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Performance scores show slight dip in Eastern suburb schools |
Penn Hills

Performance scores show slight dip in Eastern suburb schools

Performance scores for public schools east of Pittsburgh dropped marginally in 2013-14, data from the state Department of Education shows.

However, on average, about 85 percent of local schools received a 70 or higher on a 100-point scale, which is the state’s benchmark for a successful school.

Ten schools in the Gateway, Plum and Penn Hills school districts dropped in scores, eight increased and one remained the same.

The 19 schools in the three districts averaged a score of 77, which is on par with the Allegheny County average.

School Performance Profiles are weighted to reflect statewide student scores; 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 required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Among the findings in this year’s report:

• Pivik and Regency elementary schools in Plum scored highest in the east with 94.5 and 91.2, respectively.

• At Gateway, all schools but one were rated as “strong.” Only Dr. Cleveland J. Steward Elementary School was below the 70 mark.

• Linton Middle School in Penn Hills and Penn Hills Senior High scored lowest in the area with scores of 54.1 and 59.2, respectively.

• In Penn Hills, the now-closed Penn Hebron Elementary jumped 12.3 points. The three elementary schools in the district, which merged into one this year, scored highest of all the other schools in Penn Hills. Forbes Elementary however dropped by 6.7 points.

Penn Hills officials said they won’t comment on the performance scores until their 7 p.m. board meeting Nov. 24 at Linton Middle School, 250 Aster St. in Penn Hills.

The scores were a mixed bag in the Plum School District with three schools recording higher numbers in the 2013-14 school year, three schools declining and one remaining the same as 2012-13.

“We are definitely making strides,” said Plum School Board member Michele Gallagher, chairperson of the education committee.

“It (the performance profile) is still fairly new, and everyone is adjusting to it.”

In some cases, individual schools did not show test score increases among advanced students, Gallagher said.

That could be the result of placing an emphasis on students who need additional help, Assistant Superintendent Guy Rossi said.

“Our focus has been on remediation and making sure we hit all students,” he said.

Rossi said all students need to be challenged with a rigorous curriculum.

“We need to push them a little bit and have safety nets if they fall, including the advanced kids,” Rossi said.

A statewide look

Grades for public schools statewide dropped marginally in 2013-14.

School performance results from 2012-13 show nearly 73 percent of schools received a 70 or higher, about half a percentage point higher than 2013-14.

Statewide, no county’s grade rose or fell more than five points from its average in 2012-13.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7845 or [email protected]. Staff writers Megan Harris, Gideon Bradshaw and Karen Zapf contributed.

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