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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 the district’s 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 have been working on the proposal.

“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 it must develop a comprehensive plan to improve.

Focus districts were identified by the state as a result of 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 of 2006, or 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 with a graduation rate in the 80 percent range for students who weren’t classified as being economically disadvantaged.

As a result, the district was required to complete a comprehensive improvement plan for the district and a comprehensive educational plan for the high school, which are due by the end of November.

The district will receive funds to help it improve, and it will set aside Title 1 funds to battle problems. Mrs. Kirnie said officials already are beginning to identify and address issues.

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

The 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.

Mrs. Kirnie said the district also is required to hire an outside education expert, who will be paid out of Title 1 funds and any other funds the district receives for being identified as a focus district and focus school.

Officials have a person mind and have submitted her credentials to the state for approval, but have not yet received word on whether that person has been accepted.

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