Pennsylvania’s Department of Education released its School Performance Profile (SPP) scores for the last time on Friday, with the Downingtown STEM Academy in the Downingtown Area School District topping the list of all Pennsylvania schools with a score of 104. Although the SPPs are based on a 0 – 100 score, the Downingtown STEM Academy earned extra credit for the high number of students scoring advanced on the Math, Literature and Science Keystone Exams and on scoring 4 or higher on any IB Exam.
Six other Downingtown schools scored in the 90 – 100 range with DHS East scoring 94.2, Shamona Creek 92.1 Bradford Heights Elementary 91.6, Lionville Elementary 91.1, Pickering Valley 90.4, and DHS West 90.2.
Downingtown STEM Academy principal Art Campbell praised his students and staff. “Our students, teachers, and staff work extremely hard everyday. We are very pleased that the PA School Performance Profile has recognized the hard work and effort put forth by everyone.”
“Our principals and teachers are extremely focused on student achievement and growth,” said Downingtown’s Superintendent Emilie M. Lonardi. “They have done an excellent job of preparing our students for rigorous assessments. As our leader, I am very proud of our success this year. We will continue to strive for advancement across all levels.
The SPP system is a school accountability score, which replaced the previous Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement used under the No Child Left Behind federal law signed by President George W. Bush in 2002. That law required schools to steadily increase the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced with a goal of 100 percent success by 2014. As 2014 approached, President Barack Obama began to allow states to devise their own alternatives to the AYP model. Pennsylvania adopted the SPP system which looks at standardized test results and other indicators of academic achievement and growth.
In 2015, the government passed the Every Student Succeeds Act which gave states greater flexibility to measure school accountability. Under that law, Pennsylvania plans to introduce the “Future Ready PA Index” in 2018. The state’s new school rating system will have less emphasis on the PSSA and Keystone exams and include heavier weighting for schools offering advanced placement; dual enrollment classes; offering career awareness at elementary, middle, and high school levels; gauging progress among non-English speakers in learning English; and factoring in other reading and math assessments.