By 2014, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates that all students must achieve proficiency on state assessments. North Penn School District district
“Not only does No Child Left Behind tell us that every child must be proficient, but so does the educator in all of us,” said Dr. Curtis R. Dietrich, superintendent, NPSD. “As a district, NPSD is committed to ensuring that every student succeeds and we have district-based and school-based action plans to make that happen.”
Of particular note is North Penn High School’s achievement of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. For the past several years, NPHS has engaged in state-mandated school improvement planning due to one or more subgroups not achieving AYP. The school’s administration and staff have implemented interventions and programs to improve achievement for all students. Their hard work has paid off as the high school met all AYP targets for the second consecutive year, an accomplishment that will release the high school from state-mandated corrective action planning for these subgroups.
“The fact that we have made AYP with the bar at the highest it has ever been is a testament to the hard work of our entire staff,” said Burt Hynes, principal, NPHS. “This is a great moment for North Penn High School and everyone should feel the pride of accomplishing an extremely challenging goal.”
Hynes cites several reasons for the school’s success, including tiered reading interventions, 8-period per cycle English and math classes,
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently announced that the 11th grade Pennsylvania System of Student Assessment (PSSA) will not happen in 2013 and will be replaced by the Keystone exams in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature -- and all 11th grade students in 2012-2013 will be required to take them. The student performance on the 2012-2013 Keystones will be the basis for determination of AYP status for the 2012-2013 school year. More information on Keystone Exams will be provided as it becomes available from PDE. Students at the middle and elementary school levels will continue to take the PSSA.
Since NCLB was enacted in 2002, NPSD has improved overall student proficiency as it moves toward 100 percent. The 2011-2012 school year was no different as overall student achievement continued to increase. However, two schools, Inglewood and A.M. Kulp elementary schools, did not meet AYP because of missing the mark in one or two of its student subgroups. These schools will write a state-mandated improvement plan so that achievement of these subgroups is accelerated during the next school year.
Many of the schools across the state are in similar situations as the 100 percent proficiency target nears. As school districts move closer to this goal, it becomes increasingly more difficult to make large gains in proficiency. More aggressive progress must be made in student subgroups in order to reach AYP across all schools. Next year’s goal of 89% percent proficient in Mathematics and 91% proficient in Reading will be even more difficult to achieve across all subgroups.
In the area of reading and writing, NPSD recently received a literacy grant from the state worth $1.17 million and was written with improving proficiency for all subgroups in mind. During the 2012-2013 school year, new and expanded programs funded by the grant will directly impact student success in the areas of reading and writing.
“It is critically important that we are providing a range of interventions for struggling students,” said Dr. Diane Holben, assistant superintendent, NPSD. “Students with different needs must be provided different interventions to meet and address their challenges.”