Palmerton Area School District has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time in five years.

Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, gave a presentation on the 2010 PSSA results at a workshop meeting of the board of school directors on Tuesday.

Fenner said that while the Parkside Education Center, S.S. Palmer Elementary, Towamensing Elementary and the high school met AYP, the junior high fell short of the standards.

While it met 16 of the 17 measures, the junior high's IEP-Special Education failed to meet the proficiency level in Mathematics, which means the school has been placed on warning status.

Director Susan Debski said she was concerned with the low test scores despite a high graduation rate.

A part of the federal No Child Left Behind, AYP is an individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards, or, the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year.

In order to meet AYP, a school or district must meet three target areas: attendance or graduation rate depending on the level of the school; participation rate, and performance on the PSSA.

At least 63 percent of students must score proficient in reading, and 56 percent in math on PSSA standardized tests.

Schools are evaluated for test performance and test participation for all students. Each subgroup represented by 40 or more students in the school must meet the AYP targets.

District targets are assessed in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. To meet AYP goals in academic performance or test participation, the district needs to achieve all targets for both subjects in one grade span only.

Also on Tuesday, the board appeared to favor a request by Bob Dailey, director of special education, to hire a new instructional aide.

Dailey said the cost to hire a Life Skills teacher would cost the district about $60,000; whereas an instructional aide to work one on one with a student in need would save the district about $40,000.

He said the money to pay for the instructional aide would come out of his I.D.E.A. funds.