Remaining Notes from Feb. 1 B-W School Board Meeting

Three schools honored for back-to-back AYP, Korchnak speaks about teacher evaluations, and other items.

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Consecutive Adequate Yearly Progress

The Baldwin-Whitehall School Board recognized Principals Michael R. Wetmiller of , Darlene DeFilippo of  and Daniel Emanuelson of  on Wednesday night for their schools' back-to-back achievement—2009-10 and 2010-11—of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website, AYP measures Baldwin-Whitehall schools' results by three indicators: graduation rate, academic performance and test participation. The PDE uses the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test to determine performance.

The two Baldwin-Whitehall School District schools that did not meet AYP in back-to-back years were and . However, both of those schools .

Teacher Evaluations

Superintendent Dr. Lawrence C. Korchnak explained on Wednesday night that he is anticipating changes from the PDE in regard to how teachers are to be evaluated, but he also said that Baldwin-Whitehall can instill its own preferences in that process.

Korchnak said that he looks forward to working with the Baldwin-Whitehall Education Association (teachers union) in collaborating the state's recommendations with those from current teachers and administrators.

Korchnak called the state's current regulations and procedures for evaluating teachers a "one size fits all" approach that results in either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" ratings based on informal and formal observations by supervisors and, ultimately, himself.

"That's it," he said, "nothing in between."

He said that he anticipates that the state will judge teachers more by student achievement in the near future but that "we (district officials) can define how we're going to be evaluated," suggesting that the process be tweaked based on whether or not a new or experienced teacher is being evaluated.

"Some (teachers) don't need as much observation and supervision as others," Korchnak said. "Some need more. So, the whole idea is to allow the supervisor (doing the evaluation) to put the focus where it's needed in the classroom to improve instruction.

"We can develop a collaborative model—a differentiated supervision model—or be told how to do it by the Department of Education. I think we need to take control of our own destinies (and form a committee)."

Board member Kevin J. Fischer, although encouraging the collaborative approach recommended by Korchnak, cautioned the superintendent on inviting teachers into the evaluation committee.

"You have to be somewhat careful when you put those that you're evaluating on the committee to make the evaluations," Fischer said.

Recycling Complaint

Board member Larry Pantuso said on Wednesday night that he feels that there is an inadequate amount of recyclable trash containers in the school district, especially near vending machines and at Baldwin High Stadium. Pantuso wants that addressed.

Whitehall Elementary Baseball Field

Pantuso also wants district administrators to investigate ways to improve the Whitehall Elementary baseball field. He said that the field is in bad shape and lacks shade, among other issues.

Thoughts on any of the above items? Share them in the comments section below.


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