Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002 | 9:22 a.m.
The Clark County School District's experiment with Edison Schools has produced mixed results, administrators said Wednesday.
Nearly 19 months into a five-year, $30 million contract, the jury is still out on Edison Schools' promise to improve student achievement, said Agustin Orci, deputy superintendent of instruction for the School District.
The School District hired Edison in April 2001 to turn around seven schools -- Cahlan, Crestwood, Lincoln, Lynch, Park and Ronnow elementaries as well as West Middle School.
According to the report, students did well on Edison's monthly assessment tests in reading, math and language, but when the district conducted its own tests, the second grade reading and math scores were down for students at Edison's schools, and the scores for fourth grade math also declined. Fourth grade reading scores were up, however.
At the same time, students in the non-Edison schools did well in both second and fourth grade reading and lost no ground on second grade math. They did, however, post lower fourth grade math scores.
School officials say they must wait until mid-December to find out how Edison students did on the statewide Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, which replaced the TerraNova test six weeks after Edison began its Clark County operations.
Overall, Edison officials say they are happy with their own in-house tests and their teacher training program, which includes a weeklong curriculum training session and specialized sessions for other faculty members.
"Measuring (performance) in terms of a first year -- I would give our teacher training an A-plus," said Laverne White, regional vice president of Edison Schools.
As far as student performance, White said she was "happy with the benchmarks we've set."