EDUCATION

Teachers and district will be evaluated in new state program

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) adopted a new way to judge schools, and Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover thinks it is a step in the right direction. He explained the shift to the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile to the school board on Sept. 19. The PSPP replaces the Adequate Yearly Progress standards previously in place under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Under that law, by 2014 students were to be 100 proficient in reading and math.

"The idea of perfection isn't always a great idea," Hoover said.

He saw PSPP as seeking excellence.

Hoover said the PSPP was necessary as a way for the state to continue to receive federal funding, and PDE thought the new standards were a better way to do it. He agreed that AYP was impractical.

"The jury is out on this one, but it is probably an improvement," he said.

The profile adds an Educator Effectiveness System, in which each teacher will be rated, as well as the district as a whole. The top score is 100, although there are bonus points.

Principal rating will begin in 2014-15.

Hoover expected G-ASD to come in at 80 percent. "I will be pleasantly surprised if it is higher."

The district will see the numbers this week, and the information will be released to the public the week of Sept. 30.

The measurements track academic achievement through PSSA and SAT scores, grade 3 reading skills, AP test scores, progress of students, the graduation rate, attendance, and other factors.

Public, cyber and charter schools will be rated, which Hoover said leveled the playing field of scholastic institutions. Private schools were not included.

At the Oct. 3 meeting the board will decide whether to fund half the cost of band uniform jackets for the middle school. The pants were replaced three years ago. Hoover said the band boosters would pay the other half for the jackets, with each side contributing $20,000. The last time the band received new jackets was in 1990.

At a later date, the board will also vote on changes to the Articles of Agreement with Franklin County Career and Technology Center. The district now pays for eight percent of sophomores, juniors and seniors to attend, whether that many enroll or not. The Joint Operating Committee (JOC) wanted to raise the rate to 10 percent, and leverage the numbers over a three-year span. Business manager Jolinda Wilson said if the school used enrollment from the past three years, G-ASD would spend $33,000 more this year. Mike Shindle, who represented G-ASD on the FCCTC board, suggested the three years start after 2013-14, because the past three years have already been paid for. The other board members present, Mike Still, Tracy Baer, Brian Hissong, Eric Holtzmann, Ken Haines and Joel Fridgen, agreed with him. William Thorne and Melinda Cordell were absent.

Hoover said the JOC first had to approve the changes, then they had to be unanimously accepted by all participating school districts.