MONCKS CORNER — Students at 15 Berkeley County schools have the option to transfer to higher-performing schools next year under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The school district will send letters to more than 7,200 eligible students in the next 10 days, said Sheldon Etheridge, the district's director of federal programs. The letter will tell parents that their child's school didn't meet all of the law's "adequate yearly progress" goals, and it will let them know which schools their children can enroll in next year. The district has limited transfer options for next year, in many cases to just two choices, the minimum number required by law.
Charleston County School District has not yet released its list of schools that will offer transfers next year, but officials said they hope that information will be available by next week. Dorchester District 2 officials said they expect to release their list in June and Dorchester District 4 staffers said their list will be complete in July.
Etheridge said that in the current school year, 7,954 students attending 13 different schools could have transferred to different schools, but only 316, or less than 4 percent, took advantage of the option.
"That tells me that parents have a lot of confidence in their neighborhood schools," he said. And, he said, he thinks that parents understand that schools that don't meet all of the law's requirements are not necessarily failing schools. In many cases they missed just one or two of the law's targets.
He's talked with many parents who chose to exercise their option to transfer their children to new schools, he said. Many do so because the new school is more convenient, closer to where the parent works, or offers after-school care, he said.
All of the schools that were on Berkeley's list for the current school year are also on next year's list, he said. And two new schools — Cross Elementary and Cross High school — have been added.
SCHOOLS ON THE LIST
Berkeley County schools that will offer transfers for the 2009-2010 school year:
• Berkeley Elementary
• Berkeley Intermediate
• Boulder Bluff Elementary
• Cainhoy Elementary and Middle
• College Park Elementary
• Cross Elementary (new)
• Cross High (new)
• Devon Forest Elementary
• Goose Creek Primary
• H.E. Bonner Elementary
• J.K. Gourdin Elementary
• Sangaree Elementary
• Sedgefield Intermediate
• St. Stephen Middle
• Whitesville Elementary