Mountain View discusses Kaystone Exams

BY STACI WILSON

Mountain View Superintendent Andrew Chichura provided a Keystone Exam update at the Oct. 25 school board meeting.

The district will be field testing the biology exam in November. Students who completed biology in the 2009-10 school year will take the exam in the next few weeks.

Actual Keystone Exam testing in biology, Algebra 1 and Literature will begin in May 2011.

The exams will comprise 33 percent of each student’s overall course grade. The tests won’t be graded on site and instead will be sent out to the state for grading.

Chirchura said the process will require a quick turnaround from the state for the district to meet the graduation requirement and for end-of-year report cards to go out on time.

Courses added to the Keystone Exams will ramp up over the next few years. The class of 2017, current sixth graders, will need to pass six of 10 exams to meet State Department of Education graduation requirements.

High School Principal Andrew Doster said, “There’s big implications.”

Doster said recommendations regarding changes to the curriculum would likely occur as a result of the Keystone Exams implications.

A part-time paraprofessional position created at the Oct. 11 board meeting to supervise in-school suspension was replaced with a part-time school monitor job on Monday night.

Chichura told the board that the paraprofessional position created for the purpose may not be possible under the district’s current contract.

Instead, Chichura said, he proposed motions for the board’s consideration to correct the error and avoid a potential grievance.

The board then created the monitor in-school suspension monitor position and voted to advertise the opening.

The monitor, when hired, will work up to three days per week at the rate of $7.85 per hour.

David Breese, of South Gibson, was appointed as a temporary English teacher for the 2010-11 school year, effective Oct. 26. Breese will be paid a prorated salary of $37,460. Board member Dava Rhinehart-Cowan voted against the appointment.

Breese was also hired by the board as a junior high basketball coach.

The board also approved advertising for a full-time custodian/ maintenance position in the district. Applications are due by Nov. 12.

A $17,500 settlement agreement and release for a student was approved by the board. According to the written agreement drafted and approved by the district’s solicitor, $10,000 is allocated for the settlement with $7,500 additional in attorney fees.

Chichura told the board that previously projected enrollment numbers seem to be holding. He said the district is experiencing a decline of about 20 students each year.

Currently, Chichura said, high school grades have about 100 students in each class while enrollment in the elementary school is near 80 per grade.

Chichura said the steady decline in student enrollment “creates special concerns for the district and board.”

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