Complete list of schools facing federal sanctions due in coming weeks

2010-02-21T23:10:00Z Complete list of schools facing federal sanctions due in coming weeksBy Leila Summers / The Daily News Longview Daily News
February 21, 2010 11:10 pm  • 

Dozens of Washington schools are anxiously awaiting a final list of "persistently lowest achieving" schools, which is expected to be released in the next couple of weeks and likely will lead to big changes at those schools.

These schools, which include Monticello Middle School in Longview, will face five improvement options mandated by the U.S. Department of Education if the schools want to receive new grants that aim to improve student learning.

But the grant dollars come with a bitter caveat: most schools, like Monticello, will be forced to remove their principal. Another option calls for also transferring half of the school staff to a different school.

Monticello will not be transferring staff, but the school will pursue federal grant money for improving student learning.

Schools also have the option of closing or transforming the school's management structure.

Longview Schools Superintendent Suzanne Cusick said between 40 and 50 Washington schools are expected to receive federal sanctions for improvement, but she doesn't know the names of specific schools.

Nathan Olson, spokesman for the state superintendent's office, declined to comment on the list Friday.

"We're not releasing or even commenting on the list, on who might or might not be on it, until the feds approve it," he said.

Monticello's inclusion on the list was announced ahead of schedule because Principal Bill Marshall wanted his staff prepared for a site visit by federal consultants Monday. The visit is a requirement to receive grant money, which could range in the hundreds-of-thousands for Monticello, but will be competative.

Also, Marshall, a 37-year educator in Longview, wanted to tell his staff Tuesday why he plans to retire at the end of this school year — one year earlier than he planned. Marshall has worked the past eight years as Monticello's principal.

His resignation sparked anger with many students, past and present, as well as parents and co-workers.

The sanctions apply only to schools that have tested poorly for three consecutive years, want federal grants to help improve their schools, and who qualify for, but don't receive, federal Title 1 dollars that provide additional support for schools serving a high number of poor students.

No Kelso schools are on the list, said Kelso School Board President Patty Wood on Friday.

Not receiving Title 1 money has previously protected Monticello from No Child Left Behind sanctions.

But the new U.S. Department of Education administration under President Obama is expanding its identification of low-performing schools, regardless of Title 1 acceptance, Wood said. She attended a speech by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in Washington D.C. earlier this month, in which Duncan informed educators that the federal government is requiring districts to turnaround low-performing schools.

Wood said she supports school improvement, but she's concerned about the federal government having such a heavy hand in performance sanctions.

"I feel like it's usurping powers at both the state and the local level," Wood said. "I feel like the federal government is making a power grab."

Cusick, however, feels differently.

"It's our job to help students achieve at higher levels. In some cases, we haven't done it. We need to ramp up our efforts," she said.

Longview had the option of waiting a year before implementing an improvement option, but Cusick said there's "no guarantee there would be other grant funding available for school reform."

Also, it's the district's civic duty to implement changes right away, she added.

"If we wait another year, that's another year's worth of children that perhaps aren't getting up to benchmarks," she said.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. Roudyruss
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    Roudyruss - February 22, 2010 5:15 am
    For the money that Cusick is being paid, not one Longview school should be on any list of poor schools and she should be fired!
  2. TheBigPic
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    TheBigPic - February 22, 2010 8:50 am
    So now the rest of the story comes out. The changes in school administration are not just mandated by the federal government. They are linked to a grant to help reform the dynamics leading to poor performance. The earlier story and the impression Mr. Marshall seems to have given is that he was just being "ousted". The district seems to have had several angles to their options. It's high time for our schools to shape up and perform!
  3. Jensdad
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    Jensdad - February 22, 2010 9:00 am
    The Longview school process has always been about money and will always be about money. They don't care who they throw in front of the bus as long as they get something out of it. Why don't they look at why the system is low performing and start there instead of finding ways to pad their pocket book and business as usual. Maybe the feds need a closer look at ALL aspects and do what is necessary to get students up to par with the rest of the country. If that means a different school format sobeit
  4. Viewpoint
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    Viewpoint - February 22, 2010 10:35 am
    As this story dribbles out it appears to be a case of the district voluntarily making changes to qualify for a chance at federal dollars, not exactly the same as the feds forcing change down the district's throat for current funding. But it is representative of the Obama's administration new education tactic to mandate huge changes in the way schools do business in return for relatively little funding. Not that districts couldn't make some of these changes without money if they wanted.
  5. motheroftwo
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    motheroftwo - February 22, 2010 10:37 am
    If Cusick is so worried about the students why did she make staff cuts and decide on 7 period days? Her actions since firing Marshall are completely fake. Thank goodness Longview still has teachers that care about our children because this woman does not.
  6. CHoff0
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    CHoff0 - February 22, 2010 10:43 am
    Most of the secondary schools in this state are a disaster.

    Why? A substaintial portion of the responsibility for this lies with PARENTS! Trash to cell phones, dump the X Box, turn off the TV and you will see why!

    When school becomes "PRORITY ONE" for families things will change!
  7. Viewpoint
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    Viewpoint - February 22, 2010 10:49 am
    Districts have been known to use grant requirements as leverage to make change that would otherwise be unpopular to their patrons, employees, or community. Lacking is a transparent acknowledgement and agreement of what needs to be done to improve the system and student learning and the will to implement a plan and deal with issues like union contracts and poverty which may present barriers. The complexity and obfuscation around these subjects make it very difficult for public understanding.
  8. stump
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    stump - February 22, 2010 11:54 am
    Staff cuts and 7 period days will affect how schools perform this year. Mr. Marshall lost his job because of how the school performed before those changes.
  9. local
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    local - February 22, 2010 1:03 pm
    stump - Those above Marshall (Cusick and Fritsch) KNEW that Monticello was not meeting benchmarks so they decided to kicke the dog while the dog was down. Instead of making positive changes to a failing school e.g. changing the school boundaries to evenly disburse at risk students, they instead implemented a 7 period day and make huge staff cuts. How is that Marshalls fault? Time for Cusick and Fritsch to step down and to hire leaders who want ALL the students and principals to succeed.
  10. country gal
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    country gal - February 22, 2010 1:18 pm
    I'm confused. I thought a portion of our taxpayers' property tax paid for schools?
  11. Elvira
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    Elvira - February 22, 2010 2:34 pm
    The whole educational system is too Top Heavy. There is a lack of trust from the Feds on down. What's called "educational reform" is really just paperwork, meetings, requirements, etc. that burdens Teachers and Administrators from doing what they have been trained and have learned from "boots on the ground" experience to do well. Teachers are not allowed to teach the way they know would work. They're not allowed to use their creative expertise. Want test scores to go up? Quit micromanaging
  12. Fiery Gal
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    Fiery Gal - February 22, 2010 2:50 pm
    So, um...where's this "list" they referred to in the article? And why don't they list it in the article? That's what I was looking for when I read the title.
  13. ProudRALmom
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    ProudRALmom - February 22, 2010 2:51 pm
    I am concerned that my child's high school is also going to be on this list. I would have to agree with "local"...if they stopped allowing so many kids to transfer out of Monticello and RAL then the numbers wouldn't be so off balance.
  14. crowsfeet
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    crowsfeet - February 22, 2010 5:13 pm
    Well I hate to be a stick in the mud but I remember when you had to go to the school in the district that you dwelled in. How do welfare moms/dads be able to drive kids to other districts when a bus will take them free to thier local schools? Duh, don't argue I know people that drive kids and say they can not afford to pay thier water bills. Check it out folks. No Rules.
  15. playcool
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    playcool - February 22, 2010 5:30 pm
    Interesting that no one even wonders why the federal government has anything to do about our schools. The progressives/union rank and file want the feds in our schools where they have no right whatsover. This so they can indoctrinate more little progressives before they're old enough to think on their own. Unions equal mediocrity. Jensdad is correct. Follow the money.
  16. local
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    local - February 22, 2010 6:50 pm
    TDN reporter Summers: You implied that Marshall left on his own free will when you wrote "he plans to retire at the end of this school year — one year earlier than he planned." He didn't retire this year, he was forced out by the higher ups in the district office. I'm sure Cusick and Fritsch would love to put a sweet spin on how they back-doored Marshall by forcing him to step down, but please do the community a favor and call a spade a spade.
  17. light bulb2
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    light bulb2 - February 23, 2010 6:45 am
    As is made perfectly clear in the article, Longview did not to do anything until after the school year 2010-2011.
    The district could have done this so much different. They could have let Mr. Marshall, who has given his all to Monticello and Longview district for 37 years retire with dignity at the end of next year. And regarding the district's comment about losing grant money - how can you lose something you don't have. Randy Dorn, State Supt. has said that WA may not receive any grant $.
  18. sracronk
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    sracronk - February 23, 2010 7:03 am
    A teacher can only teach so much. It is not the schools resposibilty to make sure every student is doing their work and applying themselves. What about the parents. Instead of punishing our educators, why not find ways to punish the parents for not taking part in the childs education. If I did not spend a couple hours with my son every night, he would be behind. But he is excelling because I put in the time and help him learn.
  19. stump
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    stump - February 23, 2010 8:15 am
    local: reread my comment please. I didn't say anything was Marshall's fault. Also, he is planning to retire. He was removed as principal of Monticello but not fired. Marshall chose to retire a year earlier rather than go somewhere else though he has kept his options open if a job that appeals to him opens up. So Summers reported it correctly.
  20. Commercial Construction Manager
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    Commercial Construction Manager - February 23, 2010 8:24 am
    Where is the sense of accountability?
    If your child screws up at home, the FACTS are that YOU screwed up! YOU did not teach your child what the consequences may be when they do not make the extra effort to succeed.
    This is the same for teachers AND administration. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE and SHOULD be fired if they do not perform. This includes teaching their subordinates how to teach, and if they fail at this (as did Bill Marshall) they SHOULD suffer the consequences!
  21. biker4life
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    biker4life - February 23, 2010 12:32 pm
    Remember when if a student was failing, it was their fault? Remember when parents were parenting not game cubes, Wii's, cable tv or play stations? Remember when families were families and raised their kids to work hard, to achieve not to slack? Remember when it was expected, no, demanded excellence from all Americans? Remember when we all spoke a common language? Remember when special ed was in a special school (classroom) and not dumped into the classroom? Remember when...
  22. biker4life
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    biker4life - February 23, 2010 12:45 pm
    Commercial Construction Manager- You are on the right track but you need to rethink the amount of power you would be placing in students hands if teachers could be hired and fired according to student performance. Think of the relationship between prisoner and prison guard. If prison guards were fired based on prisoners performance, guards would be fired in a heartbeat. Teachers can't control a students willingness to learn or desire to learn - that happens at home.
  23. biker4life
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    biker4life - February 23, 2010 12:53 pm
    What's scary is I see the feds doing the same thing in America that pre WWII Germany did with their youth - create youth camps where kids are taken from their families that 'don't meet standards' and sent to boarding schools. Could it happen? yes because it will be done under guise of 'National Interest'. How will it happen? The Feds will do their best to divide communities just like what's happening here. Back your teachers and admins and tell the feds to shove it.
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