Montgomery Principals: Students test above average

MONTGOMERY — Montgomery Area School Board members heard updates on past standardized testing performance and future goals for school faculties from two principals at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Elementary School Principal Karen Snyder said 75 percent of third-grade students, 63 percent of fourth-grade students, 69 percent of fifth-grade students and 54 percent of sixth-grade students performed at either an advanced or proficient level on math tests, the two highest categories.

“We were a lot higher than the state average,” Snyder said.

She noted similar results in English and language arts and said in science, the district saw its fourth consecutive year of outperforming state averages.

High School Principal Joseph Stoudt said 86 percent of the senior class starting school Monday performed at an advanced or proficient level in algebra, 80 percent in biology and 87 percent in literature. Comparatively, the state averages for students at that grade level were 65 percent in algebra, 63 percent in biology and 73 percent in literature.

“We were above the state averages by quite a bit,” Stoudt said.

He detailed the majorities of this year’s juniors and sophomore performing at an advanced or proficient level in the three subjects as well.

Snyder said the elementary school is launching new initiatives to assess students’ behavioral needs including a mentorship program at the beginning and end of the school day.

“It’s very data-driven,” she said.

The school also will use “research-based interventions” to help students address academic weaknesses, Snyder said. Another focus in the new school year will be science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies, or the STEM field, and more coding in elementary school. She said the STEM programs will hinge on “perseverance skills” that students can apply to all subjects.

Both Stoudt and Snyder said the schools will begin efforts to crack down on chronic absenteeism. Stoudt recommended and the board adopted tougher punishments for chronic absenteeism in this year’s student handbooks.

The school board voted unanimously to stop collecting a $40 fee to participate in school sports. In other sports-related business the board approved hiring seven coaches. Jordan Baier was hired as the junior high boys basketball coach for a stipend of $2,050 while Tim Berry was hired as an assistant coach for junior high football for a stipend of $1,205. Zach Sauers, Larry Sauers and J.R. Emery were hired as volunteer assistant coaches for the junior high football team. Chris Lorson and Sean LaFleur — both volunteers — will coach softball and girls soccer, respectively.

The board approved other extracurricular personnel as well: Brian Rehn as marching band adviser for a stipend of $6,026; Craig Miller, Odyssey of the Mind, $2,950; Judy Kulka, elementary school yearbook, $2,649; Janet Sellard, sophomore class adviser, $2,498 and Family Career and Community Leaders of America, $2,328; Nina Green, junior class adviser, $2,342; Lynnette Murray, SADD, $2,342; April Burchell, junior high student council, $2,000; Katherine Henzler, high school yearbook, $1,750; Randy Magargle, assistant Odyssey of the Mind adviser, $1,665; Kaydee Miller, assistant high school yearbook adviser, $1,691; Jocelyn Mounsey, senior class adviser, $1,550 and Virtuoso Junior, $1,675; Shana Haden, high school student council, $1,550; and Ryan Monoski, Future Business Leaders of America, $1,550 and bowling, $1,550. Kurtis Wertman, Kevin Rank and Chris Ulrich will advise Technology Students of America, with Rank and Ulrich receiving a stipend of $807 each and Wertman $547. Adam Westover will instruct percussion for the marching band and Cheyenne Lynch band front, each for a stipend of $675. Jessica Carpenter and Carina McNear will advise both fall and spring drama productions and will earn a stipend of $1,973 each for each season.