PHOENIX (AP) — The principal of the only junior high school in Arizona’s largest district with a “D” grade from the State Board of Education likened the policy of making her report the results to the community “the same consequence as a sex offender.”
Grades for the 2016-2017 school year were finalized last month, and Kino Junior High School in Mesa Public Schools has a “D” grade, The Arizona Republic reported .
State law requires district schools with a “D” or “F” to inform all residents in their attendance zones about the grade, while charters must notify parents.
Kino Junior High Principal Keiko Dilbeck told the board last week during a meeting that those in the neighborhood have wondered to her, “Why are you given the same consequence as a sex offender?”
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“I implore you to provide true support and innovation for struggling schools,” Dilbeck said. “A letter grade and public shaming without any regard for the challenges our school faces is worthless.”
Students at Kino struggle with poverty, with nearly 90 percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Many require special-education programs or are English-language learners.
“I am expected to stand in front of a group of people and publicly shame my school, staff, students, and community,” Dilbeck said.
State Superintendent Diane Douglas spoke to the crowded meeting after public comment, which included Dilbeck’s statement.
“I just want people to understand that doesn’t come from us,” she said. “It’s not an arbitrary decision. The letter (grade), which was referenced … that’s a requirement from the state.”
Arizona law requires school boards of districts with ‘D’ and ‘F’ schools to develop improvement plans.
After the meeting, one official from the Arizona Department of Education called Dilbeck, she said. The department now plans to help Kino study the root cause of its low proficiency levels.
The AzMerit test, a statewide achievement exam for Arizona students, is the predominant factor the state uses to decide school letter grades.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com