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Corridor G school seeks to cement alignment with GW, John Adams

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Reports of overcrowding at George Washington High School have prompted parents of students at an elementary school along Corridor G to try to make sure their children have a spot at the school and its accompanying middle school.

Parents and administrators from Ruthlawn Elementary School decided during a recent Local School Improvement Council meeting to write a letter to the Kanawha County Board of Education asking the school system to officially designate the elementary as a "feeder school" for John Adams Middle School and GW, Ruthlawn Principal Natalie Laliberty said.

"We want it to be a given," Laliberty said.

The school lies near the district boundaries of John Adams and South Charleston middle schools, Laliberty explained. She said that before 2000, students were "more associated" with South Charleston. Since 2000, 95 percent of Ruthlawn students have attended John Adams.

Although the school is a "de facto" feeder school for the South Hills middle school, Laliberty said GW overcrowding discussions have led to worries among her parents. There had been rumblings that Ruthlawn students might be sent to South Charleston middle and high schools, an idea that Laliberty said is not popular among many of her parents.

"We moved here from out of state and specifically picked this district," said Amy Ridenour, a mother of three Ruthlawn students.

Ridenour said she would be extremely disappointed to see her children forced to attend South Charleston Middle School. Her children participate in extracurricular activities with other children in the South Hills area, and she thinks "it would make absolutely no sense" to move Ruthlawn students out of the community.  

That sense of community with South Hills is very important for many Ruthlawn parents, said Jennifer Gorrell, a parent representative on the Ruthlawn school improvement council and the person charged with drafting the letter to the board.

She said the development of Corridor G has led to the South Hills community growing apart from South Charleston. In turn, she said Ruthlawn is "vertically aligned" with John Adams and GW, and it wouldn't make any sense to disrupt that now.

"We're not asking for anything that's a change," Gorrell said. "Our students wouldn't increase any overcrowding issues (at GW) because our students already go there."

While she said she has not heard specifically from anyone at the school board office about sending Ruthlawn children to South Charleston, she said, "It's always better to be proactive."

Laliberty thought the worries grew out of the transfer moratorium and overcrowding concerns at GW. Similar to GW arguments against the moratorium, Laliberty said her parents don't want to speak ill of any other school. Instead, they simply want to make sure their students are guaranteed a spot at the schools they've traditionally attended anyway.

"We want that to be our natural home school," Laliberty said. "That's what our families choose."

Bob Calhoun, director of elementary education for the school system, said he had not heard of any districting change for Ruthlawn. However, he said the school has "traditionally been a split school." Messages left with Jane Roberts, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, and Missie Ruddle, assistant superintendent for middle schools, were not returned.

Laliberty said she thought the council would be done with the letter within a week or two.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or Follow him at ;;



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