Federal and state mandates concern school district

Changes to the Pennsylvania Keystone Exams have once again begun to concern the Ridgway Area School District.The Keystone Exams are part of Pennsylvania's new system of high school graduation requirements and are designed to help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards by assessing their proficiency in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English, Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History and Civics and Government.Superintendent Michael O'Brien voiced his frustration during last Tuesday's regular board meeting."My concern is the state continues to change where those exams are and how many exams there are," O'Brien said. "At midyear this year all 500 public school districts were planning to address three Keystone Exams for graduation requirements for seniors."O'Brien noted the requirements have reverted back to its original proposal of 10 exams."Now all of the work we have done in the first half of the year to realign and rewrite curriculum at the secondary level, in all honesty has to be redone, because now they are staying at 10 Keystone Exams," O'Brien said.O'Brien also stressed the "immediate impact" that the "Common Core" will have at the elementary school."Common Core is really a nationally pushed curriculum that the vast majority of states have adopted," O'Brien said. "We now have an assessment system at the elementary level. We have students at the middle school as well as the fifth grade that I believe will still be on the PSSA. We then have juniors who will have to take the PSSA as well as if they are sitting in any of those courses that are mandated for testing next year. They not only will have to do the PSSA, they will have to take the Keystone Exams, so all of those things have to be supported not only for our children but to also help our staff."Pick up a copy of the Saturday, June 23, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.