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Principals share improvement strategies with board members

Published November 07. 2012 05:02PM

Improvement strategies are clearly underway in the Palmerton Area School District.

Exactly what methods building principals plan to utilize were shared at a workshop meeting of the board of school directors on Tuesday.

Paula Husar, junior high school principal, said the presentation was in response to her announcement back in August that the district had met Adequate Yearly Progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment.

At that time, Husar announced that the district had met AYP in the 2011-12 school year for the fifth straight time. However, Husar noted that the individual buildings themselves did not meet AYP, and therefore, are on warning status.

Husar said the purpose of the improvement strategies are to establish clear standards; fair assessments; good curriculum framework; instruction; materials and resources; and interventions.

She said the goal is strong results for the students; proficiency in their core subjects; to achieve high outcomes; and to graduate from high school ready to attend college or enter the workforce.

Husar said the primary objective at the junior high school is to improve test scores by three percent in reading and math.

At the high school, Principal Kathy Egan said the main initiative is to help the students transition to the Keystone Exams, as the PSSA exams will no longer be offered.

"This is a work in progress," Egan said. "We're having a good year, and we're looking forward to moving ahead."

Towamensing Elementary Principal Christine Steigerwalt said the school plans to focus on student achievement.

It will hone in on reading, response to intervention and instruction, and curriculum review, Steigerwalt said.

Mary Brumbach, principal of S.S. Palmer Elementary/Parkside Education Center, said her strategies are centered around integrated disciplines and parent communication.

Directors Tammy Recker, Sherry Haas and board President Barry Scherer all expressed complimentary words with administrators at the conclusion of the presentation.

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

In order to achieve AYP, schools and districts must meet target percentages with all students, as well as with every subgroup of 40 or more students, scoring at the Advanced or Proficient level.

Also, 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.

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