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Rhee Details Restructuring Plans for 26 Schools

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee today announced her plans to overhaul 26 schools that have failed to meet academic targets for five straight years.

Rhee said she is seeking dramatic changes in the schools to improve student achievement. Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, Rhee had five options for turning them around: converting the schools into charter schools; replacing all or most staff; hiring an education management company to run them; turning them over to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education; or devising another plan.

Rhee opted to replace either the principal or the instructional staff at 17 of 26 schools on the list. Staff at the schools will be required to reapply for their jobs, with no guarantee that they will get them. One school, Green Elementary in Southeast Washington, was taken off the list because it is closing next month because of low enrollment.

Five schools will work with a private partner and seven will work with an alternative plan. Rhee opted against converting the schools into charters or turning them over to the state education office.

"We are fully confident the plan we developed will result in higher achievement levels for all the students educated in [the schools]," Rhee said at a news conference outside Coolidge High School in Northwest.

Eleven of the 17 schools will get new principals. They are: Anacostia High, Dunbar High, Eastern High, Woodson High, Garnet-Patterson-Shaw Middle, Hart Middle, Lincoln Middle, MacFarland Middle, Sousa Middle and Moten Elementary.

The other seven schools receiving new instruction staff are: Cardozo High, Coolidge High, Wilson High, Eliot Middle, Stanton Elementary,Truesdell Elementary and Webb-Wheatley Elementary.

The five schools set to be managed by a nonprofit education firm are: Anacostia, Ballou, Coolidge and Dunbar highs and Hart Middle. Rhee said she will decide soon which partners will be paired with the schools.

The seven schools that will devise some other plan are: Roosevelt High, Spingarn High, Ron Brown Middle, Browne Junior High, Johnson Middle, Kramer Middle and Miner Elementary.

Rhee said the alternative plans include clustering the low-performing schools with high-performing ones; introducing behavior management programs and mental health services for students; and providing individualized instruction for general and special education students, who will be integrated in the same classrooms.

Dion Haynes

By Dion Haynes  |  May 15, 2008; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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