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Led by WA juniors, test scores praised

Updated district Web site to aid Secondary Center parents in monitoring kids’ academics.

EXETER – Standardized test scores are good, and now Secondary Center parents have a new way to make sure those results transfer to classroom performance, Wyoming Area’s superintendent told the school board Tuesday.

Ray Bernardi said district students performed “well above state average at all grade levels” in the 2009 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. Bernardi had specific praise for the 11th-graders, who scored 83 percent advanced or proficient in math and 80 percent in reading, well above the state averages of 56 percent in math and 65 percent in reading.

They also scored 96 percent proficient or advanced in writing, 13 percentage points above the state average. The 11th-graders’ scores ranked 12th out of the 500 school districts in the state, he said.

The superintendent praised the school board, administrators, teachers, students and parents for their roles in the scores. He said parental involvement will be further enhanced by new real-time access to grades.

Progress Book will be available as a secure link on the district’s Web site and show results from tests, quizzes and labs.

“No longer do you have to wait until the 45th day to find out what their grade is,” Bernardi said to the applause of some parents in the audience. Progress Book will be available at the elementary level next year, he said, noting the system will increase parental involvement and “further improve our standard of education and excellence.”

Bernardi’s comments were later cited by two taxpayers who voiced concerns about a possible uniform dress code. They said the school’s outstanding achievements indicate no change in dress code is needed.

One woman, Rhonda Lambert, reiterated comments she made at last week’s work session that a uniform dress code is in the works “behind our backs.”

Board member Estelle Campenni, who has a background in research and psychology, acknowledged she is mentoring a student working on a dress code survey as a senior project, but it is not an official district project. Board members insisted they have no plans to institute a stricter dress code.

“You are the only one bringing this up,” said board President Nick DeAngelo.

“We would never move forward without input from the stakeholders, the parents and students,” Bernardi said.

In other business, the board ratified two separate lease payments for computer equipment from HP Financial Services totaling $141,653 in four annual installments; ratified the appointments of Anita Yurek as health care technician and Carol Dente as cleaning personnel; approved the appointment of Arlen Kuharchick as part-time cafeteria cashier and Celestine Calpin as driver theory instructor.

The board also appointed the following coaches: Michael Struckus, assistant cross country, $1,105; Ken Yakobitis, boys basketball, $5,479; Mike Judge, girls basketball, $5,479; Joe Pizano, winter track, $890; Maureen Shovlin, swimming, $3,965; John Ratajczak, wrestling, $5,479.

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