Students hit performance target on PSSAs

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Students in the Punxsutawney Area School District once again made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on the PSSAs during the 2010-11 school year, the school board learned Monday.

Monday, Richard Galluzzi, the district’s director of federal programs and curriculum, said students hit proper targets in attendance, graduation and test participation.

In grades three through five, six through eight and nine through 12, students hit all targets, either four-for-four or three-for-three in reading and mathematics.

“We hit every target across the board,” Galluzzi said.

This year, the targets were at least 72 percent to be classified as proficient or better, up from 63 percent.

Next year, the targets will change, with at least 81 percent in reading to be classified as proficient or better, and 78 percent in math to be classified as proficient or better.

The proficiency level will increase to 100 percent in 2014, Galluzzi said.

Also Monday, under new business on the board’s agenda, board member Jack White said he would like to look at the policy as it pertains to a cyber-school student taking part in band, which has been a topic for the board as it pertains to cyber-student Karah Hollis.

Both Hollis and her mother, Cheryl, have addressed the board during the public comments portion of its agenda, claiming the district has discriminated against her because it would not permit her to choose her avenue of education — in this case, cyber- school — and also participate in certain activities within the public school system, such as marching and concert band.

Hollis, who would have been a junior at PAHS this year, decided that she wanted to attend a cyber-school instead of continuing her education at PAHS because she felt, as she wrote in a letter to the board, that other students ridiculed and mocked her for trying hard in her classes. She also wrote that she wanted more challenging subjects than are offered through the district’s cyber- school and E-Academy.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe has argued that Hollis, who technically is no longer enrolled in the district, is not permitted to participate in classes that are curricular, or graded. The Hollises, however, claim that band is an extra-curricular activity.

During Monday’s meeting, after White said he wants the board to examine the policy, board Vice-President Francis Molinaro agreed with White’s suggestion.

White said perhaps following a review of the policy, Hollis would agree to enroll in the district’s cyber-school. Wolfe said she has already declined that offer.

Board President Gary Conrad said he would be “very cautious” in discussing a policy change prior to all board members having a copy available for review. Board Secretary Susan Robertson also noted that the board would need two readings before changing a policy.

Conrad said he would place the policy review on the board’s agenda for its next committee meeting.

Hollis again addressed the board Monday, asking why the district would “hurt” cyber-students such as her by not permitting them to take part in band, as well as why she cannot sign into the school and take part in band, as per the district’s visitors policy.

Also Monday:
• The board approved hiring Bonnie Spencer as a lunch monitor at Jenks Hill Elementary School, but Molinaro noted that six other positions — two special education instructional assistant positions, a Bell lunch monitor, a van monitor and posts in the cafeteria and staff — had no applicants.

“We had no applicants for these positions,” he said, adding, “The jobs are here. But you have to start somewhere.”