On the eve starting PSSA testing in math and reading, students at York Suburban Middle School kicked off a pre-testing pep rally Monday by receiving an award from the state for high academic achievement.

The middle school was one of four buildings in the district to receive the Governor's Award for Excellence in Academics from Carolyn Dumaresq, the state's acting secretary of education.

"This is a time of celebration," said middle school principal Victoria Gross, telling the students their hard work in previous years had paid off.

The schools received the award for scoring 90 percent or higher on the state's school performance profiles, which rates school buildings on a scale of 0 to 100 based on students' performance on PSSAs, Keystones, and other factors such as attendance and graduation rates.

The middle school scored 96.8 percent, just below the high school's score of 97.4. Yorkshire Elementary school scored 92.8 percent, and Valley View Elementary School received 92.7.

When it comes to schools performing well across the state, Dumaresq said, "York Suburban is the kind of school district we point to."

Gross encouraged the sixth-graders in the audience to do their best on the tests this week so they can also "take ownership" in the success of the middle school in future years.

Other schools' awards: Dumaresq also visited Loganville-Springfield Elementary in the Dallastown Area School District Monday. The elementary school received the award, as well as Leaders Heights Elementary school and Dallastown Area Middle School.

Loganville-Springfield received the highest profile score among all York County public schools, scoring 97.6 percent. Leaders Heights scored 96.5 and the middle school scored 94 percent.

The success of the three Dallastown schools reflects on the hard work of the entire district, said superintendent Ron Dyer.

"These schools are part of a district in which we're all interconnected," Dyer said, referencing the conjoined training and efforts of district staff. "Their success is the rest of the schools' success, too."

Dyer added the award validates the district's motto, "dedication to excellence."

"It's another way we can display our motto is more than words," Dyer said.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.