Board gets preview of state’s ratings of schools

Preparing for a state report to come out within the next month, the East Lycoming School Board received a preview on what the report could look like for the district from its administration at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The school profile, to be released by the state Department of Education, will give each individual school building a score based out of 100. No longer will there be a district-wide score, such as annual yearly progress or AYP, that previously was released each year, reported Michael Pawlik, superintendent.

Pawlik said the information and scores given to the board Tuesday were the district’s “best guesstimate,” based on how it believes scores will be calculated.

He did admit that some aspects of the scores were difficult to calculate as the district wasn’t able to receive a sound answer from PDE on how it will be done.

Pawlik explained that with the school profile it will look at both student achievement and academic growth. Achievement is based on students hitting certain scores on testing, while growth is scored on how improved students perform from year to year.

In the district’s calculations Renn Elementary earned a 91; Ashkar an 83; Ferrell an 83; and the junior/senior high school earned an 81. Pawlik did note that the scores could vary from the final state scores.

Areas that are considered during this time include math, reading, writing and science.

Students who earned an “advanced” designation on standardized testing earn bonus points for their school building. For the high school scores, students passing the NOCTI, SAT and advanced placement exams also can earn bonus points in the school profile.

One aspect of the scoring that affected the district’s buildings in a negative way is that the state decided to not include in this year’s round of scores a graduation/advancing score, which looked at what percentage of students advanced to the next grade or graduated. Pawlik said that the district had such a high score in this category that it actually brought the overall score down when taken out.

He also announced that because the state did not have the correct data to properly measure it, academic growth also will not be included for the high school this year.

While talking about how the scores could play out in the next few years, Pawlik reminded the board: “We’re more than a number.”

He spoke about how the district staff counsels, motivates, inspires and encourages students on a daily basis and that cannot be calculated.

“If we let ourselves be defined by nothing more than a single number, than, I guess, shame on us,” Pawlik said.

In other business, Pawlik also announced that the district Education Foundation is set to hold its first annual Spartan Eco-Tech Run/Walk on Oct. 5. Proceeds from the 5K benefit the foundation, he said.