Mt. View state reading, writing scores low

BY TOM FONTANA
Correspondent

Mt. View has earned a poor showing for reading and writing in a recent state academic assessment.

At the school board meeting last Monday, Karen Voigt, the district’s Director of Curriculum & Instruction, presented the results of the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile for the 2012-13 school year. Ratings in mathematics, reading/literature, science/biology, and writing are based on scores earned from the required PSSA/Keystone Proficiency testing.

Low grades were recorded for reading (66) and writing (41) based on testing of third-grade students.

“This should not be taken as a reflection on our third-grade teachers,” Voigt told the board. “Every teacher in all grades is responsible for the reading and writing proficiency of our students.”

But she added that third-grade reading scores are a crucial measure of the future success of students.

“In fact,” Voigt noted, “some states look at third-grade reading scores to determine how many prisons to build.”

On the junior high and high school level, the district earned below average scores in math, reading, science and writing.

The overall average score for the elementary school was 70.3; for the high school 71.1. These scores are signified in the report by a green box, as opposed to yellow or red triangles for lower scores or blue for higher scores.

Voigt said the green overall averages reflect measurements of improvement in several subjects which are added to the basic scores. Improvements were indicated in elementary math (70) and reading (73), and in high school science (96) and writing (81).

“This shows student growth,” Voigt stated on a positive note. “It shows that everybody can grow. Green is a good place to start. But we do have our work cut out for us.”

Voigt offered a list of “action steps” for improving the district’s scores in the future.

“Everyone must be on the same team to achieve student success,” she stressed. “Everyone in the school community must ask ourselves, ‘What am I doing to make Mountain View a positive place where the education of our students comes first?’”

She recommended refresher classes to assist students with the Keystone testing; a shift in instruction practices by teachers and students; resurrecting the afterschool activity buses; and summer school.

Accountant Brian Kelly and his associate Brad Murray offered a draft of their firm’s audit of the district, indicating “no material errors or problems.” The board will review the audit and vote on its acceptance at a later meeting.

The board approved the appointment of Ernie Griffis of Brooklyn as varsity baseball coach, and Joseph Scanlon of New Milford as intramural volleyball co-coach. Board director Dr. Christine Plonski-Sezer was selected to represent the district with NEIU-19 from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2017.