Columbus City Schools employees and an army of volunteers are literally going door-to-door this week in what is being called a "Summer School Blitz", designed to get students who haven't passed the third grade reading assessment back into class.
Alison Holm reports.
Despite impressive gains between the administration of the state-mandated test in the fall and the spring, around 25 percent of Columbus City Schools third-graders failed to make the cut-off score that will let them enter the fourth grade this fall. And despite a barrage of phone calls, mailers, and take-home packets, nearly 700 students are still not registered to take the test again this summer. This week, pairs of staff and volunteers will be ringing doorbells with packets of information, registration forms, and what Chief Academic Officer Darryl Sanders says is a simple message.
"One: there's still two opportunities for third-graders to take the state assessment. And two: we can help your child prepare for the assessment through our summer school program. The state assessment will be administered again on July 8th, and we can administer a state-approved alternative assessment during summer school."
Superintendent Dan Good says additional teachers have been called to help with the study sessions, and free breakfast and lunch will be available for all students. While some transportation will be available, classes are being offered at 28 elementary schools across the district.
"In fact we've made a commitment that a child can attend the school closest to them that has a summer school program. And even though there are different funding streams to support those programs, if it requires a different fund resource we will identify that and make it available, so the support is there for the children"
Good says it's too soon to estimate what the final cost to the district will be. Some schools' programs are being paid for with federal funds, and some are funded by the district. The Ohio Achievement Assessment will be administered on July 8th. A state-approved alternate test will be conducted on July 19th. Under the state's Third Grade Reading Guarantee, students who fail to make the 392 cutoff score cannot enter fourth-grade in the fall.