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Ranking causes concern for school board

January 12, 2012

Photo by Gian DeLoia – Ridgway Area School District Elementary Principal Anne Herzing and members of the staff were awarded the Keystone Award for two consecutive years of adequate yearly progress.

A recent ranking from SchoolDigger.com was a cause for concern during Tuesday night's Ridgway Area School District Board of Directors meeting.
"I was looking at the school rankings [Tuesday] based on the PSSA scores, which I know aren't necessarily an accurate portrayal, but I was a little disturbed and I think I know the reason why," said director Kathy Lampman. "We are ranked at 406 out of 683 and we had dropped 290 places from last year and that's just the difference between the two 11th grade classes."
According to SchoolDigger.com, in 2010, the Ridgway Area High School was ranked 116th out of 672 districts within the state and in the top 82.7 percentile. In 2011, the district was in the 40.6 percentile based on PSSA testing.
"It's a little frustrating when you think you are doing all of this good stuff and then you see where we are within the state," Lampman said.
Middle/High School Principal Heather McMahon-Vargas reported receiving the ForeSight test results for the 11th grade.
The ForeSight test is a practice replica of state tests used by the district as a monitoring tool to assess a student's progress.
In reading, the 11th grade students were 80 percent advanced or proficient. The target is 81 percent. Math results are being analyzed and expect to be available in February.
"We are one percent off so we put some remediation staff in to support those kids that might be on the bubble," Vargas said. "We are going to be working on them with that."
Scores in reading for the seventh grade were 73 percent and the eighth grade scored a 91.4 percent of a targeted 81.
"We are working hard to make sure the kids are being supported consistently throughout the entire year," Vargas said. "In the middle school we integrated the literacy circles as well as current events. We are not just teaching reading and writing in the reading classes. We are teaching it across subject areas."
Vargas reported math scores for the sixth- and eighth-graders are "looking very good."

Pick up a copy of the Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.

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