SCSD board hears about Keystone exams

BY HELEN B. FOSTER

Corespondent

Susquehanna Community Superintendent Bronson Stone discussed the  Keystone Exams at the board’s April 18 meeting.

“Here we are in the middle of our Strategic Plan on assessment and graduation and the state is making changes,” Stone said.

In the future graduating students beginnig with the Class of 2015 would have been required to pass certain Keystone Exams before receiving a diploma but, according to Stone, this requirement is in for possible changes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education enacted No Child Left Behind in 2001 after business leaders voiced concerns about skill levels of high school graduates.

This has produced increases in student achievement test scores at elementary and middle school levels but not always at high school levels, according to information byPDE.

Keystone Exam scores are intended to count for one-third of final course grade for graduates.

Board members learned Stephanie Skurski has been selected to receive the O’Neil  Scholarship. Skurski plans to attend theUniversityofScranton.

The O’Neill Foundation has also funded a 10-week morning SATprep program for SCHSstudents who plan to take the fall test.
When questioned about the Code of Conduct policy that received board approval, Stone said this is based on a 2011 court case. Unacceptable behaviors and attitudes are common across the country and the local Code of Conduct is getting mixed reviews.

Stone also is advising parents to monitor their child on Face Book as vulgarity and hurtful content is showing up locally.
Elementary School Principal Robert Keyes told the board of the testing activity going on at his school. He also reported American Cancer Society Daffodil Days netted more than $1,000.

When asked about students who have not complied with the vaccination requirements, Keyes said there are only a few in the elementary school.

Stone said the overall number for the district is less than 30 students who if not properly vaccinated will not be allowed to attend school after April 30.
Special Ed Coordinator David Jagger said his department has had an interesting development. They had eighteen students leave the district and staff was reduced by two. After that report was complete two students returned and then were gone again, Jagger said.  He also said there will be other changes that could result in more reduction of staff and expenditures for special education.
Maintenance supervisor Don Norris reported his department is in good shape.

This month the employee representative to the board wasLawrence Tompkins. He said Kathleen Hinkley, president of the association,  felt there should be a fresh voice reporting.

Tompkins said election  of officers will be held April 30 but he wasn’t looking for many changes to the executive committee.
Hubal Carpet’s bid for five rooms of carpet at a cost of $8,445 was approved.

The board gave  approval for May 8, as Teacher Recognition Day and sponsoring a breakfast for teachers.

Craig’s Photique will be the school photography provider for the 2012-2013 school year.

The board accepted Nancy Napolitano’s resignation from her food service position.

Additions to the substitute list included: Mark Fallon, special education; H. Patricia Barnes, aide; Sabrina Graves, food service; Kimberly Garrison, track helper.

Board members also were advised there would be property tax relief for owners of homesteads and farmsteads again this year. According to Stone, the tax relief through gaming money will be approximately $300 per tax bill.