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Franklin Regional High School gets high marks

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Franklin Regional School District has one of the highest-performing high schools in the county, according to state data released last week.

The high school received a score of 89.2 on its School Performance Profile, the third-highest high school score in Westmoreland County.

“We're blessed at Franklin to have great kids from families that value education,” high school Principal Ron Suvak said. “We have a staff that sets high expectations for kids, and they meet them. We're happy, but not satisfied; we're proud of our performance, but want to do better.”

Two county high schools — Hempfield Area and Penn-Trafford — earned higher scores than Franklin Regional, according to state data.

The profiles set a numerical score for each school — no districtwide scores are determined — based on a series of factors that include results standardized tests, attendance, graduation rates and student growth. The system replaces the benchmark of “adequate yearly progress” that was implemented under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In 2012-13, high school juniors did not take Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. Instead, students took standardized, end-of-course Keystone exams. That means it's not just juniors being assessed, as in past years.

The literature exam is administered after 10th-grade English, Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac said. Students typically will take the “Algebra 1” exam in eighth or ninth grade and the biology exam at the end of ninth grade.

Reljac said officials are pleased with the high school's scores. Students performed well in all three subjects, with 73 percent meeting or exceeding algebra standards, 91 percent meeting or exceeding literature standards and 73 percent meeting or exceeding biology standards.

She said administrators particularly are proud of the growth shown by students in science, a subject that garnered the high school a score of 100 for growth. State officials use a statistical calculation to compare student performance in eighth grade with performance in biology, she said.

“All of our students are growing,” Reljac said. “We are doing well.”

Reljac and Suvak said they think students' performance will continue to improve.

All five Franklin Regional schools met the state benchmark of scoring at least a “70” on the profile.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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