Wyalusing district addresses school performance scores
Wyalusing School District Superintendent Dr. Chester Mummau said he is pleased with the academic scores Wyalusing schools have received through the Pennsylvania Department of Education's School Performance Profile system, but acknowledged that more work lies ahead.
Wyalusing Valley Jr./Sr. High School ranked third in Bradford County with a score of 79.1 out of 100, behind Troy Area Jr./Sr. High School (80.1) and county leader Northeast Bradford High School (82.1).
The elementary scored slightly higher, with an 82.7 out of 100 rating, second only to Canton Area Elementary School (83.4).
According to Mummau, this is the first year of the School Performance Profile program, which replaced Adequate Yearly Progress, a scoring system that was introduced through the No Child Left Behind Act. Mummau considers SPP an improvement over AYP, but outlined some reasons why the scores are not a 'be all, end all' system of what makes a school adequate.
"The SPP ratings are arrived at via a very complex formula yet it doesn't take into account the quality or number of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, technology availability, the quality of buildings and grounds, cafeteria quality, and in general the quality of customer service and genuine caring by our staff," he said, "It is only one indicator of a school's performance."
He said the school district's current goal is to be ranked first in Bradford County, and from there set its sights on becoming the number one school in the Intermediate Unit 17 region, which encompasses Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania.
To do this, Mummau said the teachers and administrators are working tirelessly to transition to the PA core standards in order to provide the highest quality instruction possible.
When asked why the district didn't perform as well as some schools in the region, like Loyalsock which scored 92, Mummau noted that Loyalsock's SPP score appeared to not have encompassed writing upon first inspection. He was unsure why this was.
Wyalusing's weakest subject according to SPP ratings was writing, where the elementary school had 55.7 percent of students scoring 'proficient' or 'advanced' on the PSSA test and the high school performed slightly worse at 52.7 percent.
Mummau said this is going to be addressed at a meeting on Monday, an in-service day, where the district's writing teachers will be gathering data and brainstorming before an action plan is developed.
Mummau reasoned that some of the scores could potentially be caused by a society that is accepting of well known acronyms through texting and internet means.
"I do know that our hyper-connected world of technology works against English teachers with writing that includes LOL, BFF, TTYL, OMG, IMHO, etc."
He said the district plans to "look at the instructional resources we are using and how much instructional time students are getting in writing and perhaps we need to increase the amount of time students spend learning, practicing, and polishing the various styles of writing."
In contrast, Wyalusing's strongest subject area was science at the elementary school, with 83.2 percent of students scoring 'proficient' or 'advanced' on PSSA testing, and math and reading at the high school level, where both subjects received a 70.8 percent approval rating on the tests.
Mummau conveyed two messages directly to readers, saying, " Citizens need to be reminded that schools are working with human beings and not widgets that are all made out of the same stock wood."
He continued by explaining that elementary and high school SPP scores are not comparable as they are calculated on different measures.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.