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Schools graded under new system

Published October 15. 2013 05:00PM

Northern Lehigh School District continues to monitor the academic progress of its schools.

Further proof of that was evident when Assistant Superintendent Karen Nicholas discussed the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile with the school board on Monday.

School Performance Profiles is the measure of how well students are learning, and has replaced Adequate Yearly Progress, which was part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Nicholas noted that the scores were released on Oct. 4, and can be accessed by clicking a link on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website,

However, Nicholas said the high school's score of 65.1, as listed on PDE's home page, was incorrect.

She said several high school teachers were involved with their Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System training when they looked at the data and noticed that some students were coded incorrectly.

As a result, Nicholas said the district will be recoding the data and submitting it to the state.

"I'm not exactly sure when we will have the correct score," Nicholas said. "But that is not the correct number."

A starting point

Nicholas said Northern Lehigh Middle School had a score of 80.3; Slatington Elementary, 75.5; and Peters Elementary, 81.3.

"This is just the starting point for us," said Nicholas, who added that the teachers and students continue to work extremely hard. "I'm just really proud of everyone."

Superintendent Michael Michaels added "PDE is so understaffed, it could take some time."

The purpose of the School Performance Profile is to provide the public with comprehensive information about the academic performance of public schools; to satisfy requirements of Pennsylvania's approved federal No Child Left Behind waiver; and to be used as a required component of Pennsylvania's new educator evaluation system, which was signed into law in 2012.

The School Performance Profile also tracks how much a student grows academically from one school year to the next, as shown by the PVAAS; graduation, attendance and promotion rates; and how a school focuses on increasing the achievement of all students.

Pennsylvania's federal NCLB waiver eliminated the AYP designation for each school building and school district. The School Performance Profile, which uses multiple measures of student achievement, takes its place and will be used to measure academic progress of all public schools.

Title I schools, those with a high percentage of low-income students, will receive a federal designation of "Priority," "Focus" or "Reward" based on four annual measurable objectives: Student participation on the math and reading PSSAs and the algebra I, biology and literature Keystone Exams; Student graduation or attendance rate; Closing the achievement gap of all students - reducing by 50 percent the number of students who score below grade level on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) over a six-year period; and Closing the achievement gap of historically underperforming students - reducing by 50 percent the number of students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged and English language learners who score below grade level on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the PASA over a six-year period.

"Reward" schools are the highest performing Title I schools based on the PSSAs and Keystone Exams and met each of the Annual Measurable Objectives. These schools will receive the Keystone Award and be eligible to compete for collaboration and/or innovation grants.

Schools designated as "Priority" or "Focus" will have access to intervention and support services through the state Department of Education to assist them in improving student achievement.

Non-Title I schools will receive a School Performance Profiles score rather than a federal designation, but will also have access to all the interventions and supports available.

Board business

In other business, the board:

• Approved Eric Shaner as a substitute custodian and maintenance worker for the 2013-14 school year, at the 2013-14 substitute rate, as approved on the Supplementary Personnel Salary Schedule, pending verification of missing personnel file items.

• Approved to designate fund balance ending June 30, 2013, as follows: Committed fund balance for Health Insurance Premiums, $1,398,000, and PSERS increase, $3,156,934, for a total committed of $4,554,934; assigned fund balance, assigned current year usage, $347,000, technology, $184,599, replacement equipment, $1,000,747, and long range maintenance, $318,650, for a total assigned of $1,850,996; unassigned fund balance, $2,207,343; non-spendable, $49,165; and a total fund balance of $8,662,438.

• Granted permission for the Northern Lehigh Marching Band to host the Chapter 2 Tournament of Bands Competition at the district stadium on Sunday, Oct. 20. They anticipate participants will being arriving by 8 a.m., and the event will conclude around 8 p.m.

• Granted permission for the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to use the district's parking lot facilities on Sunday, Nov. 3, for the D&L Heritage Marathon and Half Marathon. They anticipate participants will begin arriving by 6 a.m., and the event will conclude around 2:30 p.m.

• Approved the appointment of Statewide Tax Recovery as the delinquent per capita tax collector for the 2013-14 school year.

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