Trail board awaiting PSSA results
BY PATRICK LEONARD
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The Lackawanna Trail School Board received some general information about the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests last night but noted the results were not quite out yet.
Director of Curriculum Janice Joyce talked to the board about the school’s performance on PSSA tests – or Pennsylvania’s version of ‘No Child Left Behind’ standardized testing.
She said the school has improved in its performances in both math and reading from last year but, Joyce noted, the standards keep rising.
The school’s graduation rate came in under the standard due to the fact that the policy only gives credit for students who graduate in four years. Joyce said the school district is in warning on that benchmark but that the performance of the students is nothing about which to be alarmed.
Next year the standards for the school districts rise from 81 percent to 91 percent in math and from 78 percent to 89 percent in reading. The year after that, both curricula require a 100 percent standard from all schools.
“That is an impossible standard for schools to meet,” Joyce noted.
She said the complete results should be out by the time of the board’s Oct. 1 meeting.
In other business, the board approved a new list of substitute teachers and the request for family leave from two district employees, Pam Seamans and Patty Christ.
The district substitute list included Nathan Miller, Earl VanWert, Raechelle Rowan, Joshua Perry, James Pietrowski, Kelly Buck, Anna Mae Belles and Jennifer Beemer as well as tech assistants Patricia Bumeder and Bradley Howell, and secretary Dawn Neri.
Other items approved by the board included a field trip request by Denise Collins to take five students to a Student Council conference in New Castle on November 1-3, and adoption of a local board procedures policy.
An athletic facilities advertising policy was also approved for a second reading.
This policy serves as a way to generate revenue for the school district through advertising at athletic competitions. Included in the policy is the stipulation that advertising will not be allowed at any school-related event outside of athletics.
Parent Tracy Nelson Wescott said that if that is the case then it would be unfortunate due to the annual grade school walk-a-thon coming up for the week of September 24-28.
In years past, students were allowed to wear t-shirts with local businesses’ advertisements on the backs. Under the new policy, this would be a violation of the dress code.
“Local businesses really have benefitted from this,” Wescott noted. “That’s the parents and people in our community.”
School board member David Thorne pointed out that the revenue made from the advertising goes back into the school, not just to the athletic department.
“I understand and appreciate that,” Wescott responded.
Also at the meeting, the board thanked Mark and Tiffany Carpenter for bringing Rachel’s challenge to the school district.
Rachel’s challenge is an anti-bullying program taking place at the school on September 26. There will be an hour program at both the high school and the grade school about the impacts of bullying in schools.
There is also a night program tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. at the high school, which will be open to parents and the public.
High school principal John Rushefski told the board that the beginning of the school year is going very well.
This year the high school has cut the time between classes from four to three minutes in order to better accommodate the bus schedule at the end of the day. Rushefski said that the new schedule is working and is benefitting the grade school students as well, who now have more time to get to their buses.
Also, Rushefski noted that due to the Sweppenheiser scholarship fund, the school’s marching band will be able to attend three away football games this season. Without the money from the scholarship fund, the band would have been able to attend home games only.
The board welcomed new high school assistant principal Mark Murphy to the district.
Board chairman Ned Clarke called Murphy “a breath of fresh air” for the intelligence and excitement he brings with him” to his new position.