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MARION CENTER: Administrators evaluate early results of state tests

by on July 23, 2013 11:00 AM

MARION CENTER — The Marion Center Area School District has received early results from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments exams taken by students in grades 3 through 8 in the spring, and administrators have started analyzing the early scores.

“These numbers are preliminary and they are raw data,” Charles Adamchik, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, told the school directors Monday.

The administration team has met to discuss the early results and to begin planning what the district’s response to the PSSA scores should be. Data teams from the district’s faculty and staff are also planning to meet to start an in-depth analysis, and their suggestions in response to the scores may include changes in professional development and in teaching strategies.

Adamchik said PSSA scores from the district’s fifth-grade students were lower than expected, and a “problem” was noticed with eighth-grade math scores, so a reading specialist will likely spend more time with fifth- and sixth-grade students. And two AmeriCorps workers who may be in the district in the next school year may be used as math and reading tutors to give some students additional help, he said.

Also in response, the district will increase its participation in an instructional coaching training program, Adamchik said.

More detailed results from the PSSAs should be available about the time students start back to school.

Susan DeVaughn, assistant elementary principal, delivered some good news to the directors. She said Principal Donna Bruder-Smith was instrumental in successfully applying for another Pre-K Counts grant from the state to support the district’s pre-kindergarten program. This will be the seventh consecutive year the district has shared in the Pre-K Counts money.

DeVaughn said the district is in line to receive $184,860 to support half-day pre-K instruction and starting school preparations, and $5,000 of that amount can be used for a summer program next year to give some of the young students additional help before they start kindergarten.

DeVaughn said there are now 72 students enrolled for this fall’s pre-K program.

The directors Monday also heard a presentation from representatives of Thought Process Enterprises, headquartered in Ellwood City.

According to Bob Phillips, the company’s marketing manager, about a dozen school districts are expected to participate in a new network and allow limited advertisements to be placed on their school district websites. Thought Process Enterprises solicits the ads from local and regional businesses, does the design work and handles the invoicing, all for a share of the advertising revenue.

Ads promoting tobacco products, gambling, dating services and anything with sexual innuendo will not be permitted, Phillips said, and the district will have the ability to filter out any ads it does not want on its website.

Phillips said the Seneca Valley School District in Butler County, which is considerably larger than the Marion Center district, earned about $20,000 from the ad revenue-sharing arrangement in its first year.

Also at Monday’s combined work session and voting meeting, the directors:

• Approved a contract with Smith Bus Company for $84,894 to transport the district’s nonpublic students to parochial and Amish schools next school year.

• Hired Casey Minich as a half-time reading specialist with a starting salary that is 50 percent of the annual pay on the salary scale for a new employee with a master’s degree.

• Hired Nathan Blehi as the technology specialist at a salary of $34,000.

• Accepted the resignation of Sherri Tyger as an LPN and instruction assistant.

• Approved supplemental contracts with Jonathan Schaller to be the band director at a salary of $7,166; with Becca Blashock to be the assistant band director at a salary of $2,284; and with Marissa Bruno to be a band front sponsor at a salary of $2,000.

• Approved for the district to enter into cooperative sponsorship agreements with Blairsville High School and Armstrong School District for the participation of students on the Indiana Area School District lacrosse team.

• Agreed to donate $1,500 to the Marion Center Park Association.

The directors also approved supplemental contracts and salaries with the following coaches, pending clearances:

Paul DeHaven as head baseball coach, $4,510; Ed Peterson, head softball coach, $3,600; Mark Magolis, head track and field coach, $5,210; Tiffany Frank, head junior high volleyball coach, $2,250; Sarah Fyock, assistant junior high volleyball coach, $2,000; and Shania Hadden, assistant cheerleading coach, $1,500.

The directors recognized a dozen booster and parent organizations that promote and support extracurricular activities of the district’s students.

They are: Band Boosters, Baseball Boosters, Basketball Boosters, Cheerleading Boosters, Football Boosters, Softball Boosters, Swim Team Boosters, Track/Cross Country Boosters, Volleyball Boosters, Wrestling Boosters, Rayne Elementary PTA and W.A. McCreery Elementary PTA.



Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is rwells@indianagazette.net.
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