School district touts virtues of Leopold Elementary, fights bad perceptions

Matthew DeFour:

While giving tours of Leopold Elementary to prospective area home buyers, Principal John Burkholder counters “myths” about overcrowding, chaotic hallways and “that we are a black hole when it comes to education.”
“I always give them a challenge when I take the tour to find a chaotic hallway.” Burkholder said, noting the school is at 82 percent capacity this year and calmer than it was as recently as five years ago.
But some parents also ask about one stigma that’s harder to dispel — Leopold is designated as a failing school under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The designation and related sanctions, which cost the Madison School District nearly $300,000 this year, were imposed despite a UW-Madison analysis showing Leopold students made some of the biggest improvements in the district on state test scores last year.