Wallenpaupack students, like their peers across Pennsylvania, are used to being graded and evaluated. Their teachers and administrators also must "pass the test." The way the PA Department of Education (PDE) keeps public schools accountable for student performance has changed.
Dr. Lorraine Kloss, Assistant Superintendent at Wallenpaupack, briefed the School Board on Nov. 18 on the new School Performance Profile (SPP). This system takes the place of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measure required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The U.S. Department of Education approved the state's No Child Left Behind waiver request that will help make Pennsylvania's public schools better for children and their families.
Building level scores for educator effectiveness are included, as well as data for federal accountability for those schools with a high percentage of lower income students (Title I schools). The public will be able to track the academic performance of individual schools online.
Unlike under the AYP, there will no longer be a district-wide score but will be itemized by school. Student performance will be tracked based on a wider assortment of data and not only scored on Reading and Math as was done under AYP. The waiver approved for Pennsylvania also takes into account Reading and Science.
A separate reporting line has been added for Grade 3 reading proficiency. Dr. Kloss said that studies indicate that if third graders are reading well, they have a higher chance for future academic success.
Each building level will be scored based on five factors. These are:
• Academic achievement.
• Closing the Achievement Gap for all students.
• Closing the Achievement Gap for historically low-performing students (including low socioeconomic students, special education students and those learning the English language). Closing the Achievement Gap is a way to measure student performance based on testing.
• Academic growth.
• Other academic indicators, including promotion rate, attendance, Advanced Placement test scores, PSAT scores and graduation rates.
Each building level has its own testing program. North Primary School (Kindergarten- 2nd grade) will be tested when the students reach grade 3 to see how well they have learned to read.
Depending on performance in certain student assessment programs, schools have opportunity to earn extra credit towards their SPP score.
The SPP will be available as a tool for administrators to set goals, plans and allocate resources to improve student achievement. They also will have the data to compare school performance with schools in other districts that have similar demographics such as enrollment and socioeconomic levels.
Building level data is the school academic performance score derived from the SPP. The academic performance score comprises 15 percent of each teacher and principal's evaluation and will be part of the Educator Effectiveness system starting withe 2013-2014 school year for classroom teachers and 1014-2015 for non-teaching professional educators and principals.
Page 2 of 2 - ••• Scout passes the hat
• Sebastien Aparicio, a High School freshman, provided an update to the Board about his Eagle Scout project. In September the School Board gave him approval to build a "Tree Trail" on the grounds by the Middle School.
A Boy Scout with Troop 129 based in Paupack, Aparicio plans to establish the wooded trail in the Spring. There will be interpretive signs identifying tree species and activities for health and environmental education. An existing path between the Middle School and the soccer field will be utilized.
The Board gave him additional permission to rebuild a foot bridge on the trail. He outlined his progress and goals in a power point presentation.
A $1,200 budget has been established and is under certain guidelines by the Boy Scouts of America concerning fund-raising.
There was a round of good cheer when the freshman added, "If anyone wanted to donate last time, now is the time to do it." With that, he passed his hat around among the Board members and administrators.
• Pennsylvania school districts are required to have a re-organizational board meeting in the first week of December. The Wallenpaupack School Board meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 4, which will also include the board re-organization. The meeting is at the same time as normal, 6 p.m., in the High School Library. A committee meeting precedes it at 5:30 p.m., which is also open to the public.
Other School Board news will be reported in a separate story.