Share This Page

Norwin School District prepares for new education guidelines

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Pennsylvania schools will be judged on student progress rather than lofty performance targets beginning this year.

The state late last month became the 41st to receive a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind mandates that require all students — regardless of ability — to meet proficiency goals on state standardized tests.

Instead, schools will be required to decrease the percentage of students not meeting state standards in math and reading by half.

The waiver is designed to improve education in three areas: making sure students are ready for careers or college, developing recognition and accountability standards by the state, and improving and supporting effective teachers and principals.

The waiver abolishes the idea of annual yearly progress, commonly known as AYP. In the past, all schools were judged based on student performance on annual standardized tests.

If a certain percentage of students didn't meet or exceed state requirements on a series of tests in reading and math, a school would not make AYP.

“The school performance profile will replace AYP (adequate yearly progress),” said Natalie McCracken, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “Each school building within a district will receive a total score out of 100, based on multiple measures of academic achievement.”

For public schools, those academic achievement indicators include student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests and Keystone Exams, closing the achievement gap, graduation rate, promotion rate and attendance rate.

“The Norwin School District will implement the areas of the waiver as recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Education,” McCracken said.

According to the state education department, public schools will receive an academic score based on graduation rates, attendance, student performance on standardized tests and how a school improves student performance.

Most changes will occur with schools that have received a Title I designation as a low-income school, state officials said. Those options aren't in place for non-Title I schools, state education department spokesman Tim Eller said.

Few changes will occur in high-achieving districts, where most students already meet standards, said Linda Hippert, executive director at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

“Sometimes, a school can be high performing but not show significant student growth. That will be required now,” she said.

Every school in Norwin School District, except for Norwin High School, made adequate yearly progress, or AYP, for the 2011-12 school year.

Norwin High School fell short of the state-projected proficiency target of 78 percent in mathematics. The high school missed AYP among students with individualized education plans, and economically disadvantaged students.

Amanda Dolasinski and Daveen Rae Kurutz are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Dolasinski can be reached at adolasinski@tribweb.com. Kurutz can be reached at dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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.