2013-2014 Progress on District Goals
1. Oversee the Successful Completion of Nether Providence Elementary School Renovation Project
Management of the construction work schedule to compensate for the loss of work days during the severe winter of 2014 was outstanding. Nether Providence Elementary School was ready and safe for students on opening day, September 2, 2014. The work schedule to complete the library, art room, and the final site work has been approved for completion by October 30, 2014. Due to effective oversight, the final cost of the Nether Providence Elementary School Renovation will be below the $16.5 million budget.
2. Strengthen the Quality and Caliber of Teaching, Curriculum, and Student Achievement
· Starting in 2011-2012, the K-8 Math Program was rigorously studied by Vertical Teams and outside professionals to identify needs and recommendations for strengthening. In 2012-2013, Math in Focus was successfully implemented in the middle school. In 2013-2014, Math in Focus was successfully implemented at the elementary schools.
· In 2012-2013, training was provided by Teacher’s College Columbia University to grades 3-5 teachers on bringing novels and more differentiated approaches to the elementary reading program. In 2013-2014, an improved K-8 Language Arts Program was implemented.
· The state has not yet reported PSSA scores for 2013-2014. Although it is too early to assess the quality of these program changes, the 2013 PSSA scores for grade 5 shows a significant improvement in reading, the highest scores achieved over the last five years, with 54% of students classified as Advanced.
· In Reading, Math, and Writing, at grade 5, the district continues to score well above the state average.
Proficient or Advanced
· In 2013-2014, the Gifted Education Program was evaluated by the Curriculum and Education Department to identify strengths and needs. This evaluation noted improvements as follows:
- Middle school delivery model
- Increased services at the high school
- The new curriculum in Reading and Math in Focus
- More of a team approach
- Districtwide focus on rigor
- Better individual plans, more input from regular education teachers, improved goal setting, and increased measurability
· The number of students taking Advanced Placement tests jumped from 56% in 2013 to 373 and maintained that level in 2014.
· The number of Advanced Placement tests taken jumped 61% in 2013 to 608 and increased again in 2014 to 690.
· The percentage of students with a 3+ score remained significantly higher than the state average.
· Given the large increase in tests taken, this is outstanding performance! Our Advanced/Gifted Program is clearly exceptional at the high school level.
3. Take Demonstrable Steps to Insure the Near and Long-Term Financial Health of the District.
· The district formed a committee of community stakeholders that developed a strategic plan yielding recommendations that:
- Build on the district’s current strengths
- Strengthen areas in need
- Identify new areas for development
- Identify cost containment and revenue enhancement approaches
· The Audit of 2013-2014 Fiscal Year is now underway. The Administration expects to report a positive Fund balance, which reflects outstanding work by the Administration and collaborative work with the WSEA.
While property taxes were raised by 2.0%, generating an estimated one million additional dollars added to the school district’s budget, the increased net cost of the Retirement Plan alone was $724,721.
· Developing the 2014-2015 budget was particularly challenging. The net cost of the Retirement Plan will increase $745,525 over 2013-2014. Property taxes were increased a comparatively low 2.1%. The Administration and the Board declined to apply for an exception to raise taxes more than 2.1%. The cost of health benefits, special education, and compensation continue to rise and the district is projected to report a negative fund balance for the year.
4. Continue to take steps to stabilize special education through effective management and compliance, move effective programming, and improved communication
· Heightened monitoring and training has led to significant improvements in compliance at district schools, with continued emphasis on progress in 2014-2014.
· New reading and math intervention programs were instituted, a new math and reading diagnostic assessment was implemented at various grades, and executive functioning, personal development, and social skills curriculums and trainings were implemented.
· Communication with parents of special needs students expanded through the implementation of quarterly trainings on program issues, monthly parent focus group sessions on high-interest topics, and twice yearly roundtable luncheons with the Administration.