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District takes step back in PSSA exams

Published August 26. 2011 05:02PM

The preliminary results are in and the news is not great for the Panther Valley School District.

After meeting AYP (adequate yearly progress) last year following the PSSA exams, the district has taken a step backwards and is once again in "warning" status as a district. The elementary school is in school improvement II. The middle school is in warning status. The high school is in corrective action II.

Superintendent Rosemary Porembo reviewed the individual school's scores in math and reading and outlined the steps that the district must begin to take to improve the scores in the coming school year.

Beginning with the elementary school, Porembo noted that the school did meet AYP in math in all categories. In addition to the overall score, the elementary school is also rated in the categories of white students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with an IEP. In fact, the only category where the elementary school did not meet AYP was in the students with IEP's reading section, where 37.1 percent of the students reached a proficient rating. "This is the only thing that put them in school improvement II," Porembo said. She did note that since 2009 that rating has improved from 16.9 percent. Although the elementary school overall math score did drop slightly, from 70.4 percent to 69.3 percent, the overall reading score improved from 58.9 percent to 63.4 percent.

The middle school had a similar story. Although the overall ratings for both reading and math met AYP, the middle school performance for students with an IEP dropped from 28.6 percent to 24 percent in math and from 33.8 percent to 24 percent in reading.

While the high school did meet AYP in all categories for reading, it missed it in all categories for math, sliding from 51.9 percent in 2009 to 47.1 percent, missing AYP by 2/10ths of a point, in the overall category. "We are proud, but yes, we have work to do," Porembo said. "We need to go back to the drawing board."

Porembo's outlook for the 2011-12 school year is optimistic, but she admits there will be challenges. "The stakes are going to get higher. It's going to take us a move of 12-15 percent to move out of this," she said. "It's not undoable, but there are things we need to put into place. "

Porembo outlined goals for each of the schools, including continuing many of the programs that are already in place, like four sight, accelerated reader, team concepts, and positive behavior techniques. Additionally, the district will continue to follow the SAS, standards aligned system. She said that all of the schools' curriculums will be reviewed and lesson plans will be aligned. The administration will also begin conducting "walk-throughs" of classes and classrooms. Porembo also asked the board to help prioritize monetary expenditures to support academic areas.

Following the meeting, Porembo said that the district needs to look at "why" the scores dropped. "We need to address these things," she said. "I believe our teachers are focused on what needs to be done and they are willing to work with the students to increase these scores." Porembo added that parents also need to play a role in the students' success. "If parents value education, then their children will, too," she said.

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