At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Paul Kadri explained in painstaking detail the district’s PSSA scores and clarified what the term AYP meant. He celebrated our accomplishments by honoring faculty and students from the high school, and he noted that the Philadelphia Inquirer listed our progress in high school reading as being ranked 3rd in the Philadelphia area. It was truly a time for celebration as was evidenced by the faces of the three NHS student representatives in attendance to accept an award on behalf of their classmates. But those smiles wouldn’t last long.
The three Levittown school board representatives (Board President Rick Eccles, VP Frank Koziol, and Ritchie Webb) were not pleased with our scores, and they angrily voiced concern over Neshaminy’s progress and also (what they said was) Kadri’s unwillingness to turn over the raw PSSA data to them as soon as it was available. The punctuation on their attack was Eccles’ statement, “this is the darkest day in Neshaminy’s history.”
No longer wanting to be on the receiving end of their venom, Kadri challenged the Levittown representatives by countering many of their statements. At one point when Webb brought up some past history to explain his discontent with our superintendent, Kadri immediately challenged him with a scornful look followed by “do you REALLY want to do this now, Mr. Webb?” Susan Cummings, Bill Spitz and Joe Blasch all came to the defense of Kadri, and each stated how the board must do more to support his efforts. Cummings reacted strongly to Eccles’ darkest day comment by stating that the three NHS students in attendance, once full of proud smiles, now appeared to be angered.
So which is it, blue skies or darkest days? Are you pleased with Neshaminy’s progress despite the AYP flags for the IEP/Spec Ed subgroup, or do you think we have sunk to an all-time low? Please participate in the survey over to the right then add your comments to this post. I remind you to keep your comments constructive and PG-13 remembering that Neshaminy students read this blog. And if you need more background on this issue before forming an opinion, here are some sources of information which should help you:
1) Read today’s Courier Times summary of Tuesday’s meeting. It may not have captured the emotion of the evening, but it’s a balanced report which includes a summary of our AYP status.
2) Refresh your memory with some of the highlights from this year’s PSSA scores by re-reading an earlier post on this blog, “Since when does 90% equal flunking?”
3) Watch the rebroadcast of the meeting. It lasted 3-1/2 hours so it’s not exactly easy viewing, but here’s a watcher-friendly hint: Watch from the beginning of the meeting through Kadri’s Powerpoint presentation on PSSA’s (and the follow-up comments from the board), then fast forward to the end of the meeting for public comment when Chris Graham of Langhorne admonished several board members for their obvious agenda against Superintendent Kadri.
As for me, I am still haunted by Tuesday’s events, particularly the reaction of those high school students who attended the meeting. Mrs. Cummings’ comment of how the smiles were now gone from their young faces has stayed with me. I can’t shake it, can’t get it out of my head. I’m not sure I ever will.