New Castle News

October 22, 2012

Superintendent details Union’s AYP results

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Union Area School District has achieved the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress for 2012, for the ninth consecutive year.

Superintendent Dr. Alfonso “Butch” Angelucci presented the results at Wednesday’s school board meeting, pointing out that the elementary and high schools each fell short of AYP by one category.

As a result, the district is one of 890 districts to receive warnings as not having met academic goals, although the middle school did attain AYP.

Adequate Yearly Progress is the statewide accountability system mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It requires that all school districts make adequate progress each year in various categories, including attendance and graduation. The gauge is based primarily on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment testing results in math and reading.

Angelucci explained the middle school attained all of the goals for AYP. The elementary school achieved only 12 of 13 targets, because the low socioeconomic subgroup did not reach the proficiency level.

The high school achieved 10 of 11 targets, falling short in math.

AYP is a standard in which schools are measured against national education requirements. Tests are given in grades three to five; six to eight and 11. To be considered AYP compliant, a district must meet the target goal in only one of those spans.

Angelucci noted that schools achieving AYP must have had at least 78 percent of the students testing proficient or advanced in math and 81 percent of the students achieving proficient or advanced in reading.

“That’s a big jump from five years ago when it was 45 percent proficiency in math and 54 percent proficiency in reading,” he said.

For the 2013-14 school year, schools must show 89 percent proficiency in math and 91 percent proficiency in reading.

By 2014, all districts must be 100 percent proficient or advanced in reading and math, regardless of ability or disability levels.

In reading at Union, grade four reached 83 percent in math and grade six showed 81 percent proficiency in that area.

Angelucci said he is concerned about high school math, which was 61 percent proficient. That is 17 percent below the AYP requirement.

“We will be bolstering our math instruction over the next few years,” starting at the middle school level, he said, adding that measures to improve math performance will be made through budgeting, materials, computer software and possibly hiring more math instructors for the 2013-14 school year.

Angelucci said he is pleased with fourth-grade science, which was 87 percent proficient and grade 11 writing, which reached 91 percent proficiency.

However, those areas are not included in AYP.

“With the state percentages rising, it makes it difficult to achieve these goals, but we’re not making excuses,” he commented.

Teacher SMART goals were initiated during the 2010-11 school year as collaborative efforts by instructors to use different resources.

Overall initiatives for the district — some of which will begin in the 2013-14 school year — include transferring the curriculum to an online format.

“That makes it more easily accessible to the staff,” Angelucci said.

Other initiatives are to infuse common core standards into the updated curriculum, and implement positive behavior support throughout the entire district in all grades, including kindergarten, he said.