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Norwood-Norfolk submits plan to address Focus School, Focus District designation

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NORFOLK - Norwood-Norfolk Central School officials have created a tentative plan to address their designation by the state Education Department as a Focus District and Focus School.

Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie told board of education members Tuesday night that she and high school Principal Robin J. Fetter had been working on the effort.

“We have tentatively created a plan. Hopefully we have addressed each of the six tenets. I think we have a solid plan that matches the district goals,” Mrs. Kirnie said.

Norwood-Norfolk was among 70 districts statewide identified as a Focus District, meaning they must develop comprehensive plans to support improvements.

Focus Districts were identified by the state Education Department as a result of their low performance and lack of progress in English language arts and math combined or graduation rates for one or more accountability groups.

Norwood-Norfolk was identified because of the graduation rate of economically disadvantaged students in the cohort class of 2006, those who entered the ninth grade together in 2006 and graduated together in 2010.

The graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students in that cohort was under 50 percent compared to a graduation rate in the 80 percent range for students that weren’t classified as being economically disadvantaged.

As a result, they were required to complete a district comprehensive improvement plan for the district and a comprehensive educational plan for the high school, which were due to the state Education Department by the end of November.

They are expected to receive funds for being identified as a Focus District and Focus School, and they have also set aside Title 1 funds to help address the issues that landed them the designation. Mrs. Kirnie said they’re already beginning to identify and address the issues.

“We have things in place. This grant will help us continue with the successful programs we already have,” she said.

Their plan calls for more involvement by parents in the process, Mrs. Kirnie told board members.

“It really ramps up the role of parents. It also brings in PTSA standards,” she said.

The district is also required to hire an outside education expert, according to the superintendent, who said they would pay for that out of their Title 1 funds and any other funds they receive for being identified as a Focus District and Focus School.

They have a person mind and have submitted her credentials to the state Education Department for approval. But, Mrs. Kirnie said, they have not yet received word on whether that person has been accepted.

It’s a matter of waiting at this point, according to the superintendent.

“We’re on target and certainly on track for the deadlines. We’re just waiting for their approval,” she said.

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