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One Akron charter school slated for closure, another at risk.

By John Published: August 25, 2011

The Ohio Department of Education has released its list of charter schools that must close at the end of the school year or are at risk for closure next year if they don't improve their report cards.

Three schools are slated for closure based on this year's report card, which was released Wednesday, including Lighthouse Community & Professional Development Academy. I wrote a story in 2010 about the the principal being fired and concerns expressed by the school's state-authorized sponsor, the Richland Academy of the Arts.

The school's latest report card is here. Enrollment is listed as 86 students. The school is rated Academic Emergency and meets the requirements for closure for poor academic performance.

Romig Road Community School is on the list of 15 at-risk charter schools. If the school has below expected growth on its "value-added" measure next year, it would have to close at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. The charter school's current report card can be seen here.

The school is an Academic Emergency this year. The only test the school passed this year was for attendance, no small feat considering its whopping 500-student enrollment (90 percent black, 60 percent poor).  

However, the performance index score, which accounts for all students' scores, improved from 57.3 to 65.1. The biggest gains were in 3rd grade math and reading, though the scores still fall far short of the standard for proficiency.

The school met the value-added requirement this year. The state has made it harder to both exceed this standard and fall short of it for all schools. Last year, for example, 48 of 181 charter schools failed to meet a year's expected growth in a year's time and 53 met the standard. This year,  just 30 out of 196 fell short and 124 met the standard. 

The value-added meaure comes into play when determining if certain charter schools are closed under an accountability law that was amended in the new budget.

Here's the official explanation from ODE (AE means Academic Emergency).

If the school has any of grade levels 4 through 8, but no grade levels higher than grade 9, it must close if it has been in AE for 2 out of the last 3 years AND it has been below (red) on a subject level component of Value-Added in 2 of the last 3 years (so, red in reading in 2 or the last 3 years, or red in math in 2 of the last three years, or red in reading in 1 of the last 3 years and red in math in 1 of the other of the last 3 years) 

Got that? Ok.

 BTW, schools where 51 percent or more of the students are on special education plans  (e.g., Akron-based Summit Academies) are exempt from the law. Charter high schools with "dropout recovery programs" that have received a waiver (e.g. Akron-based White Hat Management Life Skills Centers) also are exempt from academic closure.




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