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Possible graduation requirement discussed at board meeting

Published September 27. 2011 05:01PM

At Monday evening's Jim Thorpe School Board meeting, Superintendent Barbara Conway and Jim Thorpe High School Principal Thomas Lesisko presented the board with a possible option of making the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams a graduation requirement.

"It's open for discussion. It's something we needed to present," stated Conway.

If voted on this requirement would mean that the students would need to score either proficient or advanced in both reading and math.

If the students don't score at least proficient in both, then the student would have to retake them again their senior year. If they still don't make at least proficient in both, then the student would need to score proficient in a semester long course for that subject their senior year.

For transfer students the setup might change a little as well as for special needs students. If special needs students don't make proficient on the second test then they will graduate based on their Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The proposed plan states that if voted on it will be implemented for the class of 2013.

Conway stated that the graduation requirement affecting the class of 2013 is not definite. Conway stated she is just giving the board an idea of what could happen if this plan is voted on.

Board President, Michael Huber, voiced his concerns with the gap in testing between 8th and 11th grades.

Lesisko discussed some of what they are doing at the high school level to prepare. In the high school there are: PSSA questions of the day, Classroom Diagnostic Tools, 4 Sight exams, summer math and reading program, and curriculum alignment.

Board member Randall Smith suggested the board look into giving the students incentives to bring their scores up.

Conway stated they will continue to look into other options as well.

"We have to start the discussion of student accountability somewhere," stated Conway.

"It's a discussion the board can have and continue to have," she added.

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