “If we’re not implementing the instruction with integrity, then we shouldn’t be terribly surprised if it doesn’t work the way we want it to work.”

Besides more student instruction, Commission member Henry Patterson said the district also needs to give parents more tools to help their children.

“We can’t control what they do with it, but that’s half the battle,” he said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • GreatRedeemer

    If the parents cant read,offer some classes after school for them as well.

    • oldruss

      And at whose expense will these adult learn-to-read classes be given? Are we going to stick it to the taxpayers a little more, to teach reading to these bottom feeders, who should have learned how to read before they got their high school diplomas, or more likely, before they dropped out of school?

      • GreatRedeemer

        That’s true, I’m thinking that the teachers can step it up for the children and provide instruction after school for both kids and parents. More like volunteering. Its all about the kids so here is an opportunity to save a generation.

        • stop ur whining

          teachers already work longer hours for no more pay.
          teachers pay out of their supplies. why should teachers volunteer any of their time to educate a parent? if a parent is not smart enough to raise their child they shouldn’t have and one in the first place. teachers are all ready going above and beyond for little money and less appreciation. It should go without saying that a parent should step up and help their child but that is becoming a dream instead of a basic function of a parent.

          • Peggy Schaffer

            Well said. Teachers are the most overworked and underappreciated.

          • Brian_Reinhardt

            I’m sure your nurse friends would wholeheartedly disagree.

  • oldruss

    Washington Elementary at 60 percent failure is significantly higher than the next worse school, Frank Jacinto Elementary, at 44 percent failure. Can this drastic difference be solely attributed to the clustering of ESL students at Washington Elementary? And, Frank Jacinto Elementary’s 44 percent failure is, itself, significantly higher than the “best” that Lorain City Schools have to offer, Admiral King Elementary, at 26 percent failure. To what does the superintendent attribute that dispairity? And, at 26 percent failure, that’s over one-quarter of all third graders at Admiral King Elementary failing the third grade reading test. Not acceptable.

  • stop ur whining

    just the result of ignorance breading ignorance. the stupid reproduce at a faster rate because they do not think about the future, just the moment, and that moment feels “too good” to pass up. they then have children that they simply can not care for as most of the time they can not care for themselves.

    there are too many families out there with no father to help, too many families where there is no structure, no discipline, too many families where academics are not even a top 5 concern.

    this is the new america boys and girls. we have too many that do nothing but have babies they cant care for and they then dump them on society and expect someone else to educated and raise their off spring. I find it amazing that you have to pass a background check to be deemed responsible to have a gun, but any uneducated fool can have as many children as they want.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    This is the result of kids having kids.

    • stop ur whining

      stupid kids having kids at that Larry

  • Justsaying

    Remember, these young people still need the most fundamental
    educational tool a person can every have, and thats the ability to
    read. Schools have to find away to guarantee what they guarantee.
    If the “Third grade guarantee” is – that by the time a child finishes the third
    grade they are reading at that level, make that priority one. What I mean is,
    if the problem is that significant, as it obviously is, devote all your time and
    resources on that front alone; forget about the music class, the art class;
    the second language… I know young people who are taking foreign languages
    and can’t read their own at grade level.

  • Brian_Reinhardt

    For too long, Lorain City Schools has used every excuse in the book as to why students cannot perform to state standards.

    These reading test results should show the parents in Lorain once and for all that their excuses are just that.

    I have two questions for Mr. Tucker and they are:

    1. When are teachers going to be asked the question why are kids from Lorain at Admiral King(poor area) able to learn reading much better than students in better areas of Lorain? If it was any other school than Admiral King, I couldn’t ask that question but something positive is going on there.

    2. When is something FINALLY going to be done about it?

    You cannot tell me that the poor performance Lorain’s students display is their fault. At some time we have to look at the machine teaching these students at an individual CLASSROOM level and remove/reassign/retrain teachers in the consistently lower performing classrooms and do the same to the principals in those buildings.

    Yes, parents bear a portion of the responsibility but you cannot tell me that the parents at AK are better or worse than the parents in Lorain’s other elementary schools.

    • stop ur whining

      Maybe the parents of AK students work with the teachers to promote a better learning environment both in and out of schools?

      • Brian_Reinhardt

        Why is that?

        That is the question that needs answered.

        What is going on at AK that isn’t at Washington and WHY?

        What magical teaching or parenting is happening 10 blocks away from one another that results in such a dramatic reading efficiency result?

    • TheOriginalFactChecker

      Actually, Admiral King has the lowest portion of low income students of any elementary school in Lorain. (18% lower than Washington Avenue)

  • Zen Grouch

    I don’t get it…

    How can kids that young fall so far behind, basically right out of the starting gate?

    I understand 11 or 12 year olds in Lorain becoming jaded and giving up on their education, but freakin’ third graders?!

    Normally I like to cut schools and teachers a lot of slack, but when students so young are allowed to fall behind, I’m thinking the teachers should take the brunt of the blame.

    • TheOriginalFactChecker

      There are, I believe, two districts in Ohio that test every student entering kindergarten. In Lorain, over 80% of those students are between 1 and 2 years behind their expected development level before a Lorain teacher ever meets them. So, by test time in third grade, most Lorain students need to make up 1 to 2 years of development plus learn what’s expected in K, 1, 2, and 3. That’s 5 or 6 years of material in just 4 years of class for over 80% of the students. Lorain teachers do wonders by getting 60% of third graders up to grade level after they start 1 or 2 years behind.

      • Zen Grouch

        “In Lorain, over 80% of those students are between 1 and 2 years behind their expected development level…”

        These numbers are too horrendous to believe.

        Do you have any links to back up the statistics you presented?

        • Peggy Schaffer

          I have worked with kindergarteners who don’t even know their first name. I repeat their first name.

          • Zen Grouch

            Maybe they come from homes where all the siblings have different last names so they don’t bother to learn their first names.

            Either that, or they just answer to “HEY STUPID!”

      • Brian_Reinhardt

        I have spoken with teachers in two Lorain elementary schools that teach 1st Grade/Kindergarten and they assured me that when the kids pass to Second Grade, they are completely prepared for Second Grade. Meet me sometime for coffee and I’ll gladly give you their names.

        Furthermore, the pass/fail rate for children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade(99% pass) is pretty remarkable for a district that CONSTANTLY claims that 80% of the children come to them unprepared and that it takes “years” to get them caught up.

        I have read your “nonsense” here for years now and you spew nothing but excuses for the district.

        It’s time to remove the mask behind the Factchecker isn’t it?

        Either put your real name behind your assertions or just keep them to yourself because anyone can post comments anonymously or just stop wasting our time with your tirades. Nobody believes you anyway.

  • castofcharacters

    There are a large percentage of Gifted students in the third grade at Admiral King. One gifted classroom scores of say 80 % added together with a classroom that may only score 40% give to total school score of 60% , which makes a huge difference! . Also, when you have the majority of ESL students in one location that too effects the scores of the building. The ESL students perform at a much lower rate in reading until they have had much instruction in English. If the test is in English and you have little skills in reading and comprehension of course you will perform lower. If the students are all in one school there will be a difference in the scores. Looking at the other schools they are all around the same range or %.

  • Brandy Lynn

    There’s just nothing good about Lorain.