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NCLB moves impact FHS, BHS, HVA enrollments


Students at Farragut, Bearden and Powell high schools and Hardin Valley Academy will be sharing their classrooms this year with several students from schools identified by the No Child Left Behind Act as “high priority” schools.

NCLB mandates certain schools, those with a large percentage of economically disadvantaged students, not making adequate yearly progress under its guidelines two years in a row, offer students the choice to transfer to a school in good standing — of which the above listed four schools are Knox County’s only high schools in good standing.


Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools Public Affairs, said “What we did in Knox County is look at the schools in good standing, and we have to offer the parents initially a choice, so we offered three schools. We based it on a geographic proximity to the schools that had to offer choice.”

He added, “That is very consistent with our elementary and middle schools. But with respect to our high schools, we only have four in the county that are in good standing because of the graduation rate. So students who were in high schools that had to offer school choice got a choice between four high schools — Bearden, Powell, Farragut and Hardin Valley.”

Some of the transferring students also may receive county supplied transportation to and from school.

“Schools that are Title One schools, meaning that they have a high degree of students who are on free and reduced lunch or who are economically disadvantaged, those schools receive additional funding from the government in order to provide additional support within the school because of the high level of poverty that they may experience,” Oaks said.

“The Title One funds can be used to provide transportation for the students who wish to transfer to those schools in good standing,” he added.

Knox County’s pupil-to-teacher ratio goal is 20-to-1. These transfers may skew that ratio in the four high schools in good standing.

Oaks said if the ratio becomes too out of proportion, KCS will take the problem under review and “if additional staff is needed then additional staff will be assigned.”

He added, “We have a staffing formula that we use for all of our schools and that is stratified by poverty. So that means schools with higher poverty ended up with a lower student/teacher ratio than schools with a lower level of poverty.”

The formula can be found on KCS’ Web site at www.knoxschools.org.

Farragut High School principal Michael Reynolds said FHS has received approximately 65 transfer students.

“It changes from day to day. At the start we were as high as 1,874 [students] and now we are at 1,840.

“Even though some accepted the transfer they came and decided to go back and some accepted the transfer and did not show,” he added.

Reynolds said the ratio numbers are harder to nail down in high school than in elementary and middle schools.

“Each student has four classes and you have to fit them in. So it has bumped the number in our core classes up, and we have had to pull some teachers from electives to teach core classes.

“It is not like elementary school where you are just adding one more fifth grade. Each change in a student’s schedule virtually reflects eight changes,” he said.

BHS principal John Bartlett said his school has received 20 to 25 transfer students, which affected BHS’ ratio as well.

As of press time HVA principal Sallee Reynolds was unavailable for comment and the exact number of transfers to the four high schools also was unavailable.

Michael Reynolds and Bartlett are both confident their schools will rise to the challenge and accept these students without sacrificing quality education.

Bartlett said, “I have a great group of teachers who do a great job.”

Reynolds added, “It is something that we are dealing with. It just requires patience on everybody’s part. Central Office is aware of it and they have assured us they are going to adjust staffing.”

 

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