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Plan aims to boost Southmoreland High student progress

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

Students at Southmoreland High School fell under the Adequate Yearly Progress levels in reading and math in the most recently released data.

A plan has been developed to try to make sure that is avoided in the future. Highlights were presented to the school board on Thursday. Development of the plan was handled by a committee of administrators, teachers, a school counselor and a parent.

The plan, which was presented by Daniel Krofcheck, high school principal, identified four main goals:

• Implementation of standards-aligned curricula across all classrooms for all students.

• Implementation of effective instructional practices across all classrooms.

• Ensuring school staff members use standards-aligned assessments to monitor student achievement and adjust instructional practices.

• Ensuring students who are academically at risk are identified early and are supported by a process that provides interventions based upon student needs and includes procedures for monitoring effectiveness.

“You hope you see an increase in proficiency levels in the core areas — reading, math, science, writing,” Krofcheck said after the meeting. “The intention is to provide the highest quality learning experience for all of our kids. The fundamental goal is to really get in and be able to identify strategies and different ways to help different kids.”

Adequate Yearly Progress is a measurement defined by the No Child Left Behind Act, which allows the federal Department of Education to determine how every public school district in the country is performing academically, according to standardized tests, such as the Pennsylvania State School Assessment exams.

Southmoreland High students did not meet the established target of 78 percent of the students taking the PSSA test, reaching a level of at least proficiency in math for the 2011-12 school year. The district checked in at 60 percent.

In reading, the targeted number was 81 percent, and Southmoreland came in at 67.6 percent.

Only high school juniors participate in PSSA testing each year.

Other concerns the plan addresses include the economically disadvantaged group of students not meeting the graduation rate target and students' achievement in the PSSA writing exam decreasing from 90.6 percent proficient and advanced in 2011 to 89.4 percent in 2012.

Some achievement and performance target numbers are part of the plan. Those established numbers are math and reading — 80 percent at least proficient and 85 percent graduation rate.

The board is expected to vote on the plan when it meets Jan. 10.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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