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15 students will transfer from Lafayette

| Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006

Lafayette School in the Uniontown Area School District failed to make adequate yearly progress under federal No Child Left Behind two years in a row. Because of this, the district has to offer parents the option to transfer their children.

Fifteen students in grades one through eight will transfer to either Wharton Elementary School or A.J. McMullen Middle School. Transportation will be at district expense, as long as Lafayette remains in school improvement status. Federal funds will be used for transportation to the other district schools. Once the school improves, parents will have to transfer their children back to Lafayette or pay the transportation costs.

The deadline to accept the offer to transfer has passed, but Superintendent Charles Machesky said the 15 students will not be transferred until the end of the first nine weeks, in late October.

"We want to get one set of grades in first," he said.

Machesky said he had no idea how many parents of Lafayette's 550 students would choose transfer, but said the small percentage likely reflects changes in the school.

"It's a renaissance at Lafayette, a new demeanor," he said. "The building is sparkling clean. Procedures have been established and are enforced."

The school has redoubled efforts to help students succeed at reading and math, and to keep them from falling behind.

Machesky said parents must get involved to help their students succeed in school. He recommended that parents communicate with teachers, make sure their children attend school regularly, help with homework, monitor television time, volunteer in the classroom and participate in school decision-making.

The adequate yearly progress failure occurred because of scores on the Pennsylvania System of State Assessments. Many Lafayette students failed to meet proficiency standards in both math and reading when tested last spring.

The state requires that 45 percent of students score proficient or advanced in math. At Lafayette, 42 percent of third-graders, 35.9 percent of fourth-graders, 47.7 percent of fifth-graders, 42.6 percent of sixth-graders, 22.7 percent of seventh-graders and 21 percent of eighth-graders scored advanced or proficient. Only fifth-graders reached the state goal.

The state requires that 54 percent of students score proficient or advanced in reading. At Lafayette, 26 percent of third-graders, 20.5 percent of fourth-graders, 10.4 percent of fifth-graders, 21.3 percent of sixth-graders, 36.5 percent of seventh-graders and 43.9 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or advanced.

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