Majority of Waterloo Community Schools are in need of assistance - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Majority of Waterloo Community Schools are "in need of assistance"


A new report suggests the majority of Waterloo schools are not meeting basic academic goals. The Waterloo Community School District is learning that, for the second year in a row, 15 schools are classified as "In Need of Assistance." The designation is based on standardized test results, attendance, and graduation rates during this past school year.

"Essentially, achievement was flat. About the same as it was last year. There's some places where it went up, some where it went down slightly. But the goals increased this year," said Sharon Miller, WCS representative.

This can be seen as troubling news for parents who have their children enrolled in Waterloo schools. Normally, parents would have the option to send their child to different school within the district. However, all three high schools and all four middle schools did not make the grade.

At the elementary level, three schools did meet their goals. But only two have room for more kids. This is why the district wants to let parents know as soon as possible what their options are for next year.

Some parents believe, the district is moving in the right direction. Trevor Bardessono's nine-year-old son is finding success in specialized programs at Lincoln Elementary.

"This year he had problems with reading, and we put him in those and he's a lot better. He's up with his grade level now," said Bardessono.

For those who aren't happy with their child's progress, parents do have the option to transfer their kids to Orange or Lou Henry Elementary. The district wants to prepare for potential transfers by alerting families to their options.

"The main reason for that, is so parents know what their choices are, and that we can plan to serve all the students who do take the option for a choice transfer," Miller said.

But if last year is any indication, the majority of kids will stay put. In 2010, about 170 elementary kids chose to transfer buildings. That's out of more than 4,700 students enrolled in K-5 schools.

Bardessono is one of the parents who plans to keep his son in Lincoln. He says, he's seeing progress, even if its not reflected in a test score.

"I'm the type that, if a challenge comes up, I don't want to teach him to run away from the challenge. I want to tell him to face it and overcome it," he said.

Iowa school districts have two more weeks to certify their test results, the deadline is July 7, 2011. Waterloo was one of the first to do so this year.

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