Monessen striving to exit state list of low-achieving schools
Although all three Monessen schools made the state's low-achieving school list based on last year's standardized test scores, Superintendant Linda Marcolini has a message for district parents: Be patient.
Marcolini insisted Monday the district is executing a plan to raise scores in the April testing round.
The list of schools — released Friday — contains the lowest-achieving 15 percent of elementary and secondary schools, based on combined math and reading scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests from the 2011-12 school year.
“As hard as we're working and trying to make a difference, we did not make the scores last year,” Marcolini said Monday. “Our teachers are very dedicated, and we're taking specific steps to improve not only our test scores, but providing a better overall curriculum.
“We're not happy about our test scores either, but Monessen is not unique in this.”
Marcolini noted that other Pittsburgh-area school districts on the list comprised Albert Gallatin, Aliquippa, Brownsville Area, Connellsville Area, Clairton, Duquesne, Jeannette City, McKeesport Area, Penn Hills, Steel Valley, Sto-Rox, Uniontown, Wilkinsburg, Woodland Hills and West Greene – along with 21 Pittsburgh City schools.
She noted the parallel among the socio-economic status of those districts, adding that cuts in public educational spending by Gov. Tom Corbett disproportionately affected poor school districts.
“Over the last couple years, we lost $2.5 million because of Corbett's budget, and that makes a lot of difference. And many other school districts lost millions as well,” Marcolini said.
“We're working with 7½ teachers less this year than the year before. The stakes of the tests are going higher and higher, while we're trying to do more with less personnel.”
For the 2013-14 school year, students who live within the attendance boundaries of listed schools may be eligible for scholarship money to attend other schools — public or private — outside the district.
Marcolini said that based on state law, the district will send letters by Feb. 22 that inform parents about the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program, as well as instructions on how families may apply.
Marcolini said the district is working to be better. Monessen has implemented Response to Intervention Training, in which small groups of students are removed from regular class to work on specific educational deficits.
On Jan. 29, Monessen Elementary Center started an after-school tutorial program, as well.
The state will administer standardized tests again in April.
“We've made it the last several years with our test scores, and we have a lot of support programs in place,” Marcolini said. “I feel confident we'll do well.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Monessen residents angry about blight
- Donora police sued in mistaken ID case
- North Belle Vernon man charged with making threatening calls to borough police
- Fleming, 17, restoring Forward cemetery for Eagle Scout rank
- Probation sought in former Yough coach’s sex-texting case
- In-house busing aids Belle Vernon Area
- House fire claims life of Monongahela man
- Monessen police, family looking for 17-year-old girl
- Goldfish sparks alleged assault by Carroll man
- Former winner revives Mid Mon Valley pageants
- Monessen amphitheater brought back to life