The Panther Valley School District got some very good news at last night's regular monthly meeting. Superintendent Rosemary Porembo announced that the district has met AYP (adequate yearly progress) in all three of the schools for the 2009-2010 school year, based on the scores from the PSSA exams. Last year, for the 2008-2009 school year, the District made 16 out of the 17 categories, however, the elementary school was still placed in School Improvement I and the high school was placed in Corrective Action. "This year, everything is green," said Porembo, referring to the results. "We made 17 out of 17 targets. That is outstanding."

Porembo reviewed two key statistics, the attendance rate from 3rd to 8th grade, which was to be 90% and the graduation rate, which was to meet 85%. "We hit 93.72% for the attendance rate," she said, "and we met the graduation rate at 97percent plus."

Porembo reviewed the individual school performances. "The goal for the State for math was 56%. The elementary came in a 71% proficient or advanced. The goal for the state for reading was 63%. With all students, we hit 59.2 percent. We made it in AYP because we had a confidence index." There are three additional categories that the district meets the requirement of having at least 40 students in: white, non-hispanic, IEP students, and economically disadvantaged students. Porembo also reviewed the results in each of those categories, which improved significantly over last year.

For the middle school, the State goal for math was 56 percent. The overall student population performed at 67.1 percent. The State goal for reading was 63 percent, the students achieved 68.2 percent.

At the high school level , the State goal was 56 percent. Although the student population achieved 53.1 percent, they still met AYP because they improved over last year's results by more than 10 percent. "Last year, we were somewhere around 30 percent," said Porembo. The reading goal was 63 percent and the high school students achieved 66.3 percent.

Although she is pleased with last year's performance, Porembo said that the District will continue to strive to exceed the State goals. She outlined the work that she and the principals had done over the summer to set common themes and goals for all of the schools, including team concepts, data dashboards, SAS (standards aligned system), curriculum progressions, a positive behavior plan, and inclusion. "We will be working on these concepts all year long," she said. Porembo thanked the board for supporting the conferences and workshops that the administrators and teachers have been attending to bring them up to speed on these concepts.

Another program that will be coming to the high school is each student having an advisor that they will have time to meet with within the school day. "They will talk about academics, behavior, and what the district has to offer," said Porembo. The middle school will continue to expand the accelerated reading program and look for ways to add extra reading besides what is already being done for course work. At the elementary school, the staff will look to implement a preliminary accelerated reading program, as well as putting in a writing program for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. "Our writing scores are off the charts," said Porembo, referring to the higher grades, "but when we went back and looked at the data, there is a problem with 5th grade."

Porembo added that another key component to the district's success is the addition of a school psychologist, who will work with the teachers and students to help implement these programs, including the RTI (response to intervention) program at the elementary school, which will be expanding to include kindergarten through second grade students.

Next year, the State target goals will be moving up and Porembo has every intention of meeting and beating them. "We will continue to meet with the stakeholders. The principals will monitor lesson plans. The teachers are going to write lesson plans that are aligned with the standards. We will keep the guidance counselors involved in the positive behavior plan," she said. The district will also work on how to expand the parents' role in their child's education. Citing the open house and conference schedules that are coming up, she said that the staff will continue to reach out to parents to make sure they are involved and active in their child's education.