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Quirk links Christie School, LOSD

A newly implemented quirk in a state education law has Lake Oswego School District officials wondering if the district's 2006 assessment scores were affected by testing at an unrelated school.

This year, for the first time, testing data from The Christie School was included in the district's overall Adequate Yearly Progress results.

Residental treatment program participants across Oregon are now included in their local public school district in 2006 AYP ratings, even if the district does not take account for them.

Residents of The Christie School, which treats troubled and abused children in Marylhurst, are considered residents of the Lake Oswego School District under the new AYP format.

Superintendent Bill Korach finds the combination peculiar, considering his district lends no hand in the administration of Christie School or the testing of its students.

'There's a whole lot of uncertainty in this,' Korach said.

Korach met with Christie School Executive Director Lynne Saxton and officials with the Clackamas Education Service District (which runs the school) Tuesday to discuss how to go about remedying the problem.

Primarily, Korach questions the logic of a state system that places responsibilities on schools for students they don't work with.

'The big question is, for (The Christie School), what is really fair as a system?' Korach said. 'Is this the right way to apply a rating on them, given their unique nature?'

AYP ratings are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and are based on a number of criteria including student performance, graduation rates and participation on state tests.

Lake Oswego High School was the only school in the district that failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress this year, according to data recently released by the Oregon Department of Education.

Korach credits the unsavory label of 'inadequate' to a glitch in testing data and says the district plans to appeal the score.

The district, however, failed to meet AYP as a whole - as it did last year when testing data was deemed incomplete.

Districts can be deemed 'inadequate' by AYP even though a majority of their schools pass.

Although Christie School scores were included in the 2006 ratings, Korach believes the combination had little or no profound effect on the outcome of his district's ratings.

He is working closely with Saxton to obtain more information from the state and determine the total impact.

'We're not blaming them,' he said of The Christie School. 'I think they do a great job over there.'

The real issue at hand, he said, is whether the new AYP system works practically for schools at both locations.

Korach's district stands out academically statewide and strives to achieve high standards in education. The Christie School houses about 80 students from across Oregon who have mental health or illness issues but are otherwise competent students.

Korach believes a more reasonable system exists and should be used with the state's understanding of the issue at hand.

'They're in a particular situation where they have kids in and out for treatment,' Korach said of The Christie School 'I question whether this is the right method to assess their performance.'