Clark Elem. wins escape from ‘choice’

Two years after suffering the federal punishment that let Belmont kids enroll in other Charlottesville schools, George Rogers Clark Elementary has worked its way out of the dreaded "choice" program.

Principal James Pierce says the news arrived last Thursday, August 31 at a staff meeting– after custodian Butch Smith made his usual inquiry. Pierce says the Clark staff and faculty were elated. "They loved it," he says.

Two straight years of making what the federal government calls Adequate Yearly Progress removed Clark from the "choice" program, which Pierce says had cost the school about $40,000.

Thanks to the latest Standards of Learning (SOL) scores, Clark no longer will suffer the ignominy of being the only area school forced into "choice." In math, 67 percent of Third and Fourth grade students had to pass their SOLS, and 70 percent did. In reading, 69 percent had to pass; 82 percent did.

"When I came on board," says Pierce, "this was a school that had been steadily improving, but nobody knew."

Unfortunately for Pierce's team, no parents knew the good news about the school until after fall enrollment decisions had already been made. He was unable to give a precise figure this morning on how many students are currently excercsing their right to choose another school.



I was lucky enough to have Mr. Pierce as an English teacher in 12th grade at CHS. Give it one or two more years and parents will want to send their kids to Clark.

James Pierce is amazing. He's got my vote for principal of the decade. High fives all around! BZZZZ for the Clark Bees!