September 19, 2008

District Gets High Marks for Integration Efforts


The state Commissioner of Education has praised the Englewood school district for the second year in a row, commending its efforts toward racial integration and academic progress.

Englewood "has made the transition from a troubled district to one in rapid improvement mode," Wednesday's report said.

It was a dramatic change from a report three years ago that criticized the district for maintaining two distinct high schools, the integrated [email protected] magnet program and the Dwight Morrow High School, which is largely black and Hispanic.

Then, the schools had separate administrations, two graduations and two proms. Now, the high school administrative team supervises one school, and more classes are attended by students from both buildings, the report said. Students are blending in honors and AP classes, physical education, art and music, it said. There are still two buildings, but there is one graduation and one prom. In addition, more than 50 percent of academy students are now from Englewood, and the number of Dwight Morrow students in honors classes has tripled, school officials said.

"If you came up to the campus three years ago and you parked in the driveway, you'd see little migration across the driveway," said Assistant Superintendent Michael Polizzi. "Now if you stand there you see a constant flow of students and teachers back and forth."

The report offered few criticisms, but said that entering freshmen could be integrated better into high school. The school is still "working out kinks" regarding teacher certification for a program that assigns every student to a so-called small learning community, the report added.

Overall, though, the state praised the district for going above and beyond recommendations.


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