New Castle News


October 7, 2013

New Castle schools vary in performance results

NEW CASTLE — Some of New Castle school district’s state testing results leave much room for improvement while others are above average.

Pennsylvania’s School Performance Profiles — report cards for each school’s academic performance — were released Friday afternoon, providing a comprehensive statewide overview.

The profile, based on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone testing results, give districts an idea of which subjects are weaknesses and where districts need to work harder to bring students up to state and federal standards.

New Castle superintendent John Sarandrea said yesterday the district had received its test scores a week ago and sent letters home to parents.

The junior-senior high scored 62.5 percent, which he said is equivalent to a D grade. That school includes grades seven through 12. Next year, junior and senior high scores will be separate, Sarandrea said.

George Washington Intermediate Elementary School’s score was 57 percent, “the equivalent of a failing score,” he said. Washington houses grades four, five and six.

West Side Primary Center scored 88 percent which could be considered “a very high B,” Thaddeus Stevens Primary Center had 70 percent or a C, and John F. Kennedy Primary Center had 82.2 percent, a B, Sarandrea said. The primary centers contain grades one, two and three.

Last year, the New Castle district did not make Adequate Yearly Progress, a yardstick that had been used to measure improvements in schools statewide.

“AYP is over now,” Sarandrea said, explaining there are new distinctions applied to individual schools that could be “priority,” which is very low, “focus,” which is in the middle or “reward” or high designation.

New Castle received no designations this year, he said, “because I think this is going to be a baseline year.”

From now on, he said, the state will watch how the individual schools do moving forward.

“Needless to say, there are some areas we’re proud of, and other areas where we all recognize we can stand to do a great deal of improving.”

In addition to providing the overall percentage of each school, the state has broken down the testing scores by subjects on the School Performance Profile, which is an academic performance report card.

The state provided a two-page perspective showing how points can be accumulated based on such factors as growth, PSSA scores, attendance, advanced placement classes offered and percentage of participation on the tests.

“We’re going to be spending a lot of time getting familiar with how we’re being judged and determining what we need to do to improve those scores,” Sarandrea said. “That comes down to growing students one year, in one year’s time. If you’re dedicated to doing that, you’ll always have a positive score.”

New Castle is considered a Title I school district, meaning more than 40 percent of its students are poor and qualify for a free or reduced lunch. That designation qualifies schools for extra federal funds for reading and math. Those schools are required to meet more rigorous federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

    A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger now facing federal charge

    With Mercer County court proceedings pending this week, Cecelia Yauger faces federal prosecution for alleged business credit card misuse.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todora.jpg Board, staff bids farewell to superintendent

    Dr. Mary Todora will retire Monday from the Neshannock school district. “I remember eight and a half years ago when Dr. John Dietz (then-board president) called to tell me I got the job. I was thrilled,” Todora said at her final board meeting.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich.jpg Vo-tech administrators get bonuses, no raises

    Lawrence County Career and Technical Center administrators will get one-time bonuses instead of raises next year. The joint operating committee approved one-year agreements that would freeze the salaries of director Leonard A. Rich and the principal, head custodian, cafeteria supervisor and computer technician.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • FrankAloi.jpg Frank Aloi: 50 years of school spirit in Ellwood City

    Frank Aloi is a true Wolverine. Aloi, who turned 73 Friday, spent the past half-century affiliated with the Ellwood City school district and its sports teams.

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • FrankAloi.JPG Frank Aloi Retiring: Ellwood superintendent leaving amid budget woes

    Frank Aloi is retiring next month as Ellwood City’s superintendent of schools. Aloi, a 50-year district employee and its superintendent for nearly 12, submitted his retirement notice to the board during an executive session prior to Thursday’s meeting. His last day is July 16.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District mulls building sale options

    The New Castle school district is considering selling its three recently closed buildings through a sealed bid process.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Perfect.jpg Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

    They say nobody’s perfect. But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was. When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Three New Castle schools close today for good

    Today is bittersweet for New Castle Area School District elementary students and teachers. Three buildings packed with history as longtime learning institutions are closing their doors for good.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for allegedly overstepping his legal authority with the way he's handled Obamacare. Good call?

Yes. Obama's been overstepping his authority since day one in office. It's time he pay the piper.
No. The allegations are ridiculous and the law suit is a waste of time and tax payer money.
I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of Obama, but the suit seems a little extreme.
     View Results