Indiana, PA - Indiana County

INDIANA: Directors accept resignation of principal at Ben Franklin

by RANDY WELLS on October 09, 2012 10:45 AM

The Indiana Area School District directors Monday evening accepted the resignation of Scott Poloff, the Ben Franklin Elementary School principal, effective with their vote.

No explanation was given during Monday's school board meeting for Poloff's departure from the district, and board President Tom Harley and district Superintendent Dale Kirsch said following the meeting they could not comment either on the reason for Poloff's resignation or if Poloff had been asked to resign.

The directors then approved Paula Daskivich to serve as Ben Franklin Elementary's acting principal at a per diem rate of $445 until a permanent replacement is hired. The board authorized the administration and the Policy and Personnel Committee to begin the search for a new principal immediately.

Daskivich retired as the high school principal in 2011.

In other business, the board decided to give military recruiters more casual access to high school students under some modifications to guidelines that have been in place several years.

Harley and Kirsch said the high school principal will coordinate with military recruiters to arrange several days each school year when recruiters may set up tables in the Upper Commons at the high school and talk casually with students there.

Under the previous guidelines recruiters could only meet with individual students through scheduled appointments. Recruiters will still be able to do that and soon will also have the more casual opportunities a few times each year to meet students in the school without an appointment.

During the period for public comment at the beginning of the meeting, Charles Spadafora, of Indiana, and Ken Ault, a retired Army colonel, spoke in favor of allowing recruiters and students to occasionally mingle in the high school.

Spadafora said about 80 percent of high school students go on to college and the military services have enlistment incentives that can pay some or all college expenses for some new recruits. He also called the U.S. military the largest vocational-technical school in the country, providing many enlistees with job skills that can later be applied to civilian careers.

Ault said the military can be "a land of opportunity" for some students looking for skill training.

Dr. Mark Gross, the district's coordinator of curriculum and instruction, gave the directors a presentation on the district's performance on last school year's Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

The PSSA tests determine if school districts are making adequate yearly progress, or AYP, to be in compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The PSSA establishes percentages of students who must demonstrate proficiency in math and reading for schools to meet the goals. Those performance targets have been increasing each year with the goal of all students being proficient in math and reading by the 2013-14 school year.

Gross told the directors that, in summary, the Indiana district as a whole made AYP and all the elementary schools in the district made AYP. But the junior high did not because of the test performance by the IEP subgroup (individualized education plan students, formerly referred to as special-education students), and the senior high did not make AYP because it did not show improvement growth in some students' math scores.

He said 80.4 percent of the district's students were proficient or advanced in mathematics, compared to 75.7 percent of students statewide, and 81.2 percent of students are proficient or advanced in reading, compared to 71.9 percent statewide.

All the charts and graphs Gross used in his presentation are posted on the district's website. Gross said another useful website for comparing PSSA results among school districts is

In other action, the directors:

  • Granted permission for the girls' lacrosse team to use the Indiana school name and mascot and to become a club sport at no cost to the district. The directors further agreed to allow the girls' lacrosse team to pursue a schedule through the WPIAL and use a designated field and locker room facilities.
  • Authorized the administration to investigate the reimplementation of a districtwide Elementary Strings program and report back to the board on the costs and logistics of starting the program again.
  • Hired Madeline Rupert as the assistant Title I coordinator for the 2012-13 school year for a maximum of 20 hours at her hourly per diem rate.

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