TCCS preps for new test regulations

The Tidioute Community Charter School board meeting Jan. 9 revealed planned changes to the school’s graduation requirements, among other items.

According to TCCS CEO Doug Allen, the board discussed the new state requirements for graduation from high school. Allen presented an overview of the new expectations, which included mandatory participation by juniors in the Keystone Exams beginning this year.

TCCS juniors will take exams in biology, algebra, and literature mid-January along with a re-take in May for students who did not pass.

Allen also noted that in 2017, additional requirements will become law and the Keystone Exams will be considered the actual final test for the course, counting towards the student’s final grade. “Students will need to be aware that a state assessment may determine their chance to earn a diploma, not only performance in the school classroom,” he added.

Under the No Child Left Behind law, 91 percent of students at assessed grades are to be proficient in reading and math this year regardless of family, economic, or academic backgrounds. Juniors are also expected to demonstrate proficiency in algebra, biology and literature.

Allen and Dr. John Linden, consultant to the TCCS board, discussed the challenge of meeting the No Child Left Behind standard for proficiency in 2013. “Ninety-one percent of school students are expected to be proficient in reading and math in 2013 as per the No Child Left Behind Act. There are 304 students at TCCS presently and it will be a monumental challenge for almost all students to read and do math at a college bound level,” Linden told the board. “It will be a challenge throughout Pennsylvania at all schools to earn Annual Yearly Progress in 2013.”

“The teachers and staff at TCCS are ready to try to meet the challenge,” responded Allen.

Also discussed was the board’s agreement to participate in the Education Consortium of the Upper Allegheny’s program that offers Gannon University courses to TCCS students via interactive television. Courses cost $50 when sponsored by the ECUA. The offer was made by Duane Vicini, president of the ECUA, to allow TCCS to join the program and it was approved unanimously.

The board agreed to hire former Pennsylvania State Trooper Eugene Casasanta as a hearing officer to manage student discipline hearings.