Thursday, June 28, 2012
Public schools supporter says educators need to do a better job of making their case to an aging taxpaying public.
It was early in Jamie Vollmer’s transformation from education critic to public schools advocate that a superintendent invited him to spend a day in her district. She had Vollmer, then a business executive, do bus duty and work as an aide to a third-grade teacher in the morning. After a 20-minute lunch break, the superintendent took off the kid gloves. “She put me in an eighth-grade classroom on a warm afternoon,” Vollmer recalls. “I’ve since referred to that as the nuclear option.” Trying to engage, control and teach a class of adolescents gave him a new respect for what teachers face every day. “Many of these kids are victims of a culture that has assaulted their physiology [from medications they take], fractured their attention span and…
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Allentown School District may combine social studies with English to make more time for math. Is that a good idea?
On a recent 13-minute drive home from baseball practice, my 15-year-old explained to me how World War I started. Mind you, I knew the bit about Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand being assassinated by a Bosnian Serb but I couldn’t have told you why other countries started joining in like it was a brawl at an NHL game. For most of us, information has a use-it-or-lose-it quality. If we’re not called on in daily life to remember who was president during the Spanish-American War, it might slip our minds. What stays are concepts. How America’s founders enshrined freedom of speech, religion and the press in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. That America came to England’s aid to …
Monday, April 16, 2012
Nazareth Area School District's PSSA performance ranks 114 out of 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Nazareth Area School District ranks second -- among the eight school districts in Northampton County -- in performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) Exam. This according to the Pittsburgh Business Times, which published its 2012 Guide of Western Pennsylvania Schools last week. The guide lists the school district rankings for the Pittsburgh area and the entire state of Pennsylvania. The newspaper analyzed all the school districts’ performances based on PSSA results. According to www2.bizjournals.com, the formula for the ranking takes into account three years of PSSA test scores in math, reading, writing and science. Three years of scores are considered, with the current year given the most weight. NASD has been …
Monday, March 26, 2012
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the Nazareth Area School District this week.
Monday, March 26: PSSA Math and Reading Make-Ups: All-day event Girls Lacrosse Booster Club Meeting (high school): 7 to 9 p.m. in the high school cafeteria Nazareth School Board Meeting: 7:30 p.m. in the Walter L. Peters Board Room Tuesday, March 27: PSSA Math and Reading Make-Ups: All-day event Boys Varsity Tennis vs. Emmaus High School (AWAY) -- 3:30 p.m. Co-ed Middle School Soccer vs. Nitschmann Middle School (AWAY) -- 4 p.m. Girls Varsity Lacrosse vs. Parkland High School (AWAY) -- 4 p.m. Girls Junior Varsity Lacrosse vs. Parkland High School (AWAY) -- 5:30 p.m. For the full sports schedule, visit "Blue Eagle Sports Schedule: March 26-31" on Nazareth Patch. Wednesday, March 28: PSSA Math and Reading Make-Ups: All-day event Gifted …
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Twenty Nazareth Area High School seniors aced all four standardized state tests last year.
- Eric Mark
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Nazareth School Board on Monday recognized 20 Nazareth Area High School seniors who scored Advanced -- the highest level possible -- on all four Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests last year. The following students achieved Advanced-level scores as juniors on PSSA tests in math, reading, writing and science: Several of the ace scholars attended Monday's school board meeting, where board members and Alan Davis, principal of Nazareth Area High School, praised their efforts. Davis gave an enthusiastic report of recent successes the district and high school have achieved in the area of student scores on standardized tests. He noted that the honored students are well-rounded young citizens and not just bookworms prepping …
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Pennsylvania is seeking to revamp its teacher evaluation system. Should an educator’s job be tied to student test scores?
I sometimes think that good teaching is a bit like Potter Stewart’s description of hard-core pornography. The late Supreme Court justice said he wasn’t sure he could define it but he knew it when he saw it. Most of us could probably describe a great teacher we had with adjectives that are hard to quantify: creative, motivating, innovative, passionate, tough but fair, funny, dedicated and interesting. But how do you gauge those qualities in an evaluation system for teachers? Pennsylvania is moving toward replacing its antiquated system that deems teachers either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Under the state’s proposal, teachers would be rated distinguished, proficient, needs improvement or failing. State House Bill 1980, introduced by …
Thursday, October 6, 2011
More Valley schools miss the mark under No Child Left Behind.
To say I was a weak math student is a little like saying Hitler was a bad guy. Math teachers worked with me after class, my parents tutored me and I’d think I understood how to use the Point-Slope Formula to calculate something or other. Then I’d take a test and find out otherwise. I never flunked a class but that was only because back in the 70s my math teachers must have assured themselves I was never going to design bridges – at least none they would drive on – and they held their noses to pass me. Had I needed to earn a proficient rating in math to graduate, I’d currently be the oldest living high school senior. Yet, remarkably all my life I’ve found work that I could do without higher level math. This isn’t to brag about my ignorance…
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
All Nazareth schools in the district achieved Adequate Yearly Progress goals as outlined by the No Child Left Behind Act.
All Nazareth Area schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, goals for the 2010-11 school year, the district administration announced Monday. The AYP goals are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. To achieve AYP, all students, as well as every subgroup of 40 or more students, must score at the Advanced or Proficient levels on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test, better known as PSSA. The targets for 2011 are 67 percent in mathematics and 72 percent in reading. Nazareth met or exceeded those targets at every grade level that took the PSSA, in every school in which students were tested and within every subgroup, said Assistant Superintendent Michael Roth. Roth's announcement drew smiles and praise from school …