Walker meeting tonight

The Ashland School Board will meet with Walker Elementary School parents and teachers tonight to discuss the school's drop in enrollment, high poverty rate and low test scores.

Principal Patty Michaels will give a presentation and show a video on the school at the 7 p.m. meeting in the Walker library, 364 Walker Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

The board also plans to discuss the possibility of implementing a second-language program at one or all of the district's elementary schools.

Board members plan to hold meetings at each of the district's schools this academic year, but they decided to start at Walker because of the number of challenges facing the school, said Chairwoman Carol Davis.

"Walker is a school we want to focus on," she said, "so it's great we're starting out with it."

The school saw the district's biggest decline in enrollment this academic year — dropping 14 percent, to 288 students. Districtwide, enrollment fell about 3 percent.

At Walker, 62 percent of students are below the federal poverty level, the highest percentage of any school in the district, Michaels said.

Walker was the only district school to receive a satisfactory score on the state's annual report cards for last academic year. Other district schools were rated outstanding. The state rates each school using test score data, attendance and teacher training, among other factors.

Walker also has more students who are not native English speakers than other district schools.

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