Montrose Area admins review preliminary test scores

Choconut Valley Elementary Principal Chris McComb said, at the Oct. 9 school board meeting, that the preliminary PSSA testing results showed significant areas of concern, but also highlighted areas the district could be proud of.
McCombs said administrators would have a clearer picture of the results when the district receives more specific data.
Of major concern, he told the board, are the third grade math scores out of Choconut Valley Elementary. The Lathrop Street third grade scores, however, were higher than they have ever been, he said.
The principal acknowledged difficulty in facilitating staff meetings between the two elementary schools in the district but said there would be a focus on bringing the third grade teachers together to share what has been successful in their classrooms.
He also highlighted significant improvements – including a 16 percent increase in math; and 90 percent of Choconut students scoring as proficient or advanced on the PSSA in Science; and when Lathrop Street and Choconut Valley scores are combined, McComb said, they are the highest in the county.
Once the remaining data is received, administrators will bring the information to the board’s curriculum committee.
McComb also noted some changes in future PSSA testing. Changes have been made at the state level to reduce the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests.
High School Assistant Principal Eric Powers also spoke about PSSA numbers, as well as Keystone exams.
He said he was pleased “but not content” with the Keystone results.
The PSSA tests, administered at the junior high level, showed some areas of concern, he told the board, and steps are being taken to meet those challenges.
McComb noted that Choconut Valley students and staff raised $1,200 for hurricane relief efforts and that Wal-Mart will be matching that donation.
Lathrop Street Elementary received a $10,000 grant from the Montrose Chocolate & Wine Festival to replace water fountains in the school.
Special Education Director Kelli-jo Riker spoke to the board about adding three para-educators in order to better meet the needs of students. Total cost of adding three positions would be $66,720, and includes the salary, benefits and retirement costs.
The positions were not on the board’s agenda, and no action was taken at the October meeting on the request.
The board also discussed its rate of pay for substitute teachers and nurses. The district, like many others, are facing a shortage of classroom and nursing substitutes.
Board members discussed several approaches to increasing the base rate of pay (currently $80 for first year subs; and $85 for second year subs) as well as other alternatives – such as using Kelly Services to handle sub staffing.
Superintendent Carol Boyce said she had not reviewed the matter thoroughly enough to make a recommendation to the board.
School director Paul Adams said he would like the board to discuss it more before making a decision.
McComb offered the elementary school often was not able to fill all of the open slots because they don’t have the substitutes available.
He said staff and teachers are routinely pulled from other areas, including Title 1 and RTI, to cover classrooms, which then, takes away from those services.

1 Comment on "Montrose Area admins review preliminary test scores"

  1. Shannon Marquardt | October 28, 2017 at 8:54 am | Reply

    It must be difficult to find fully accredited, PSEA certified, college degreed, background/finger printed checked individuals that want to work for an equivalent yearly salary of $15K.

    Why isn’t the daily sub rate equal to the daily rate of first year teacher in the district? The candidate pool in Susquehanna county has to be limited, but this pay rate will not attract qualified candiates.

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