One year after it experienced a blip on the radar, Palmerton Area School District has returned to the ranks of academic excellence.

That's because the district has learned that it has met Adequate Yearly Progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment for the 2010-11 school year, said Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction.

Fenner said that each of the five buildings in the district - Parkside Education Center, S.S. Palmer Elementary, Towamensing Elementary, the junior high school and high school - have met AYP.

That welcome news comes after the district failed to meet AYP last year for the first time in five years after the junior high fell short of the standards. Though it met 16 of the 17 measures, the junior high's IEP-Special Education failed to meet the proficiency level in Mathematics, which meant the school had been placed on warning status.

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.

Joseph Faenza, director of buildings and grounds, said there are various projects that are in the works.

Among them are the high school roof replacement; new ventilation for the high school Chemistry labs; warehouse roof replacement; ADA walkway at Towamensing Elementary; 13 new science tables and two science labs at the junior high; and two underground storage tanks have been removed, one from the junior high, and the other, from the senior high. A deck replacement project at Towamensing has recently been completed.