All but three York County high schools scored a satisfactory rating on the school performance profiles that were updated by the state Department of Education Wednesday.

York Suburban High School received the highest score among secondary schools in the county, with a building score of 97.4 on a scale from 0 to 100. Out of the county's middle, intermediate and high schools combined, 22 out of 35 York County schools received an 80 or higher, well above the state's "satisfactory" score of 70.

William Penn Senior High School in the York City district scored the lowest, with a building score of 42.7. Hanover High School and Kennard-Dale High School in the South Eastern district followed with scores of 65.3 and 68.5, respectively.

The scores of more than 620 schools across the state had been suppressed when the initial report was released in early October. Many districts withheld scores from their middle and high schools because of reporting inaccuracies.

Now, the department says the data are complete, and visitors to the new website where the scores are listed can compare districts across each county, and the entire state.

The success in York Suburban's high school is a reflection of the hard work throughout the district, said acting superintendent Shelly Merkle.

Merkle said the success of good kindergarten teaching -- and continued rigor through all grade levels -- comes to fruition with the high school students' performance.

Merkle said by her research, York Suburban has one of the top 10 scores for high schools in the state.

Merkle said the district's scores are a great source of pride this year, but she also acknowledged it will be a "daunting" task to continue to show improvement from year to year.

"We see it as a challenge, and one we're looking forward to meeting," Merkle said.

Keys to success: Susquehannock High School in the Southern York County district scored a 93. The key to that score, and to continuous improvement across the district, is an emphasis on assessing individual student needs, said assistant superintendent Sandra Lemmon.

Lemmon said teachers work daily to identify and assist students who are having difficulty grasping main concepts, which Lemmon referred to as "anchor standards." All students are continuously given new opportunities for complex problem-solving and being able to demonstrate comprehension with a variety of texts, two key pieces to demonstrating proficiency with the new academic standards, Lemmon said.

Lemmon and several other school officials mentioned an enhanced focus on improving student proficiency in science, particularly to prepare for the biology Keystone Exams.

Northeastern Superintendent Shawn Minnich said improving proficiency on the biology tests will help the district to improve its overall building scores.

Minnich said he is impressed with the baseline the district is at for each of the schools and is confident each school can show improvement in the years to come. The high school scored a 70.7, and the intermediate and middle schools were in the mid-80s.

Minnich said the high school did well in several categories that go into the building score: For example, it received a perfect score for its Advanced Placement offerings. Minnich said the district has focused on increasing the number of AP courses offered, the number of students enrolled and the number of those students who score a 3 or higher on the final AP exams.

But Minnich said the district is working to bring up students' biology exam scores as it incorporates the vast amount of information that is included on the test.

Praise for clear guidelines: The Dallastown Area School District has a good baseline and now has clear guidelines about what is expected from the state, said Assistant Superintendent Joshua Doll. The high school scored 89.5, and the middle school scored 94.

Doll said while he is "very pleased" with the scores for the first year, he also reiterated the scores still boil down to numbers that don't account for all the factors of well-rounded students.

"This just gives us a number in time," Doll said.

The scores are calculated from several factors, including student proficiency on state tests such as the PSSAs and Keystone Exams, measured student growth over a number of years and factors such as graduation and attendance rates, among others. Doll said he does see this new system as an improvement from past years, which just reported proficiency and improvement measures from PSSA scores.

But the new scores shouldn't be treated like a report card letter grade: Minnich said training about the profiles from the education department were clear on that. A building that scores between 90 and 100 isn't named an "A" school by the state, he said.

To see the scores of certain school buildings, or to compare them, visit

-- Reach Nikelle Snader at