By Katie Crawford
The Wallingford Swarthmore School Board took the opportunity at its meeting Monday night to applaud Nether Providence Elementary and Wallingford Elementary schools — both designated Title I schools — for recently receiving awards based on student performance. Jennifer Gaudioso, director of elementary education for WSSD, reviewed for the board what Title I designation means, and highlighted the interventions that she believes have most significantly contributed to student progress.
Title I, in existence since 1965, began in conjunction with President Johnson’s war on poverty. The program “provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.”
Gaudioso explained that NPE, under Principal Al Heinle and WES, led by Principal Josh Peterkin, were the only district schools to receive the Title I designation, based on a simple economic formula. (WES was designated a Title I school again after having been ineligible for several previous years.)
Gaudioso, however, noted the presence of all three principals at the board meeting, including Dr. Angela Tuck from SRS, highlighting the fact that the same programs and interventions occur at all schools, to the benefit of all students, regardless of the school’s Title I designation.
Recognition is given only to the highest 5% of Title I eligible schools, based on an aggregate score taking into account a variety of factors including attendance and PSSA reading and math scores. WES was recognized as a High Achievement Reward School, and NPE was recognized as a High Progress Reward School.
Among the results, the scores from NPE’s 4th grade were particularly stunning; the economically disadvantaged subgroup outperformed the general education students, boasting a proficiency rate of 93%. This data, along with the significant performance gains among its 5th graders, earned NPE recognition.
Opening the Door to Innovation Grant?
Having received these awards, the schools are now eligible to apply for an Innovation grant, which could result in more funds for programming. Gaudioso outlined the structured, districtwide reading interventions now in place such as universal screening, targeted subgroup intervention, and summer literacy programs, and noted that were the district to receive additional grant money, educators would consider creating a parallel math intervention program.
Items of Note
Student representative Charlotte Brake highlighted the upcoming WSSD Relay for Life taking place Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on King Field. This year’s theme is STAR CURES, and promises a special Star Wars related presentation. All members of the community are invited to join in the event with snack bar funds going to the Diane McCormick Scholarship Fund, and all team activity funds going to the American Cancer Society.
Sophomore Inez Jacobs-Hinton, coached by Pixie Roane, won a gold medal at the Division III Fencing classic in Richmond, Virginia.
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of Charles Carroll as athletic director, effective June 30, 2016. In addition, the second round of interviews for district business manager are underway, seeking to fill the open position that will be left by incoming superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer.