Back-to-school plans for the upcoming school year, and results from Keystone tests from the previous school year, were a couple of the topics of interest presented at Monday’s Bradford Area School District’s board meeting.

Superintendent Katharine Pude said the annual Back to School Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 24 at Parkway Field behind Bradford Area High School and is open to all area children. The event will provide a number of services and supplies to children.

“We’re hoping to see more kids there than we ever have in the past,” Pude said.

She also noted that the first day of school, slated for Aug. 27, will have all students arrive at their respective schools at their regular time, much like a normal school day.

“We’re not going to have the sixth grade coming early and the ninth grade coming early” as the students received guidance and help at their new schools during summer transition camps, Pude said.

In related news, Pude provided updates on safety issues in the school district that included busing, the Visitor Management System and the Remind Communication System.

“In order to enhance school security, the district will begin utilizing the Raptor Visitor Management System,” Pude explained. She said every visitor who plans to enter a classroom in the district will be required to present a valid government-issued photo ID. The ID will be scanned through the program, comparing it to a national sex offender database, and will then print a visitor badge which includes a photo, the name of the visitor and the time and date.

“Raptor will also help us to keep a current log of all visitors in each building and will allow us easy access to custody agreements, and will enable us to easily identify visitors that could pose a danger to students or staff.”

Pude said the Remind Communications System will allow administrators, teachers, coaches and visitors to send quick messages via text, email, and/or phone calls to students and parents without revealing personal contact information.

As for new bus stop rules, the superintendent said bus routes and stops, which are assigned to students according to residence and permits a maximum of two stop locations, will need three-days prior written notice to the bus garage if there is a needed change. Pude said the district will strictly adhere to this rule as a safety measure for students.

In curriculum matters, Kelly Compton, director of curriculum and instruction, gave a presentation on the Keystone tests administered in the spring of 2019.

She said of the 162 first-time test takers who took the algebra tests, 59 percent passed, with 28 percent of those achieving advanced scores. In addition, 10 percent of those tested were above the state average. Of the students retested, however, 90 percent did not pass the test again.

For students who took the biology test, 55 percent proved to be college or career ready; however, of the 61 students who retested, only 10 passed the exam.

As for the literature tests, of the 168 tested, 67 percent achieved proficient scores, with nine percent earning advanced scores. Of the retesters, only 14 percent passed the exam.

Compton said the school district addressed the issue last year by providing algebra I to two sections of eighth-grade students at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School to help prepare them for high school.

She said literature curriculum will also be addressed at the middle school level in the upcoming school year.

In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of Karie Hirschey, part-time bus driver; Darlene Buccolini, latchkey/general aide; and approved the hiring of Michele Corignani and Krista Whitlow, bus aides at the transportation office; and Andrea Strotman, school nurse at the middle school, at a salary of $44,228.

Pude also introduced the new student council president and school board representative, Liz Miller, who said the council is currently working on homecoming plans for the fall. In addition, she said the student council members volunteered at a booth during this past weekend’s Festa Italiana in downtown Bradford.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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