New Castle News

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December 21, 2013

Shenango high students’ score among highest

NEW CASTLE — Shenango Junior/Senior High School had one of the highest School Performance Profile scores in Pennsylvania.

The school had an overall score of 91, the highest for a high school in Lawrence County. In Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, It was second only to Mars High School. Mars had a score of 93. The intermediate unit covers Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

Only 47 of the nearly 700 high schools in the state had a score of 90 or higher.

So, why did Shenango students do so well?

“I attribute a lot of our success to focusing on all students being successful,” said Joseph McCormick, high school principal. “Instead of just concentrating on having students pass a test, our focus has been on moving every student forward.

“Some students grow a lot but are still non-proficient. Some students are advanced, but still have the ability to grow even more.”

Regardless of whether a student’s performance was high or low, the performance profile “shows that our teachers are doing an exceptional job moving students forward from year to year.”

McCormick said that while Shenango has had high standard test achievement, he likes the performance profile because it includes other elements such as student growth regardless of performance, graduate rates, college readiness and other factors.

He gave credit to the teaching staff, saying the single important factor in school performance is the quality of classroom instruction.

McCormick added that having the second-highest score in the region is rewarding, “but there is still room for improvement and another student whose needs we can better meet somehow.”

Dr. Michael Schreck, district superintendent, said, “The teachers are very committed to making sure the students understand the content and provide remediation if they need additional help.”

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