TASD recognized for achievements by career and technology students

The Tyrone Area School District was recently recognized by the state’s Department of Education for being among high-performing schools in the area of PSSA test results for its career and technology students.
Earlier this month, high school principal Rebecca Erb informed the school board about a letter of recognition the district received from the PDE.
“Whenever the (PDE) looks at the test results they look at it in various ways,” said Erb. “When they looked at ours they pulled out the students from our Career and Technology Center program.
“When they looked at our data, they discovered they were well above most students in the state,” said Erb.
She noted that in addition to the school being recognized, the PDE wanted to learn from high performing schools. The district was asked to participate in a short survey.
“(The survey) would identify what are our best practices that contribute to high scores for that group,” said Erb. “I met with Mr. (Fran) Bloom and Mr. (Steve) Everhart, our math and English chairs to come up with our best practices.
“I think the teachers would agree that having a complete high school with a career and technology center built in is just a tremendous opportunity,” said Erb.
“It enables us to offer the same core courses for all our students,” said Erb. We don’t recognize them as any different from any student who is college bound. The expectations are the same.
“The congratulations for this or any other award (is for) those that deserve to hear it…the teachers,” Erb told The Daily Herald. “What happens in the classroom is the most important thing that happens and they are to be commended.”
Erb noted some of the best practices that the district has implemented:
• all students receive a similar core curriculum. The courses are rigorous and relevant. There is no separate “track” for vocational students;
• the curriculum is aligned to the anchors. English and math teachers who teach the same subject are constantly in communication with the principal and one another to insure a standardized presentation of the curriculum for all students;
• diagnostic data is utilized to prepare students for high stakes assessments. The data is recorded in student portfolios that students review on a regular basis;
• students are held accountable. Habits of mind including persistence and accuracy are emphasized. All regular education students are required to demonstrate proficiency in order to receive a diploma;
• reading and writing across the curriculum is a required component for social studies and science classes;
• teachers possess a great deal of autonomy in decision-making concerning the delivery of instruction;
• the induction program for new teachers encourages consistency of the “best practices” and
• technology is utilized for data analysis as well as frequent communication between administration and staff as well as among staff.