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St. Stephen's School of Alexandria, Va., will withdraw from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's school system rather than merge with a nearby girls' school, officials have announced.

The 600-student school has had a difficult relationship with its sister institution, St. Agnes School, since it decided to become coeducational last year. (See Education Week, Feb. 10, 1988.)

The diocesan school board last month in effect ordered St. Stephen's to merge with St. Agnes, or else leave the school system.

"We would lose control of our own destiny" if the merger took place, the Rev. Edwin M. Ward, headmaster of St. Stephen's, said last week.

The school receives only minimal financial support from the diocese, Mr. Ward noted. Because the diocese holds the title to St. Stephen's property, however, a lease arrangement will have to be made.

Businesses, educators, and community groups in Detroit have agreed on a plan to revitalize the city's school system by guaranteeing jobs to high-school graduates who meet tougher academic standards.

Under the Detroit Compact, approved by the school board last month, two high schools and six middle schools will pledge to improve their test scores, attendance, and curriculum. In exchange, their qualified students also will be eligible to receive summer jobs and need-based college scholarships.

James W. Vollman, executive director of the compact, said that final approval of the plan was delayed for several months by disagreements over its governing structure and standards. (See Education Week, March 15, 1989.)

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