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Northern Lehigh District looks to improve low test scores

Published October 15. 2009 05:00PM

Methods to improve upon its low achievement on standardized test scores are in full swing in the Northern Lehigh School District.

Karen Nicholas, assistant to the superintendent, informed the school board on Monday that the district hopes to make strides on its Adequate Yearly Progress scores.

I feel we're being proactive," Nicholas said. "We're making sure the students are getting what they need so this doesn't happen again."

Last month, Director Mathias Green voiced concerns with the AYP scores after the district failed to meet the benchmark for the No Child Left Behind Act.

At that time, Green, who said the results marked the first time the district failed to meet the requirements on the standardized test score, urged administrators to develop an action plan to improve the results.

Posted last month, the results showed the middle school and high school received warnings for their failure to meet AYP.

Adequate Yearly Progress is a key measure of school performance established by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

In a related matter, Director Gregory Williams said the Policy Committee recently discussed the scores, where the district ranks in the 20th percentile.

I want to see that number improve, and I want to see us improve our overall scores and be able to compete with other school districts," Williams said. "This is a serious issue that we really all need to work on."

Nicholas told the board the administration is thankful for its cooperation, and said the administration plans to hold monthly team meetings to address the situation.

"We really appreciate your support," Nicholas said. "We are working hard, and I think we are going to make good progress."

Board President Edward Hartman then offered words of support.

"Anything, when it comes to education, we support you," Hartman said.

Superintendent Michael Michaels said improved scores are a major goal for the administration.

"We plan to visit schools, and come up with other alternatives," Michaels said.

Also on Monday, middle school Principal Jill Chamberlain said the school's recently implemented breakfast program has been a success early on.

"The numbers are increasing," Chamberlain said. "The students are taking advantage of it."

Last month, the board approved the creation of the breakfast program at the school.

Also, senior Taylor Trapp announced during her student representative report that the high school student council raised money through its Hat Day activity.

As a result, Trapp said, the school will make two separate donations of $150 each to two families who have been affected by cancer.

Trapp also announced that a blood drive will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the high school gymnasium.

Finally, the board began the meeting with a moment of silence for senior Russell Jacoby IV, who passed away last month after he was involved in a car accident.

Hartman referred to Jacoby as a "fine young man."

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