By Taylor Goldberg –
There are lots of changes to notice around school this year, new teachers, a new librarian and a WHOLE NEW SCHEDULE!
For the first time in many years, Penn Manor High School is dropping its full blocks of classes and dividing each class up into instruction and enrichment or now, remediation.
“The more time we have the practice the prep the better prepared we will be – the more practice you get, the better you become if you practice the right way.” said Penn Manor principal, Phil Gale, “It’s an indicator of where students’ skills are.”
The purpose is to raise the PSSA test scores, according to administrators. The high school and Martic Elementary school did not make adequate yearly progress, according to the state, and the high school has been put on Corrective Action II designation.
“Remediation is a waste of valuable class time. I know people that did well on the benchmark tests and are still in remediation,” said junior, Hannah Breidenbaugh. “This is also keeping students from getting tutoring and participating in school clubs.”
Kids in remediation are not allowed to participate in school clubs.
“We need to soar with the strengths we have and tend to our needs.” said Penn Manor assistant principal Dr. D’Amico.
Students who are not designated to go to remediation must still get enrichment every day in a revolving block schedule.
“The new schedule is not making me feel more prepared for the PSSA test,” said Penn Manor junior, Maddie Rohrer. “Enrichments don’t relate to the test, the lessons are so random.”
Manheim Township and Conestoga Valley reportedly both made changes to their school schedule in order to bring test scores up in reading and math. The changes in both districts paid off, boosting test scores. However, schools including Pequea Valley, Solanco, Penn Manor and Warwick all failed to make AYP (Annual Yearly Progress).
“They may not agree with the test, they may not like the format but it’s what the state has mandated that all students across Pennsylvania be proficient in,” confirmed D’Amico.
In order to make AYP, at least 67 percent of students had to score “proficient” or “advanced” in math and at least 72 percent in reading PSSAs. Cutoff scores increase several percentage points each year. In 2011 the state increased cutoff scores by 9 percent in reading and 11 percent in math.
“I give the kids credit for coming in and working hard, they may not like it but it’s like a hard practice,” stated Gale. “They’re working hard and that’s all we can ask for, that they continue to give us that effort.”
Penn Manor seniors aren’t too thrilled about having to participate in these enrichment periods.
“Focus on younger kids, like kids at the middle schools,” said Penn Manor senior, Jade Hess. “Enrichment sucks, I vote seniors shouldn’t have to do it. I miss homeroom!”