Moon Area district works to bolster scores at Hyde Elementary

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For 50 school days, teachers and administrators in the Moon Area School District will spend a maximum of $43,000 implementing educational initiatives to bolster scores at R. Hyde Elementary School on the upcoming Pennsylvania System of School Assessment.

Benchmarking data used to compare student progress from the time of the 2012-13 PSSA testing until last month shows a drop of 3 percent in math and 6 percent in reading by current fourth-graders.

Those predicted scores caused some alarm among directors, who on Monday held a special meeting and voted unanimously to allow superintendent Curt Baker to implement an instructional intervention plan.

Starting today, third- and fourth-grade teachers and administrators will meet in half-day work sessions targeting instructional tactics to help with the March exams.

He said the plan is not a change in district policy, but an intervention due to “data that caused us some concern.” Averaged scores of the third and fourth grades' most recent PSSA show Hyde ranking lowest in both math and reading among the district’s five elementary schools.

Hyde received a score of 72.7 on Pennsylvania’s new School Performance Profile scoring system compared with Allard, 96.1; Bon Meade, 89.4; Brooks, 90.2; and McCormick, 93.5. The scores were released in October.

Board member Gia Tatone called the “pioneering effort” one that could ripple out to the other schools if successful.

Board member Laura Schisler said if the intervention does not work, the district will try something else.

“We need to address this sooner rather than later,” she said.

Hyde also has the district’s highest economically disadvantaged population at 46.86 percent, according to Department of Education data.

Other issues at Hyde are long-term substitute teachers are in 75 percent of third- and fourth-grade classrooms; the principal is on medical leave; the interim principal is on first assignment; and discipline and attendance are issues.

Sonja Reis, freelance writer:

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