Extensive Measures to Ensure Student Growth
The Fox Chapel Area School District recognizes the importance of Public Source’s recent article on racial achievement gaps in schools. The racial achievement gap at Dorseyville Middle School reported in this article was not a surprise to us. These types of gaps are why the district proposed changes to the DMS schedule to allow more time in math and other core subjects. Among other things, the enhanced schedule aimed to allow learners to become better problem-solvers and to understand higher-level thinking concepts.
The enhanced DMS schedule, to be implemented during the 2019-2020 school year, will increase time in math and other core subjects. We believe these changes, along with our continued use of benchmarking — examining each student’s progress in depth — as well as frequently adjusting instruction to meet each student’s needs, will help us to continue to close these gaps. As part of the revised schedule, Fox Chapel Area will still provide robust tiers of interventions to assist students in need of extra support, both in math and English Language Arts (ELA).
While the district has undertaken efforts to close the achievement gap and has seen academic growth in many areas, we realize that there is still work to be done to ensure the growth of every one of our students. While we recognize some students are not meeting levels expected by the state, or Fox Chapel Area’s own rigorous expectations, assessments and data are showing positive movement in many areas.
Last year, African-American students at DMS “met the standard for PA Academic Growth” in math and had “moderate evidence that the district exceeded the standard for PA Academic Growth” in ELA, according to Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). PVAAS is a statistical analysis of Pennsylvania state assessment data and provides schools with growth data in conjunction with achievement data.
We want parents and guardians to know that, at Fox Chapel Area, we focus on any student who is not meeting expectations for growth. As always, we will continue to work to maximize the learning, achievement, and development of every student.