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State report card: York City schools improving, most other districts see drop

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

The state's latest performance scores for individual schools show a majority in the York City district improving and York Suburban maintaining its high scores from the previous school year.

The school performance profile compiles data from each school building in a district, as well as charter schools, cyber charter schools and comprehensive career and technical centers in the state.

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Attendance rates, academic performance and progress are among the many factors used to create the profiles.

York City a bright spot: Compared with scores from the 2015-16 school year, only four out of York County's 16 school districts had a majority of schools score higher in the 2016-17 academic year.

One of the four districts with a majority of school buildings improving is the York City School District.

Six of eight school buildings in York City scored higher than their 2015-16 SPP scores, according to state Department of Education data.

While nearly all high schools in York County saw declines in SPP scores, William Penn Senior High School saw an improvement of more than 9 points, to 54.5, its highest SPP score ever.

“This data tells me that the School District of the City of York has turned a corner,” York City School District Superintendent Eric Holmes said in a news release.

“Real change does not happen quickly, and we still have a long way to go. But I believe we are moving forward in the right direction,” the statement continued.

Among individual schools, Dallastown Area School District had the highest-performing school in York County. Loganville-Springfield Elementary School received a score of 93.3, though it was only one of two schools in the district to see its score improve over the prior academic year.

The lowest-scoring school in York County is the Helen Thackston Charter School, which received a score of 39. Though low, Thackston's score is an increase over last year’s score of 37.9.

Increases at York Suburban schools make it among the highest performing and stable districts in the county, while Dover saw significant performance drops in some of its buildings.

Dover dives: Dover Area School District saw precipitous drops in several of its schools in the 2016-17 school year. Particularly, Dover Area High School saw its score drop 17 points, from 77.9 to 60.3.

Dover Area Intermediate School and Leib Elementary School also saw double-digit drops since last year, according to an analysis of 2015-16 and 2016-17 data.

York Suburban School District showed the most consistent progress of York County school districts.

Five of the district's six schools scored higher, and York Suburban High School boasts a score of 91.4, topping Dallastown Area High School as the highest-performing high school in York County.

The SPP scores were introduced in 2013, and this is the final year the state will compile them under Act 82, which aimed to measure educator effectiveness through building scores.

It will be replaced by the Future Ready PA Index, which will purportedly use a more intuitive approach to assessing school-level data, including English language acquisition and career readiness indicators, among other factors.