Twenty Mid-Columbia schools will receive state and federal financial to help their struggling students.
The schools, spread across the Pasco, Kennewick, Kiona-Benton City, Finley and North Franklin school districts, either are among the lowest performing in the state or have specific groups of students, such as English langauge learners or those in special education, who are not meeting grade level benchmarks.
Each school will receive $20,000 to $30,000 as a result of their designation. Standardized test scores and the state’s achievement index, a metric that uses various academic data to measure academic growth at schools, were used to determine which schools needed the most help.
“We know there are schools in our state that struggle,” said state Superintendent Randy Dorn in a release. “Using a quality system like the achievement index, we can pinpoint the areas where they struggle and can give them the support they need so students can be successful.”
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Schools are listed as “priority” or “focus” by the state using the past three years of data. Priority schools have fewer than 40 percent of their students at grade level in math or reading, are in the state’s lowest 5 percent on state math and reading tests, are among the lowest performing based on the achievement index or have a five-year graduation rate below 60 percent.
Focus schools are in the lowest 10 percent in math and reading or have a below-60 percent graduation rate in struggling subgroups.
Additional money the schools will receive can be used by teachers and administrators to develop plans to improve student performance. It also may go toward outside services to tutor students in subjects they struggle in.
Nearly all of this year’s listed Mid-Columbia schools have been targeted by the state for extra help in recent years. Only Kennewick’s Westgate Elementary School is a newly listed “priority” school for its struggles in math and reading.
At least three out of four students at each school are receiving free or reduced price school meals and several have significant minority populations.