GJSD reviews state tests

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District’s curriculum director talked about state testing in a presentation to the Board of Education Thursday at Johnstown High School.

Director of Curriculum, Testing and Personnel Patricia Kilburn briefly reviewed some of the district’s school “report card” for the 2011-12 school year. She also discussed Common Core standards that require schools to raise standards and expectations in the classroom.

The state Education Department releases school report cards on every school and district in the state in the spring. That information includes annual results on Regents examinations, Regents competency tests and English language arts, math and science state test results.

Kilburn said every school district is given an Annual Measurable Objective, or AMO, by the state for testing. She said the district’s AMO was 146 for the 2011-12 school year – a “dramatic increase” from 118 the previous school year.

She said data from testing now affects school districts’ funding from the federal and state governments, teacher and principal performances, and other issues between the state and local districts. But she said “things are still changing” and the district eventually may be going to a new assessment system.

Kilburn said there are “multiple pathways” to success for the district as it further focuses on implementing Common Core standards districtwide in areas such as math, ELA and literacy in technical subjects.

“We have to look at instruction,” she said.

District Superintendent Robert DeLilli noted many of the districts in the region are applying for grants designed to move students toward “higher-level academics.” He said the eventual goal is to encourage high school students to work at an associate degree level.

DeLilli talked about the district’s new new technology program, the Learning Project, which starts in September at the former Jansen Avenue Elementary School building. The curriculum will involve “problem-based” learning for Johnstown High School students. It will involve busing JHS students for a half-day to the Jansen building. Instructional sessions would replace traditional 40-minute periods.

The superintendent said students have applied to be in the program and 15 already are set to go for the fall.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.