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Southmoreland continues to rise in school rankings

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

The Southmoreland School District has improved again, according to annual rankings released by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Superintendent John Molnar informed school directors last week that the district ranked 31st out of 105 districts throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. That continues steady improvement the district has shown in the regional rankings.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania region takes into account school districts in Westmoreland, Allegheny, Fayette, Butler, Beaver and Washington counties.

In 2008, Southmoreland ranked 68th, climbing to 61st in 2009, 50th in 2010, 41st in 2011 and 33rd in 2012.

A similar pattern has developed in the state rankings as Southmoreland landed at 129 out of 500 school districts.

In 2007, the district ranked 291st, jumped to 286th in 2008, 264th in 2009, 194th in 2010, 156th in 2011 and 134th in 2012.

The study for school rankings is based on students' scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam. Three years of scores are taken into consideration, with the current year given the most weight.

“They make their rankings based on standardized test scores and they answer the question which schools or which school districts have the highest scoring students,” Molnar said.

An area where Southmoreland really scored well was among overachieving districts.

Southmoreland jumped from third to second in this category, trailing only the Big Beaver Falls School District from among 104 in southwestern Pennsylvania. This marks the fourth consecutive year the Big Beaver Falls Area School District has topped this list.

“We certainly hope to crack that No. 1 spot in the very near future,” Molnar said

This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations, according to information provided on the Pittsburgh Business Times website.

When the entire state is taken into account, Southmoreland ranked eighth out of 500 as an overachieving district. Greensburg Salem was 12th and Ligonier Valley, 14th.

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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