Charts show achievement down with budget cutting

By MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY

For 21st Century Media

PENN - A presentation from Dr. Margaret Sharp on School Performance Profile was given at the March 13 work session of the Avon Grove School Board. One of the factors used in creating the profile is the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). Instead of just giving test results, PVASS looks at the growth a student is making in a particular subject over a years time.

The PSSAs tell how a student is doing at a particular time, its a one time snapshot -- growth date is different, Sharp said.

The results Sharp has for 2013 show that the district is doing well in some areas but not as well with others. We are doing a great job of growing our students who are struggling, Sharp said. Its the advanced category where we really need to work and focus our energy because were not growing those students a full year.

Charts for the PSSA Scores show some declines since 2010 that coincide with budget cutting. i think we can see that some of those cuts did impact student achievement, Sharp said. Sharp did not have details of what cuts were factors in the decline, but she is continuing to look at the data.

The administration is also looking at strategies to keep advanced students progressing. Whats happening in the classroom to push those advanced students forward, thats a conversation were having with our building principals, Superintendent Christopher Marchese said.

The board also asked about the impact snow days may have on test scores. Weve lost instructional momentum along the way and theres no way to gain that back, Sharp said, pointing out that the weather has impacted testing for all of the schools across Pennsylvania and could show in the state averages. Teachers and kids are working really hard in their classrooms every day.

The Facilities Committee reported that as of March 7, the district had spent just under $54,000 for snow removal, which is $ 29,000 more than had been budgeted.

The district is now working on their new strategic plan, and is sending out school climate surveys to students, parents, teachers and staff by e-mail beginning March 17. In addition a public forum will be held on March 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Penn London Elementary School. An additional forum for Spanish Speaking residents will be held on April 1 at The Garage in West Grove. More information is available on the school Web site.

In other items, the Avon Grove High School Humanitarian Club was recognized during a presentation to the board. The mission of the club is to provide service and helping hands to community service events such as he spring and fall blood drives and The Bridge food ministry.