District seeks to prevent takeover of 3 schools
April 7, 2008
Meghan E. Moravcik
Elementary School District governing board is considering spending about
$345,000 to try to prevent a state takeover of schools that have been repeatedly
The board met in a study session last week to get an update from Superintendent
Sandra Johnson, who has proposed being more proactive in improving Challenger
Middle School, Landmark Middle School and Melvin E. Sine School.
Challenger has been labeled "underperforming" by the state for the past two
years. Landmark and Sine received the label this year.
The new labels will come out in late August. If
Challenger is deemed underperforming again, it will face a visit from a team
from the Arizona Department of Education, and the state could take over certain
aspects of how the school is run, including replacing the principal and
assigning instructional coaches.
If Landmark and Sine are deemed underperforming again in August, they will have
to implement an improvement plan.
Rather than wait for this to happen, Johnson believes the district should be
proactive and focus on improving the schools as much as possible now.
"I believe it's our responsibility to provide the extra support to these schools
and make sure they're improving," Johnson told the board members, adding that
waiting until the new labels come out in August likely would be too late to
implement changes for next school year.
The proposal involves additional training for teachers, more oversight from the
district, improving the discipline plan, identifying students who still need
help and providing additional tutoring, and bringing in experienced teachers to
serve as coaches and help improve lesson plans.
Johnson said the board could decide to provide this support for all three
schools or just focus on Challenger, which has had the underperforming label the
"Personally, I don't see why we wouldn't try to support all three schools right
now," board President Steve Johnston said.
The board likely will vote on the issue at its next meeting, on Thursday.