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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Keep kids in same school

WHEN children move to a different school, they must adjust to a new setting, new peers, a new routine, and a new teacher, as well as try to make new friends.

Though such big changes can be difficult, youngsters whose families move frequently within the city may do it several times in a single school year, and it can affect their performance and also how a school is perceived.

Toledo Public Schools has a noticeable share of transient students, whose parents or guardians must enroll them into a new school each time they relocate. Overall, state records show, about 13 percent of TPS students remained in the same building for less than the full academic year in 2006-07. At individual schools, though, the rate can be higher. For instance, at Lagrange Elementary School, 28 percent of the enrollees were there less than the whole year.

In the North End, neighborhood activists want to help students overcome the setbacks that result from moving often. They have developed a pilot program in five North Toledo schools intended to keep students in the same school from the start to finish of the year.

That's a formidable undertaking for members of the Lagrange Village Council, and fortunately they have support from the district. Both the residents and school authorities know you don't have to be an expert to understand how disruptive multiple moves can be to children's ability to learn well. Fact is, moving often doesn't only hurt their ability to excel in their lessons, but it also damages their mental and emotional well-being, which directly effects on how they do behaviorally as well as academically.

TPS will examine the effort and weigh how the district can benefit, and give much attention to the feasibility of replicating the pilot project. The district already faces a multimillion dollar deficit, so the cost of keeping youngsters in the same school throughout the year will determine whether this is something that can be done in every building.

We believe the pilot project will be beneficial to students and their schools. If it proves manageable fiscally, it will be well worth the investment to expand it.

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