Several Waterloo schools struggle to make the grade - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Several Waterloo schools struggle to make the grade

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Students are getting back into the flow of things after winter break, but with a new year comes a new list of the lowest achieving schools in Iowa. The new report came out just this week from the Iowa Department of Education.

A number of those schools were found in eastern Iowa. Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Olin, South Tama, and Waterloo all had schools on the list.

Four schools in Waterloo were considered Tier 1 Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools. They include Lincoln, Carver, Cunningham, and Irving Elementary Schools.

Tier 2 schools include Bunger and Central Middles Schools, and East High School.

Irving and Cunningham Elementary Schools are eligible to take park in the School Improvement Grants.

Superintendent of Schools, Gary Norris says urban schools like those in Waterloo have a tougher time overcoming economic differences.

"It's not acceptable. We want all the kids performing higher but that might be the reason we would see more urban kids listed in the designation," said Norris.

Last year six schools divided up 18 million dollars in federal funds, this year there are seven schools eligible and only around three million dollars to divide up. If the schools would take the money they would have take on a reform model which includes closure, restart, turn around, or transformational.

"There's still a big question mark in a lot of our minds as to whether the application and all the time will be worthwhile," said Norris.

The Waterloo School District has also implemented their own strategic plan and Dr. Norris says the results are encouraging.

"I can't sit here today and tell you we're happy with all the scores because we're not yet, but we've seen some huge improvement in the group I was mentioning earlier," said Norris.

This is all part of the No Child Left Behind act as well as the federal stimulus law, which qualifies the identified schools for improvement grants.

If the Waterloo School District would decide to take part, applications for school improvement grants are due by March 30th. The grants will then be awarded on April 8th.

 Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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