Jeff Tech sees fall in students’ most recent PSSA scores

WINSLOW TOWNSHIP — The results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) testing for Jeff Tech took a downward trend this year.

"We received a 56-page report from the Pennsylvana Department of Education on how to calculate Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)," said Jo-Ann Olszewski, assistant principal at Jeff Tech, at Wednesday's Joint Operating Committee meeting, which was held at the former lumbering building again.

Olszewski said scores for Jeff Tech students went down, which was projected to occur based on the history for this group of students.

"Despite the downturn, our students remain excited to take the exams and have an upbeat attitude," she said.

John Kimmel, Jeff Tech principal, said this year everyone will have to transition from the PSSA to the new Keystone Exams which have an emphasis on English, math and biology.

Marsha Welsh, Jeff Tech director, said the administration isn't surprised that these turned out this way based simply on what students have achieved while testing in the past.

Kimmel said the good news is that the vo-tech school will have a big jump in its scores in the next two years based on the projections for that class.

In other business:
• The JOC discussed the upcoming auction that will be held Saturday, Sept. 1 with Tim Powell as the auctioneer.

The JOC voted to enter into an agreement with Powell to sell obsolete equipment with fees of 10 percent for the sale of small items and 4 percent for large items.

The committee decided not to sell the school bus that Jeff Tech owns, which was used to transport students to the former lumbering building.

Francis J. Molinaro, JOC member, said the school should wait to see if it finds another use for the bus.

• The committee also discussed the retro-commissioning of the existing building HVAC system and associated mechanical system with Siemens at a price of $36,940 to be paid from the capital projects account.

Welsh said the staff was unable to reset the temperature in various rooms throughout the school during the summer.

"We still had temperatures in the 80s," she said.

Gary Conrad, JOC member, asked if the committee goes along with these changes, will it be willing to spend even more money to fix the system when other areas are discovered to be malfunctioning?

"In Punxsutawney at the high school, we began with $50,000 to retro-commission the system, which ended up costing $300,000, and it still has problems," Conrad said.

The committee voted to defer the project for further study.

Also, at Wednesday's meeting the committee:
• Approved an agreements of affiliation between Jeff Tech Practical Nursing and the Cove, Jeff Tech school nurse, Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging, Brookside, DuBois Area School District, Interim Home Health and VNA for July 1 through June 30, 2013.

• Approved an agreement of affiliation between Jeff Tech Practical Nursing and DuBois Regional Medical Center, Punxsutawney Area Hospital, Laurelbrooke Landing, Mulberry Square, Christ the King Manor and DuBois Nursing Home for July 1 to June 30, 2013.

• Approved a motion to hire Angela Dragich as a mathematics instructor effective Aug. 23 with full benefits under the association contract to begin Sept. 1.

• Approved a motion for five extra days at $150 per day for a total of $750 for the new mathematics instructor to work on the curriculum.

• Approved a motion that a co-op student be hired to work in the cafeteria during the 2012-13 school year at the rate of $7.25 per hour with salary-related fringe benefits, effective when practical.

• Approved a motion to add the following names to the list of substitutes: Jennifer Harford, Reynoldsville; Pamela Kerr, Sykesville; and Jessica Stubbs, Brockway.

• Approved a motion to accept the second reading of policy No. 249 on bullying and cyber-bullying. School code mandates that the board review the policy every three years.

• Approved a motion to accept the first reading of policy No. 331 regarding job-related expenses.

• Approved a motion for Jeff Tech to continue to participate in the BCTE Technical Assistance Program for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved a motion to permit Jeff Tech to donate the wood-miser sawmill and trailer to Somerset Career and technical Center, Somerset, Pa.

• Approved a motion that the Literacy Club account in the activity fund be closed for inactivity with the balance of $879.86 be transferred to CTSO.

• Approved a motion to accept an additional grant from Margaret A. Wilderoter in the amount of $5,300 to be paid to Jeff Tech graduate Stacy Ishman, who was awarded the original grant. Jeff Tech accepted the money from Ms. Wilderoter and will pay the funds to Ishman.

• Approved a motion to permit John Kimmel to enroll and receive reimbursement in the contracted amount for the successful completion of several Gannon University courses.

• Approved a motion to pay an invoice from Felix Brothers Construction for $24,000 to be paid from the Capital Projects account pending work performed and final inspection by the manufacturer's representative.

• Approved a motion to authorize the business manager to pay the August bills as necessary, subject to ratification by the committee at the September meeting.