SASD scores high for test procedures
COAL TOWNSHIP - Shamokin Area School District received an "excellent" audit of its Keystone Exam process, an administrator said Tuesday.
Ruby Michetti, curriculum coordinator, said during the monthly school board meeting that the district's protocol for the standardized testing is in place and state Department of Education is satisfied with it.
The state's Keystone Exams debuted last spring and the results are used to gauge the performance of students, individual schools and school districts.
Michetti said there are increased levels of text complexity for next year's Keystone Exams, meaning the questions will be more difficult with an emphasis on analysis.
Charlie Shuey, board director, said he is concerned that standardized testing has limited "learning" in the classroom.
Michetti said the tests are a measurement of performance and shows how an individual student thinks over a problem, considers options and reaches a solution. She said it's not simply rote memorization.
Shuey said there is some value in rote memorization such as learning the decimal table, to which Michetti agreed. However, she said learning extends beyond rote memorization.
James Zack, superintendent, said there is an overemphasis on testing - which is required by federal and state guidelines - and that is has taken away from what teachers can offer their students.
In other business, the school board voted to:
- Pay the bills on a 5-4 split vote. In favor were directors Bob Getchey, Ed Griffiths, Jeff Kashner, Treina Mariano and Brian Persing. Opposed were directors Shuey, Ron McElwee, Bernie Sosnoskie and Tracey Witmer. Shuey made a brief statement questioning unspecified payments to district administrators through the existing Act 93 administrative contract;
- Adopt a job description for a maintenance/HVAC technician;
- Enter a contract with Lauren Swartz to provide social worker services to the district for 145 days this school year at a total cost of $27,370;
- Pay Industrial Appraisal Co. $8,150 to appraise district-owned properties;
- On a split 6-3 vote to reduce the rental fee from $800 to $100 for the Knights of Columbus to use the middle/high school gymnasium for a basketball tournament Dec. 27-28. In favor were Getchey, Griffiths, Kashner, Mariano, McElwee and Persing. Opposed were Shuey, Sosnoskie and Witmer. Witmer said board members have repeatedly stated they wished not to approve reductions for facility fees and that's why she opposed the motion;
- Purchase 150 rounds of ammunition each month for the district's three armed guards, and no more than 1,500 rounds each year. Griffiths said the ammo is used in training exercises. McElwee asked that unspent rounds be returned to the district;
- Seek bids for the removal of two abandoned 10,000-gallon underground fuel tanks at Kemp Memorial Stadium grounds;
The board also recognized Walmart Distribution Center, Pottsville, whose representatives presented 20 elementary teachers with cake, gift bags, school supplies and $50 gift certificates.
Trees will be planted in the grass plots in front of the middle/high school. Getchey said anyone wishing to purchase a tree as a memorial can do so. The cost is $100. Call the district office at 570-648-5752.