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Published: Wednesday, 2/9/2005

Toledo Public Schools in countdown to state proficiency tests

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Public Schools is not launching a space shuttle or any other vehicle into the outer orbits, but the school district is without question in countdown mode.

The countdown is to the state proficiency tests and the school district's efforts to hang on to its "continuous improvement" rating it earned last year. It is calling on between 1,000 to 1,500 volunteers to make sure the district does just that.

Last year, Toledo Public Schools became the first urban district in Ohio to reach the 'continuous improvement' category because of students' success on the proficiency tests. It was also one of five urban districts in the country to meet federal No Child Left Behind guidelines, which require greater accountability for schools in students' educational success.

Last week, Toledo superintendent Eugene Sanders announced the district's month-long efforts to prepare for the state-wide proficiency tests.

"We made the category of continuous improvement . ●. ●. by mobilizing many resources, including the people in our community who want to help students learn what they need to know to be productive contributors in our society," Mr. Sanders said.

"It is well known that people rise to expectations. The community can play a vital role in helping children meet the expectation that they will work hard and do well on these tests and other academic challenges."

Mr. Sanders said the school district plans to bring together 1,500 volunteers who will help tutor students at least one hour a week through February.

Earlier this week, the school district held a training session for tutors helping students with the citizenship proficiency test.

Other volunteers will fan out through the school district locating students who need help studying for the tests.

School board president Larry Sykes, a graduate of Toledo Public Schools, said that the community should take an interest because the end product, the students, will be the ones taking jobs and becoming their future leaders.

Jeanette Hrovatich, of the United Way, said her organization will help in pulling together volunteers. The proficiency test impacts children and families and is one of the reasons the United Way decided to use its resources in the effort, she said.

The district is launching an aggressive public door-to-door literature drop informing parents of the importance of the tests.

Fourth and sixth-graders will take their proficiency tests March 7-18. Ninth-graders will take the tests March 7-11.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors who didn't pass the test must re-take it the week of March 14.

Community centers such as the Murchison Community Center, at 1616 Lawrence Ave., has offered volunteers for the proficiency tests.

During its First Saturday programs, the center offers practice tests students can take.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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