Washington School District
|Washington School District|
|331 Allison Avenue
Washington, Pennsylvania, Washington County, 15301
|School board||9 elected members|
|Superintendent||Dr. Roberta P. DiLorenzo|
|Other||Enrollment declining to under 1300 by 2019|
The Washington School District is a small, urban, public school district in Washington County, Pennsylvania. It serves the city of Washington, Pennsylvania and the borough of East Washington, Pennsylvania. The district encompasses approximately 9 square miles. According to 2000 local census data, it serves a resident population of 15,268. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $16,837, while the median family income was $37,613. According to Washington School District officials, in the school year 2005–06, the District provided basic educational services to 1,825 pupils. Washington School District employed 161 teachers, 80 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators.
The district runs 4 schools: a primary school (K-3), an intermediary school (4–6), a middle school (7–8), and Washington High School (9–12).
- 1 Academic achievement
- 2 Special education
- 3 Bullying policy
- 4 Budget
- 5 Extracurriculars
- 6 References
Washington School District was ranked 435th out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and three years of science.
In a November 2010 report, by the The 21st century Partnership for STEM Education, Washington High School was cited as the most improved district in Pennsylvania on the 11th Grade Math PSSA from 2004 to 2010. The study found the 11th grade math average increased almost 59 percentage points on the test.
In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Washington School District, was in the 5th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)
In 2011, the graduation rate was 78%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Washington School District's graduation rate was calculated to be 47% for 2010, when just 87 students in a cohort of 183 students graduated on time.
- According to traditional graduation rate calculations
In 2011, the high school declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in School Improvement II AYP status.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 63% on grade level, (17% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 66% (17% below basic). State - 66%
- 2009 – 66% (21% below basic), State – 65%
- 2008 – 59% (25% below basic), State – 65%
- 2007 – 69% (14% below basic), State – 65%
- 11th Grade Math
- 2011 - 61%, on grade level (23% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 79% (17% below basic). State – 59%
- 2009 – 54% (29% below basic). State – 56%
- 2008 – 47% (39% below basic). State – 56%
- 2007 – 52% (28% below basic). State – 53%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2011 - 37% on grade level (21% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 – 39% (24% below basic). State – 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 – 33% (26% below basic). State – 40%
- 2008 – 18% (27% below basic). State – 39%
- College remediation
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 33% of Washington High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
The high school offers the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.
In 2010 the district received $4,379 in a state grant to be used assist students with tuition, fees and books.
The Challenge Program, Inc. offers $250.00 cash incentives to Washington High School juniors, and seniors who excel in the categories of: Academic Improvement, Attendance, Community Service and Academic Excellence. The program partners with businesses to motivate students both in and out of the classroom by encouraging good habits in students that will last throughout their education and into their future careers. For the 2010–2011 school year, the top 10% of students in each of the categories will be eligible to win $250.00.
The Washington School District School Board has determined that students must earn 23 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Career Education 0.5 credits, Health 1 credit, Physical Education 1 credit, Safety Education 0.5 credits and Electives 5 credits.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Washington High School, students are required to perform a cluster of activities which include: a written presentation, a summary of career interest inventories, a resume and an oral presentation.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
Washington Park Middle School
In 2011, the school declined to Warning Status due to lagging student achievement. In 2010 the school achieved AYP status.
- 8th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 69% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2010 – 72%, (18% below basic). State – 81%.
- 2009 – 58% (24% below basic). State – 80%
- 2008 – 56% (29% below basic). State – 78%
- 2007 – 54% (18% below basic). State – 75%
- 8th Grade Math
- 2011 - 57% on grade level. (23% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
- 2010 – 58% (24% below basic) State – 75%
- 2009 – 48% (24% below basic), State – 71%
- 2008 – 52% (24% below basic), State – 70%
- 2007 – 69% (18% below basic), State – 67%
- 8th Grade Science
- 2011 - 37% on grade level (41% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 – 28%, State – 57%.
- 2009 – 31%, State – 54%
- 2008 – 27%, State – 52%
- 7th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 69% on grade level (10% below basic). State – 76%
- 2010 – 59% (12% below basic) State – 73%
- 2009 – 52% (24% below basic), State – 71.7%
- 2008 – 51% (33% below basic), State – 70%
- 2007 – 52% (23% below basic), State – 66%
- 7th Grade Math
- 2011 - 69% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 78.6%
- 2010 – 78% on grade level. (33% below basic) State – 77%
- 2009 – 67% (33% below basic), State – 75%
- 2008 – 63% (22% below basic), State – 72%
- 2007 – 65% (18% below basic), State – 67%
In 2011 and 2010 the attendance rate was reported as 93%.
In 2011, the school achieved AYP status. In 2010, the school was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action II AYP level.
- 6th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 60% on grade level (18% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 60% (23% below basic) State – 68%
- 2009 – 55% (23% below basic), State – 67%
- 2008 – 48% (32% below basic), State – 67%
- 2007 – 54% (23% below basic), State – 63%
- 6th Grade Math
- 2011 - 71% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 78.8%
- 2010 – 72% (12% below basic). State – 78%
- 2009 – 67% (13% below basic). State – 75.9%
- 2008 – 66% (23% below basic). State – 72%
- 2007 – 63% (21% below basic). State – 69%
- 5th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 55% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 49% (30% below basic). State – 64%
- 2009 – 56% (24% below basic). State – 64%
- 2008 – 46% (24% below basic). State – 62%
- 2007 – 51% (32% below basic). State – 60%
- 5th Grade Math
- 2011 - 60% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 74%
- 2010 – 52% (16% below basic), State – 74%
- 2009 – 58% (15% below basic), State – 73%
- 2008 – 67% (7% below basic), State – 73%
- 2007 – 78% (10% below basic), State – 71%
- 4th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 74% (15% below basic), State – 73.3%
- 2010 – 63% (10% below basic), State – 73%
- 2009 – 55% (24% below basic), State – 72%
- 2008 – 58% (18% below basic), State – 70%
- 2007 – 70% (12% below basic), State – 60%
- 4th Grade Math
- 2011 - 87% (6% below basic), State – 85.3%
- 2010 – 83% (8% below basic), State – 84%
- 2009 – 70% (17% below basic), State – 81%
- 2008 – 72% (18% below basic), State – 80%
- 2007 – 82% (8% below basic), State – 78%
- 4th Grade Science
- 2011 - 82% (6% below basic), State – 82.9%
- 2010 – 81% (6% below basic), State – 81%
- 2009 – 78% (4% below basic), State – 83%
- 2008 – 79%, State – 81%
- 3rd Grade Reading
- 2011 - 75% (15% below basic), State – 77.2%
- 2010 – 75% (15% below basic). State – 75%
- 2009 – 66% (17% below basic). State – 77%
- 2008 – 61% (21% below basic). State – 70%
- 2007 – 51% (32% below basic). State – 72%
- 3rd Grade Math
- 2011 - 89% (1% below basic), State – 83.5%
- 2010 – 82% (1% below basic). State – 84%
- 2009 – 80% (3% below basic). State – 81%
- 2008 – 68% (15% below basic). State – 80%
- 2007 – 78% (10% below basic). State – 78%
In 2011, the district administration reported that 296 pupils or 18.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. In December 2009, the district reported that 316 pupils or 19% of its pupils received Special Education services.
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.
Washington School District received a $1,367,349 supplement for special education services in 2010. For 2011-12 the district received level funding from the state.
The District Administration reported that 50 or 3.15% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.
The Washington School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In 2009, the district reports employing over 160 teachers with a starting salary of $34,425 for 186 days work with 180 for pupil instruction. The average teacher salary was $54,090 while the maximum salary is $112,738. As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation. Additionally, Washington School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, a retirement bonus of 50% of their salary, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 1 emergency day, 1–5 paid bereavement days and 10 sick days, life insurance and other benefits. Children of Washington School district employees may attend the district tuition free when they live outside of the school district. The union gets 10 paid days for performing union business. Teacher are paid extra if they cover a class during their paid prep time. According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.
In 2007, the district employed 146 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $52,256 for 180 school days worked.
Washington School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $816.24 per pupil. The district is ranked 177th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2008, Washington School District reported spending $13,531 per pupil. This ranked 134th in the commonwealth.
In 2009, the district reported zero in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $615,156.
In July 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.
State education funding
In 2011-12, the district received $8,229,570 in state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the Washington School District will receive $161,236, in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania State Education Budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District which received an over 49% increase. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,018 district students received a free or reduced-price lunch based on the federal poverty level.
For 2010–11, the Washington School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $8,721,540 payment. Charleroi School District received 9.90% which was the highest increase in BEF in Washington County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010–11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010–11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.96% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $8,550,530. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008–09 was $8,229,569. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more. Burgettstown Area School District received a 6.45% increase, the highest increase in Washington County, for the 2009–10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004–2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010–11, the Washington School District applied for and received $437,635 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.
Classrooms for the Future grant
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006–2009. Washington School District did not apply for funding in 2006–07. In 2007–08 the district received $214,215. For the 2008–09, school year the district received $45,413 for a total of $259,628. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $1,412,667 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding is for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district up to one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Washington School Board did not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The school board set property tax rates in 2011–2012 at 127.0000 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Pennsylvania school district local revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75–85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
- 2010 - 127.0000 mills.
- 2009 – 127.0000 mills.
- 2008 – 125.0000 mills.
- 2007 - 125.0000 mills.
Act 1 Adjusted index
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011–2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Washington School District 2006–2007 through 2010–2011.
- 2006–07 – 5.7%, Base 3.9%
- 2007–08 – 4.9%, Base 3.4%
- 2008–09 – 6.3%, Base 4.4%
- 2009–10 – 5.9%, Base 4.1%
- 2010–11 – 4.2%, Base 2.9%
- 2011–12 – 2.0%, Base 1.4%
Washington School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009–10 or in 2010–11. In the Spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief
In 2011, property tax relief for Washington School District residents was set at $419. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Washington School District was $407 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,755 property owners applied for the tax relief. This was the highest property tax relief allotted in Washington County for 2009. The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The Pennsylvania Auditor General found that 73% of property owners applied for tax relief in Washington County. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
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- Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support
- U.S. Department of Education (March 29, 2010). "Race to the Top Fund,".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Common Cents program – Making Every Dollar Count". Retrieved February 1, 2011.
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- Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010–11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006–2007 through 2011–2012".
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- Scarcella, Frank and Pursell, Tricia (May 25, 2010). "Local school tax assessments exceed state averages". The Daily Item.
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- Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005