2010-11-18 / Local & State

CF Board Hears Testing Progress

Keystone exams, graduation requirement overview given by TIU rep
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Central Fulton School Board was recently treated to an overview of their district’s PSSA test results from the 2009-10 school year by a representative of Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11, who also took additional time to provide instrumental information regarding Keystone Exams and future graduation requirements.

Bob Shinskie pointed out during the year 2010, 63 percent of students tested needed a proficient or advanced rating for the district to meet the adequate yearly progress target in reading. In addition, 56 percent of students needed proficient or advanced in the category of mathematics. Other areas considered in PSSA testing are graduation numbers, attendance and economically disadvantaged students.

According to Shinskie, the district will need to stay on track and continue with current trends to meet the 72 percent target in reading and 67 percent target in math in 2011. Shinskie added when doing the same presentation for other schools in the intermediate unit and across the state, it is not uncommon to see projected deficiencies.

In looking at the 100 percent target rate in 2014 for both subjects, the intermediate unit representative made reference to “safe harbor” and the need to continue making steady improvement. “You don’t have to go crazy. You just have to show steady progress every year,” he said.

Moving onto Keystone Exams, the new tests will count as onethird of a student’s final course grade. Students are required to score basic, proficient or advanced to receive points toward the final grade.

Beginning with the classes of 2015 and 2016, students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in four Keystone Exam subject areas – English composition, literature, Algebra 1 and biology. Furthermore, the Class of 2017 and beyond must demonstrate proficiency in 6 of 10 areas.

Shinskie also announced the Pennsylvania Department of Education is looking to replace PSSA testing for 11th-grade students with Keystone exams. Approval is also being sought for banking scores and retesting, with the highest score being used to make adequate yearly progress.

It was reported projects can be performed by students who have taken a course and were unsuccessful twice with passing the Keystone Exam. In order to complete a project, the student is also required to meet all district attendance requirements for the class and receive supplemental instruction.

All projects, Shinskie concluded, will be administered by school faculty and scored by a regional panel of educators. If the project is deemed satisfactory, additional points can be added to the student’s highest Keystone Exam score.

Shinskie urged the district to keep plugging away using current state standards. “Central Fulton is right up there at the top. You have a lot to be proud of,” he added.

Finance

Prior to the board taking action on two financial-related issues, business manager Jolinda Wilson broached the subject of collection of earned income taxes. Due to Act 32 of 2008, Wilson stated every municipality and school are now required to use the same collection agency. As a result, the board moved forward with adoption of a resolution confirming the district’s authority to impose and collect earned income taxes.

The board, however, did delay adopting a second resolution Capital Tax Collection Bureau out of Harrisburg to collect the district’s earned income taxes. Wilson noted it could be possible that legal issues could come to light in the event of early implementation of the resolution. As a result, the board followed Wilson’s recommendation and unanimously tabled the selection of Capital Tax until the December meeting.

Personnel

Following the recommendation of the district’s insurance carrier, the board appointed the administration to serve the district on several boards. Those appointed were high school Principal Todd Beatty to Fulton County Services for Children; elementary Principal Alicia Mellott and building and grounds supervisor Brent Seville to the Central Fulton Educational Foundation; and Superintendent Dwayne Northcraft to Allegheny College of Maryland Foundation Board, Fulton County Partnership; and Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School.

Approval was granted for several individuals to be placed on the 2010-11 extracurricular salary scale:

• elementary boys basketball coach Dane Pollock, $615

• third assistant boys basketball coach Kenneth Welsh, $1,845

• volunteer assistant track coach Robert C. Snyder II

• junior high volunteer assistant baseball coach Garry Miller

• high school musical director Erica Sexton, $2,845.

David Fisher of McConnellsburg and Harrisonville resident Michael Wagner were added to the district’s professional substitute list. Fisher and Wagner have completed the necessary emergency certification process through Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11.

In addition, Zachary Stough, Fort Loudon, and Victoria Nachimson from Hustontown were also added to the professional substitute list. Stough’s clearances are in order and have been submitted to the district. Nachimson’s approval is pending the receipt of FBI clearances and a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.

Transportation

A daily rate increase was granted for bus route #14 contracted to Sandy L. Lynch retroactive to October 18. The increase brings Lynch’s rate to $240.80 and resulted from a property owner being unwilling to allow the bus to continue using the existing turnaround. The additional mileage accrued is from travelling to a new turnaround location.

Retroactive to October 18, the daily rate of Willis and Gail Decker’s bus #12 was increased from $236.69 to $252.94. The change was requested by the Deckers, who are now operating a new 2009 Bluebird bus on the route.

Effective October 20 the board decided to revert back to the original contract for Chyrel Foster’s #016 vehicle run. The rate will return to $134.86 as special transportation was only needed for a two-day period.

A temporary contract has been penned with contractor Lynn Reeder, who will provide transportation for a student to attend Brook Lane Laurel Hall School located in Hagerstown, Md. Reeder was slated to receive a total of $167.93 per day between October 26 and November 12 for his services.

Julie Shafer of Harrisonville was approved to serve as a substitute van driver pending the receipt of necessary clearances and credentials.

Following a 15-minute executive session regarding legal and personnel issues, the board reconvened to terminate a contract between the district and James and Wendy Laughlin. The board was informed the issue was initially researched by district transportation coordinator Angela Marshall, but the final suggestion for termination was proposed by the superintendent.

The motion was approved retroactive to November 5. It is likely the board will be approached with a long-term recommendation for the route, but in the meantime Sandy Deck Transportation is fulfilling the district’s needs. Board member Rick Marshall abstained from voting on the matter on November 9.

Curriculum

Sophomore student Tony White made an oral presentation to the board on the topic of “sportsmanship.” White defined sportsmanship as being kind and courteous to your own teammates and other teams. He noted enforcement of sportsmanship is through PIAA, and after seeing district playoff action earlier this year against Hyndman, he hopes sportsmanship is something the basketball team can display this winter.

The board concluded their meeting with a 68- minute executive session to review personnel matters. No action was taken afterwards.

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