October 16, 2009
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Significant improvements made on state tests

by Moira Dolan, staff writer

“Liberty did tremendously well on the PSSAs. [LHS] met 23 out of 25 standards set by the state of Pennsylvania”
-Maureen Leeson, Science Teache

Last April, the current senior class, then junior class, took the PSSAs. The Bethlehem Area School District met adequate yearly progress (AYP), while Liberty High School almost met AYP on the test.

Administration, teachers, and students all had similar thoughts on the reasons why LHS and the districts’ scores had improved.

“The kids took [the tests] seriously, [and] the staff embraced the kids and made sure that they had the tools they needed to succeed,” said JoAnn Durante, Principal.

Daniel Zulli, 12th grade principal, shared similar sentiments as to what changed from the previous year to improve test scores.

The PSSA Task Force, a group of leaders from the class of 2010, helped to show how important the PSSAs were to fellow classmates as well as communicating with the faculty.

“The Task Force effectively communicated the significance of the PSSA and AYP. They provided critical feedback for the administration about their concerns with the PSSA, such as their understanding of the test and the content of the test,” said Maureen Leeson, PSSA task force advisor. “They [also] discussed incentives and consequences with their peers.”

Students knew what needed to happen for Liberty to improve. According to Ned Strasbaugh, ‘10, students needed to make a few important changes in order to succeed.

“Liberty only ever needed to improve a little bit to reach AYP, and everyone who worked hard on this managed to get the point across well enough for the class to pull through on it. Something as simple as taking the test seriously was a great improvement this year, I would say that might have been the biggest difference this year,” said Ned Strasbaugh, ‘10.

“There was a strong change of attitude. The kids did most
of the work”
-Daniel Zulli, Assistant Principal

If LHS had failed to come close to accomplishing AYP, there would have been punishments from the state.

“The state looks at us differently now. [Before] Liberty was a “target school”, meaning if we hadn’t come close to AYP we would have been in trouble, “ said Zulli.

“The state would take away money for the school and district if we didn’t do well,” added Durante.

According to the standards set by the state, LHS performed well overall.

“Liberty did tremendously well on the PSSAs. [LHS] met 23 out of 25 standards set by the state of Pennsylvania,” said Leeson.

Last year, it was announced by the administration that rewards would be offered for students who succeeded on the tests. Free homecoming tickets, as well as other free items, are reward possibilities.

“There are many ideas for rewards, and we are in the process of going through and deciding on which ones to go with,” said Durante.

LHS and the BASD are pleased with the progress made by last year’s scores.

“We can be very proud of our incredible academic improvements,” said Leeson.

Even though progress was made, it is the job of the current junior class to continue to improve in order for LHS to meet AYP.

“It’s the same game, just a different year,” said Durante.

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