Franklin Regional sees good and bad in latest state profiles
Although Sloan Elementary’s score of 91.1 on the Pennsylvania School Performance Profiles places it among the 100 highest-scoring schools in the state, the rest of Franklin Regional’s schools saw their 2013-14 scores dip between 0.2 and 12.9 points.
In last week’s updated evaluations of public schools, Sloan improved by 5 points over its 2012-13 score to be included among the 50 highest-scoring elementary schools in the state.
More than 90 percent of Sloan students scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math and Algebra I, science and biology and third-grade reading.
“When you look at the scores, one thing Sloan really excelled in was increasing their (Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment Score),” Franklin Regional Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac said. “It really made quite a difference in their overall profile score, and that’s really attributed to the hard work students and teachers do every day in their classrooms.”
The value-added score measures a district’s or school’s impact on the academic progress rates of groups of students from year to year.
Even though their scores dropped, three other Franklin Regional schools — Newlonsburg Elementary, the high and middle school — posted scores that exceeded the county and state averages.
Heritage Elementary had the biggest drop-off — 12.9 points — and its score of 75.5 fell below the county and state average.
Franklin Regional’s average school score dropped from 88.92 to 85.22. The district still is higher than the county average score of 79.6 and the state average of 76.09.
Though 98 percent of the district’s students met the state expectations for academic growth in science and biology, less than 60 percent met those same expectations in math, reading and writing.
At Heritage, writing skills in particular dipped, with the percentage of proficient-or-better students declining from 85 to 67.
Reljac said the district is working to improve writing, not just at Heritage but throughout all its schools.
“Teams are working together at Heritage to really use student-achievement data and design a curriculum that will help learners grow each day,” Reljac said.
Available at paschoolperformance.org, School Performance Profiles are weighted to reflect statewide student exams; overall academic growth; graduation, attendance and promotion rates; and performance factors for English-language learners and children from low-income homes.
They replace Adequate Yearly Progress goals mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Franklin Regional teachers at all grade levels have worked with the Penn Literacy Network, with a group of elementary teachers getting an opportunity this year.
“It includes strategies you can use in any subject area to increase the quantity and quality of writing,” Reljac said.
Through the University of Pittsburgh’s summer children’s writing camp — which the district recently hosted — and the Western Pennsylvania Writer’s Project, teachers also can become certified as “writing fellows,” taking the lead in their home districts and bringing additional strategy to coworkers.
Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Megan Harris contributed to this report.