Wilkinsburg Schools Receive Good Report Card

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Good report card: The Wilkinsburg School District achieved benchmarks in reading, math, attendance, and graduation from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, Pictured, clockwise from top left: District superintendent Archie Perrin; school board members Carole Lee, LaTonya Washington (president); Jerome Garrett Sr., Nanet Hamlin-Black (Vice-President); Donora Craighead, Barbara Thompson, Seated from left: Raymond Griffith, Karen Payne, and Jean Dexheimer.

For three consecutive years, the Wilkinsburg School District has met state testing standards, moving one step closer to realizing its goal to be the #1 urban school district across Pennsylvania. Preliminary results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams for the 2007 – 2008 school year indicate the district met overall reading, math, attendance, and graduation benchmarks.
“We work extremely hard as a system, together with our board of directors, faculty, parents and students to excel,” said Superintendent Archie Perrin. “Our district’s accomplishments are evidence that our strategies, our curriculum and our belief in our students are taking us to new, positive heights,” he added.
The PSSA measures student attainment of state standards in math and reading. Students’ proficiency results are reported as advanced, proficient, basic, or below basic. Then, the percentage of students achieving at the advanced and proficient levels are calculated to determine overall group proficiency rates. This year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s standard for proficiency in math is 56 percent proficient in a school or district. To meet the department’s standard for reading, 63 percent of students in a school or district must be proficient or better.
Schools and districts that do not achieve at these levels may also meet state standards by showing significant growth over the prior year. The Wilkinsburg School District met state expectations through academic growth. In grades 6-8, all students as a group reduced their below-proficient proportions in math by 6.5 percent and also showed significant growth in reading. All students as a group in grades 3-5 met the state standard for math but did not do so for reading. Performance in math and reading in grade 11 did not meet the state standards for those subjects, but students continued to show improvement. This year’s proficiency rate in math was 22.6 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2005. This year’s reading proficiency rate was 25 percent, 19 percent higher than in 2005.


“Our students face many educational barriers; economic and environment; which is why we have to strategically make decisions that engage not only the student, but their parents and more importantly our community as a whole,” said Wilkinsburg District School Board President, LaTonya Washington. “We will continue to creatively engage our students and drive education as their means for success. Meeting the state measures demonstrates the effectiveness of our actions,” added Washington.
According to Perrin, the district is focusing on several strategies to motivate students and to continue improvement gains. Some of the initiatives and programs:

New Pre-K Counts
This endeavor partially supports expenses associated with expanding half-day pre-Kindergarten programming at Turner and Kelly Schools to full-day, and all expenses associated with instituting a full-day pre-K program at Johnston School.


Classrooms for the Future

Gov. Ed Rendell launched this program from the Wilkinsburg School District in 2006. The initiative made laptop computers, electronic white boards and other technologies available to the District.
Project 720 Ensures every student graduates ready for college. Project 720 redesigns school district policies to strengthen the academic infrastructure, increase student achievement, and implement data-informed student advisory services.

Science: It’s Elementary

This initiative upgrades elementary school science teaching. As a participating school, Turner Elementary receives intensive professional development for teachers, high quality instructional materials and other supports designed to promote effective and engaging inquiry-based science classrooms.

Educational Assistance Funding Program

This supports tutoring in school districts with the most severe academic challenges.
Behavioral Health Wilkinsburg Academy is revamping its school-based behavioral program for alternative education.

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