A New Day At Virginia's Largest High School | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

A New Day At Virginia's Largest High School

Play associated audio

Administrators at Virginia's largest high school are working to change public perceptions, after T.C. Williams High was designated a persistently lowest achieving school last year.

Principal Suzane Maxey says she tries not to think about the designation her school received last year -- persistently lowest achieving school. It's a category created to identify schools that consistently fail to meet federal standards but don't receive sanctions associated with taking federal money.

"It's a really very narrowly defined thing," Maxey says. "There are schools that have lower test scores than we do that are not on the list. I don't even pay attention to that anymore. What we are doing is we are moving forward in a really very positive direction."

Last year, Maxey created a tutoring system that uses students to help teach other students. The school board also created a new policy that allows administrators to retest students who fail the first time.

T.C. Williams failed to meet federal standards again this year, even though Superintendent Morton Sherman says the school raised test scores to historic highs.

"In one year's effort we have shown we can make a significant difference," says Sherman. "And yet even with that, the school would continue to be under sanction and given no credit for the tremendous work."

The school did, however, receive $2 million federal dollars for each of the three years it failed to meet federal requirements. School Board Chairwoman Sheryl Gorsuch says most of that money went to personnel.

"Identifying the persistently low achieving schools was good. It had the right motivation," Gorsuch says. "The problem was the implementation doesn't necessarily get to the nuances and the specifics of what's going on in a given school."

Next year will be the third and final year of the persistently lowest achieving school designation. What happens after that is an open question -- one that will be determined by the fate of No Child Left Behind.

NPR

Single-Named Singers From The Present And Past

Every answer is the name of a famous, one-named singer like Madonna or Beyoncé. Identify each one from its anagram, to which one extra letter is added. The singers are a mix of past and present.
NPR

No Resume? Criminal Background? No Problem At This Yonkers Bakery

Social justice is part of the recipe at New York's Greyston Bakery. The firm, whose clients include Ben & Jerry's, hires locals whose legal status or work history might otherwise make them unhirable.
NPR

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.