Cochranton High School students

Cochranton Junior-Senior High School students board buses at the end of their day recently. The high school was Crawford County’s high scorer on the 2013-14 School Performance Profile results recently announced.

 

Crawford County’s main three school districts saw their 2013-14 School Performance Profile scores drop, but the districts’ officialsaren’t panicking and are taking steps to improve scores for next year.

Crawford Central School District — which includes schools in Meadville and Cochranton — dropped from 81 percent in 2012-13 to 78.9 in 2013-14. PENNCREST School District — Cambridge Springs, Maplewood and Saegertown schools — fell from 86.7 to 77.4, while Conneaut School District — Conneaut Lake, Conneautville and Linesville area schools — dipped from 77 to 73.2.

Corry School District — which includes Sparta Township in Crawford County — is also down from 80.4 to 70.4. Titusville Area School District is up to 76.9 from 72 in 2012-13. Jamestown Area School District rose to 82.3, up from 74.2; and Union City School District — which includes Bloomfield Township in Crawford County — jumped to 70.3 from 69.8 the previous year.

The 2012-13 SPP scores were released by school district and not broken down by each building. This year’s scores are broken down by building only, so each district’s score is an average of each school building’s score.

The SPPs cover 2,947 public schools in Pennsylvania, including charter schools. A total of 2,134 schools scored 70 or higher. The SPPs have become Pennsylvania’s main accountability system, replacing adequate yearly progress, known as AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The highest possible SPP score a school district can attain is a 107. This includes seven extra credit points. The highest score in the state was 101.4 — earned by Bermudian Springs Elementary School in Adams County.

The lowest scoring school in the state was York County’s Yorkshire Elementary School, which tallied a 13.0. The median score for the state is 72.

SPP scores are based largely on the results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, the Keystone Exams and the amount of growth students showed in a year as measured by the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System.

The profile does not only rely on results of the statewide assessments but it also incorporates other measures of student achievement, including year-to-year student academic growth; graduation, attendance and promotion rates; and increasing the achievement of all students, including historically underperforming students, such as English language learners and economically disadvantaged students.

James LaScola, who began work as Crawford Central School District’s assistant to the superintendent on Nov. 1, was hired following the retirement announcement of Superintendent Charlie Heller. LaScola had previously retired from public school service in 2001 — before the SPP scores or No Child Left Behind, its predecessor, were in place.

LaScola said Crawford Central School District Elementary Curriculum Director Ann Noonen and Secondary Curriculum Director Jennifer Galdon are more qualified than he is to answer questions regarding the district’s recent SPP scores.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve seen and expect to continue on that path,” Noonen said.

Noonen said on the elementary level that the focus on small group core instruction in reading is paying off.

“The teachers doing this is where we see the most bang for our buck,” Noonen said.

Cochranton Junior-Senior High School, part of Crawford Central School District, was the high scorer for Crawford County with 87.2. Cochranton Elementary School clocked in with an 84.9.

Even though it was Crawford Central’s highest scorer for 2013-14, Cochranton high school was penalized in the growth area because it doesn’t offer advanced placement courses. Galdon said CHS offers dual-enrollment courses, which means high school students are taking both high school courses and college courses during their day.

Of the City of Meadville elementary schools, West End did the best by scoring an 82.2. Meadville Area Senior High scored a 70.9.

Crawford Central enrolled 3,863 students in 2013-14 with 17.93 percent receiving special education services. Almost half of Crawford District’s population is economically disadvantaged, with that percentage being 48.98 percent.

Noonen and Galdon are working with principals and teachers, helping them learn how to interpret test data for themselves.

“The data piece is critical in driving instruction,” Galdon said.

Though test data drives instruction, this doesn’t mean students are being taught to the test, Galdon said. Teachers are being taught to engage students in order to improve student achievement because the two go hand-in-hand, Noonen said.

PENNCREST School District’s average dropped more than nine points from the previous year to 77.4. 

“It’s the nature of what we’re dealing with,” said Connie Youngblood, PENNCREST superintendent. “All our schools are in the green or blue where we need to be.”

Scores are designated by color. Dark blue represents a score of 90 to 100, light blue stands for 80 to 89.9, green scores are 70 to 79.9, yellow scores represent 60 to 69.9 and anything below 60 is red.

Youngblood said she doesn’t get excited about PENNCREST’s drop, but the district takes the scores seriously, she said. Each PENNCREST building has professional learning communities made up of teachers who will look into what needs to be done to improve scores by changing emphasis and deemphasizing curriculum.

“This is where the bulk of the work will be done,” Youngblood said. “After all, it’s about student achievement.”

Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School led the pack for PENNCREST School District with an 84.7. Saegertown led PENNCREST’s elementary schools with an 83.3.

PENNCREST had an enrollment of 3,289 students in 2013-14 with 17.14 percent of those receiving special education services. The district has 39.86 percent of its population classified as economically disadvantaged.

Conneaut School District’s score decreased from 77 in 2012-13 to 73.2 in 2013-14.

Superintendent Jarrin Sperry isn’t a fan of the SPPs. He said they were originally released to school districts in September but then were recalled by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for recalculating before being released to the public in November.

“It makes you wonder how well they’re doing in those calculations,” Sperry said.

Conneaut Valley Elementary School led the pack for Conneaut School District with an 84.3. Conneaut Area Senior High School’s score was a 60.4.

Conneaut School District Curriculum Director John Hines said math and science are the areas in which the district needs to focus on improving.

“I expect scores in mathematics to go up this year,” Hines said.

Hines noted both district elementary schools did well in the achievement areas but didn’t achieve in the growth areas.

“It’s a fair evaluation, and we’re not showing everything we’re capable of,” Hines said. “We’ve got to own the scores and focus on improvement.”

This is currently CASH’s third year of existence. The district consolidated Conneaut Lake, Conneaut Valley and Linesville high schools in 2012.

Conneaut School District had an enrollment of 2,200 in 2013-14 with 16 percent receiving special education services. Conneaut is right behind Crawford Central with a 48.95 percent economically disadvantaged population.

“We’re taking steps, and we’re going to do our best to increase those scores,” Sperry said. “We’re committed to raising the ones that are low.”

Earl Corp can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at ecorp@meadvilletribune.com.

Learn more

Each Pennsylvania public school’s 2013-14 School Performance Profile may be found at paschoolperformance.org.

Scores by school (average shown by district

Conneaut School District — 73.2

Conneaut Valley Elementary School: 84.3

Conneaut Lake-Sadsbury Elementary School: 79.7

Conneaut Valley Middle School: 71.5

Conneaut Lake Middle School: 69.9

Conneaut Area Senior High School: 60.4

Crawford Central School District — 78.9

Cochranton Junior-Senior High School: 87.2

Cochranton Elementary School: 84.9

West End Elementary School: 82.2

Neason Hill Elementary School: 81.9

First District Elementary School 77.2

Second District Elementary School: 69.7

Meadville Area Middle School: 77.4

Meadville Area Senior High School: 70.9

PENNCREST School District — 77.4

Cambridge Springs Elementary School: 75

Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School: 84.7

Maplewood Elementary School: 77.3

Maplewood Junior-Senior High School: 71.1

Saegertown Elementary School: 83.3

Saegertown Junior-Senior High school: 72.9

Corry School District — 70.4

Columbus Elementary School: 70.0

Conelway Elementary School: 76.3

Corry Elementary School: 62.1

Corry Middle School: 70.1

Corry High School: 80.8

Sparta Elementary School: 63.3

Jamestown Area School District — 82.3

Jamestown Elementary School: 85.5

Jamestown Area High School: 79.1

Titusville Area School District — 76.9

Hydetown Elementary School: 84.4

Main Street Elementary School: 81.8

Pleasantville Elementary School: 77.8

Titusville Middle School: 66.9

Titusville High School: 73.8

Union City School District — 70.3

Union City Elementary School: 66.4

Union City Middle School: 71.2

Union City High School: 73.4

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