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Six schools off the failing list; one is added

Six Howard County elementary schools have worked their way off a list of those failing to meet federal standards, but an alternative school for students who struggled in traditional classrooms has been added to the list and two middle schools face greater scrutiny.

State education officials, who are charged with implementing the federal No Child Left Behind Act, released the annual list of troubled schools yesterday.

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More than 30 Baltimore schools that have failed to meet standards for several years in a row will be forced by federal law to undergo a major overhaul this year. Parents and students will begin seeing new staff, principals and curriculum, particularly in the middle and high schools trying to meet new requirements, city school officials said.

Despite concerns about the city schools that did not make the grade, a large number of schools in the region have made great strides, including the six in Howard: Bryant Woods, Cradlerock (formerly Dasher Green-Owen Brown), Guilford, Phelps Luck, Swansfield and Talbott Springs elementaries.

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As a reward for two years of hard work, an administrative burden has been lifted, said Portia White, coordinator of testing for Howard County schools.

"For practical reasons, it means [these schools] don't have the pressure; they don't have the paperwork," she said.

However, the Homewood School, an alternative learning center for children in middle and high school who have difficulty in traditional classroom settings because of legal infractions, behavior challenges or emotional disabilities, has been added to the list of troubled schools. Because it did not show improvement over two consecutive years, Homewood will enter the state's "school improvement program," which provides extra resources in exchange for required academic results.

Schools in the program that fail to improve eventually face sanctions, including the elimination of federal funding.

Principal Frank V. Eastham said he was not surprised because by definition his students did not succeed in other programs.

"Part of our entrance criteria is that students aren't performing well," he said. He added that the test may not be the best tool to measure their achievement, particularly since the population is so small.

For the first time, eighth-graders in special education programs at Elkridge Landing and Murray Hill middle schools did not make "adequate yearly progress" targets on the reading component of the Maryland State Assessments.

Two of 27 special education eighth-graders at Elkridge Landing surpassed basic reading levels, compared with about 31 percent of the population last year. And about 8 percent - two of 24 special education eighth-graders - at Murray Hill Middle were considered proficient or advanced in reading, down from nearly 31 percent.

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If the two middle schools fail to make progress for two consecutive years, they would be added to the failing schools' list.

Elkridge Landing Principal Thomas Saunders said data from tests of additional grades will help determine where to focus their efforts. "The exciting thing about this coming year is we will have the results from the sixth and seventh grade as well," he said. "This year, we didn't have that luxury."

Other schools systems saw progress in the test results.

All of Carroll County schools met the standards, the only system in the region that can claim that distinction.

In Baltimore County, seven schools failed to meet the academic targets set by the state. "For a school system this size [more than 160 schools], I think that's a remarkable accomplishment," said Baltimore County school system spokesman Charles A. Herndon.

Among the 46 Baltimore County schools that did not make adequate progress last year, all except two - Sandalwood Elementary in Essex and Evening High School - made adequate progress this year. Evening High is not a single school but a countywide program serving students who have been unsuccessful in traditional academic settings.

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Only two middle schools in Harford County - Edgewood and Aberdeen middle schools - failed to meet the standards, and all of the county's 32 elementary schools and 10 high schools passed. The two schools failed to meet standards because either poor or special education students did not pass the tests.

Eleven Anne Arundel schools are on the failing list, with three schools added and three taken off this year. Despite struggles in some schools, administrators in Arundel said they were pleased with the overall results.

"We feel really positive that the overwhelming majority of schools showed a marked increase in achievement," said Jonathan Brice, spokesman for the Arundel schools.

And in the city, seven schools did well enough two years in a row to escape the failing list, while four were added.

Of more than 60 schools that had not met standards for at least two years in a row, 30 improved this year. "I really do feel, on balance, this is really more good news," said the chief executive officer, Bonnie Copeland.

Of the city's 184 schools, 115 met all the reading and math targets, which Copeland said she believes is "incredible."

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The data presented yesterday is preliminary and could change after each school's attendance and dropout figures are factored in. The state wanted to release the data early because parents of students in failing schools may have the option of transferring their children to a better school in the district or applying to get tutoring services next year.

Parents have to make that decision soon to get their children in a new school by fall.

Sun staff writers Sara Neufeld, Artika Rangan and Childs Walker contributed to this article.

Improved schools

Schools in the metro area that improved enough in the past two years to no longer be on the state's list of failing schools.

Anne Arundel County

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Georgetown East Elementary

Harman Elementary

Park Elementary

Harford County

Halls Cross Roads Elementary

Howard County

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Bryant Woods Elementary

Dasher-Green Elementary

Guilford Elementary

Phelps Luck Elementary

Swansfield Elementary

Talbott Springs Elementary

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Baltimore City

Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary

Federal Hill Elementary

Furley Elementary

George G. Kelson Elementary

Matthew A. Henson Elementary

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North Bend Elementary

Westside Elementary

Schools failing standards

Schools in the metro area that have failed to meet minimum state standards in at least one of the last two years.

* Schools that met standards in 2004, but remain on alert until they meet standards for a second straight year.

Baltimore City

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Alexander Hamilton Elementary*

Arundel Elementary/Middle*

Barclay Elem/Middle*

Beechfield Elementary*

Belmont Elementary *

Brehms Lane Elementary*

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Callaway Elementary*

Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary Canton Middle*

Carver Vocational-Technical High

Central Career Center at Briscoe

Chinquapin Middle*

Dickey Hill Elementary/Middle*

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Dr. Carter Woodson Elem.*

Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Elementary*

Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary*

Eager Street Academy Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary* Fairmount-Harford High*

Frederick Elementary*

Forest Park High

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Fort Worthington Elementary

Francis M. Wood Alternative High

Garrett Heights Elementary

Hampstead Hill Elementary

Harbor City High

Harford Heights Intermediate

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Harford Heights Primary

Harriet Tubman Elementary*

Hazelwood Elem/Middle*

Holabird Elementary *

James Mosher Elementary

Lake Clifton-Eastern High*

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Lakeland Elem/Middle*

Liberty Elementary*

Moravia Park

Morrell Park Elem/Middle*

Northeast Middle*

Northwood Elementary*

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Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle

Pimlico Elementary

Pimlico Middle

Robert Poole Middle*

Robert W. Coleman Elementary*

Rognel Heights Elem/Middle*

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Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary

Southeast Middle*

Stadium School Thomas G. Hayes Elementary*

Thurgood Marshall High*

Upton School

Walter P. Carter Elementary*

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William Paca Elementary*

Windsor Hills Elementary

Winston Middle*

Woodbourne Day School

Anne Arundel County

Annapolis Middle

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Arundel Middle

Belle Grove Elementary

Chesapeake Bay Middle

Freetown Elementary*

Lindale Middle

Meade Middle

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Meade Senior High

Tyler Heights Elementary*

Van Bokkelen Elementary*

Waugh Chapel Elementary

Baltimore County

Arbutus Middle

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Church Lane Elementary

Chatsworth School

Evening High School

McCormick Elementary

New Town High

Sandalwood Elementary

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Winfield Elementary*

Woodlawn Middle*

Howard County

Homewood School

Elkridge Landing Middle

Murray Hill Middle

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Harford County

Aberdeen Middle

Edgewood Middle

Magnolia Elementary*

Schools facing overhaul

These schools in Baltimore failed to meet standards for several years in a row and will be forced to undergo a major overhaul:

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Abbottston Elementary

Benjamin Franklin Jr. Middle

Calverton Middle

Commodore Rogers Elem.

Collington Square Elementary

Diggs-Johnson Middle

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Roland Patterson Academy

Dr. Samuel L. Banks High

Edgecombe Circle Elementary

Edgewood Elementary

Frederick Douglass High

Garrison Middle

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General Wolfe Elementary

Guilford Elementary/Middle

Hamilton Middle

Highlandtown Elementary

Johnston Square Elementary

Lake Clifton-Eastern High

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Margaret Brent Elementary

Mary E. Rodman Elementary

Northwestern High

Patterson High

Reginald F. Lewis High

Samuel F.B. Morse Elementary

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Southwestern High

Tench Tilghman Elementary

Thurgood Marshall Middle

Walbrook High

W.E.B. DuBois Senior High

Westport Academy

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William H. Lemmel Middle

Yorkwood Elementary


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