Pottsgrove school board members, from left, Patti Grimm, Ted Coffelt, and Matt Alexander talk before Tuesday’s meeting
POTTSTOWN PA – Parents who only recently learned of their Pottsgrove High and Middle School students’ results on last year’s first round of state-required Keystone Exams said Tuesday (Aug. 12, 2014) they want the school district to provide more advance warning about potentially low test scores so those facing trouble can find remedial help.
District administrators said they made a decision to release the scores last week at Pottsgrove’s online parents’ portal. That was substantially sooner, they said, than the date on which the Pennsylvania Department of Education declared the scores “official.”
Although well-intentioned, even that probably wasn’t soon enough, some members of the Board of School Directors suggested.
Passing the Keystones is a requirement for high school graduation and, in the middle school, for advancing into more difficult subjects. Their importance “makes parents nervous, and understandably so,” Superintendent Shellie Feola acknowledged, and said she is already working with building principals to address families’ needs.
Lower Pottsgrove resident and Pottsgrove Middle School parent Amy Marazas said she had been worried since the end of school in June that her student might be among those needing extra assistance on a Keystone subject test. She had hoped to learn her student’s score much earlier, Marazas said, to find study help during the summer.
“There’s not much we can do with the time that’s left,” Marazas added, and expressed concern that her student’s tentative class schedule, which begins Aug. 25, could be disrupted as a result.
Board member John Rossi said he also is a parent whose student performed less well than expected on a Keystone. He urged Feola and district Technology and Communications Director Michael Wagman to move up release of preliminary exam results, despite the fact they remained unofficial, so families could review them as soon as possible.
“Parents who need that jump should get it,” Rossi said. Feola responded by saying she had already discussed changing the release schedule.
Feola also said she talked about in-school Keystone study opportunities with high school Principal Dr. Bill Ziegler, and that he was creating an intervention plan for them. “It’s good to hear there’s a plan coming,” Marazas replied. “There’s going to be plenty of time for intervention before the next test seating,” Feola assured her and the board.
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Aug. 12 meeting):