News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to School Part II: No Earth-Toned Real Estate Development Left Behind

A whole slew of Reston-area elementary schools didn't meet federal benchmarks on Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests last school year.

Dogwood Elementary, Forest Edge Elementary, Hunters Woods Elementary and Terraset Elementary were among the 56 Fairfax County schools that didn't meet the benchmarks required by the awesome No Child Left Behind law, despite changes to address the county's ESL population.

In 2007, 37 percent of county schools failed to meet federal benchmarks under No Child Left Behind, a fact that school officials largely blamed on a new requirement during the 2006-07 school year that immigrant students learning English take the same grade-level test as their peers.

Now, schools are allowed to use the Virginia Grade Level Assessment – a portfolio-based assessment method that is also used for some students with disabilities – for certain students who are very new to the English language.

With that change, 134 of the county's 190 schools met the federal benchmarks.
Of course, standardized test results tell you more about the socioeconomic standing of a school's students than the quality of the education -- but these folks already know that.

Meanwhile, even though some students affected by the recent uneventful redistricting at South Lakes High School opted to take advantage of loopholes to attend less Bratz-intensive schools, still others voluntarily transfered there.
The student population on the Reston campus, once 1,440, is now about 1,650. At South Lakes High, the freshman class has 510 students. That's about the target class size for the school. The total enrollment exceeds projections for the first year of the new boundaries.

The school's population spike occurred even though more than 80 students who would have been freshmen at South Lakes High transferred out, most of them to pursue Advanced Placement classes or others not offered at the school. Those transfers were seen as a consequence of the opposition of some parents to the boundary changes.

But South Lakes Principal Bruce Butler said that about 25 freshmen transferred into the school to take advantage of its International Baccalaureate program, and about a dozen others came from private schools.
But was it for IB, or for the fashions?

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