Officials hope the new system will more accurately describe the performance at the state's public schools -- and allow resources to be more efficiently funneled to those schools that need them.
The 97 schools that have been designated as focus schools will get additional funding and resources, especially for programs that help students in those subgroups that are lagging behind.
Officials emphasize that the schools being designated as focus schools are not necessarily performing poorly -- some of them are the highest-performing schools in the state. This just means that there is greater-than-average disparity between the performance of kids who are doing well and those who are doing poorly.
"You will notice that some schools on this list are traditionally the MVPs of the system and they are still good schools," said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares.
"However, now it is not just about the number of students meeting proficiency levels but instead how large of a learning gap exists between student groups."
Focus schools are now on a three-year improvement timeline. If they can decrease the gap in achievement for two consecutive years and show sufficient progress overall, schools can work their way off the list.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.
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