Northern Lehigh High School juniors have begun the first in a series of the Keystone exams.

Assistant Superintendent Karen Nicholas informed the school board on Monday that juniors were scheduled to take the Biology exams this morning.

The tests were scheduled to be taken online, which has never been done before, noted Nicholas, who added the results won't be made available until March. The Literature and Algebra I exams will be administered in January, Nicholas said.

Nicholas said the teachers have been doing the best they can with remediation, on top of their regular lessons. She also thanked high school Principal Robert Vlasaty, assistant Principal Scott Pyne, and the technology department for their work.

She said "I truly know our students will do the best then can with the exams."

Nicholas said the district just learned this past summer that all 11th graders must take the exams.

"The Keystone exams are supposed to help us with realigning and looking at our curriculum," Nicholas said. "We want to make Northern Lehigh as proud as we can, and I'm very pleased with our teachers in that [Biology] department."

Vlasaty said the Keystone exams in the high school are to replace 11th grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA's)

He added the Class of 2017 "will be the first class required to pass those exams in order to graduate."

Superintendent Michael Michaels then weighed in on the issue.

Michaels said Nicholas and Vlasaty were "way too kind."

"The state is making it way too difficult for us," Michaels said. "We need to continue to voice our opinions."

Michaels then thanked "the hard-working students, teachers, staff and administrators for an extremely positive fall."

In other business, the board:

Ÿ Agreed to appoint the law firm of Steckel & Stopp as solicitors for the Northern Lehigh School District for 2013 at a retainer fee of $2,000, which represents no increase over last year's fee.

Ÿ Approved school board policy #707, Property, Use of School Facilities and Equipment, as presented after second reading.

Ÿ Approved new school board policy, Operations, Electronic Records/Signatures, as presented after second reading.

Ÿ Approved new school board policy, Professional Employees, Benevolence Sick Leave, as presented after second reading.

Ÿ Granted Scot Engler permission to attend a PASA Aspiring to Leadership Workshop from Jan. 23-24, 2013, at the PASA Office in Harrisburg, with the cost of registration $199, lodging, $108, meals, $30, and travel, $111, for a total approximate cost of $448, to be funded from the Special Education Director's budget.

Ÿ Authorized administration to enter into an agreement with Washington Township to collect the local services taxes on residents of Washington Township on behalf of the school district, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Ÿ Approved abatement/ exoneration requests of per capita taxes, for the residents that fall within the guidelines, as presented.

Ÿ Granted homebound instruction for an 11th grade student, Student No. 1490023, for five hours per week, effective Nov. 26, 2012, and continuing until an indefinite amount of time.