Montrose presents PSSA data
BY PAT FARNELLI
Superintendent Michael Ognosky presented a detailed report on the Montrose Area School District’s PSSA scores and Adequate Yearly Progress status at the school board meeting Monday, and concluded that Montrose schools and Susquehanna County as a whole are both in good shape academically, despite reports that the district along with several others in the county failed to make AYP.
MASD did make AYP for the district as a whole, and for both the Choconut Valley and Lathrop Street Elementary Schools.
The high school scores did fall short of AYP for reading and mathematics, although the junior senior high school did meet the math target goals using the Safe Harbor with Confidence Interval for that building.
“As a district as a whole, we made AYP for all of the target goals for attendance, graduation, academic performance, and test participation,” Ognosky said. “Lathrop Street and Choconut Valley Elementary Schools made AYP for every year since 2002, which is every year that there has been an AYP.”
Ognosky noted, “The idea (of AYP), to begin with, is flawed: the target that every child is going to be proficient or advanced–it is a very difficult thing.”
He said, “Our goal as educators is to get every child to work to the best of his or her ability.”
To put things into perspective, he said that of the 151 districts that comprise the Intermediate Unit 19, Susquehanna County is the only county in which all of the districts made AYP overall, and the only county in which the districts missed AYP by only one of their buildings. He said that the two most rural counties, Wayne and Susquehanna, did better than the rest.
Board member Pamela Staats noted that for special education, or IEP students, the targets are “crazy and contradictory.”
She said, “We already know that the IEP students are performing below grade level, because that is how these students are classified, but the state says they must be evaluated.”
Ognosky said that the elementary buildings made all 13 of their target goals, not always by strict percentage, but with the confidence interval, safe harbor, or growth model. If the school made AYP on the growth model, it means that they have not yet achieved proficiency, but are on the right track, according to the PDE standards.
“Every year, the numbers go up, and the targets are harder to achieve,” Ognosky said.
In other business, Ognosky and business manager Michele Lusk announced that the district will follow last year’s budget timeline, and make a firm commitment not to raise taxes past index, which is about one mill.
Lusk recently concluded Plan Con Part J, which is the final and closing step in wrapping up a building project for the high school which was completed 15 years ago, but the bond payments were calculated on a temporary reimbursement rate.
Lusk investigated the project after she discovered that the district was still being reimbursed for the project at a temporary rate, and that a significant amount of funds were reimbursable to the district due to the rate never being changed.
“That sat around for 15 years, and the district was reimbursed at that rate for a long time,” Lusk said. “The Pennsylvania Department of Education reviewed the permanent closeout rate for the project, and accepted our final submission.”
Lusk said that the district will receive $269,080.92 at the end of this month to close out the project.
Elementary School Principl Chris McComb said that the grade 4,5,and 6 students would attend a dress rehearsal performance of the Wizard of Oz at the high school auditorium this week.
The play, with a cast of more than 60 Montrose students, will be performed Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.