Keystone Exams, new equipment discussed at SMASD school board meeting

St. Marys Area School District Superintendent Ann Kearney provided updates on various programs during the school board’s workshop on Thursday evening.Next week the district will conduct field testing for the Keystone Exams. They have been requested to participate in the field testing for Algebra I.In the spring, the district will conduct Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Biology and Literature. The tests will be given to students who have finished those corresponding courses. “We are permitted to give these exams as low as sixth grade if they have completed the course,” explained Kearney.High school and middle school students will be given the exams depending on their course completion. Seventh and eighth grade students must score proficiency when they complete the courses in order to receive their high school diplomas.Re-testing will be permitted one time.The Keystone Exams are part of the state’s upcoming new graduation requirements. Beginning in 2015, students must score “proficient” in the exams. The Keystone Exams are replacing the PSSA tests.The administration will be meeting and discussing the options, which they will recommend for school board approval in early 2011.Kearney noted that the state has given the district several options for the use of the mandatory exams. She added that there will be a link on the school district’s website,, where parents and students may gain access to full information about the exams and the requirements.The district recently placed a bid on a Clausing Colchester 13” Engine Lathe which is being sold by North Central from their ITEC facility in Ridgway. North Central’s board decided three years ago to step out of the education business and no longer offer technical education classes at their ITEC facility. “They offered to sell the equipment to local school districts at exceptional prices,” Kearney said.She said the district is hoping to obtain the equipment for the Metal Working Occupation (MWO) shop.The district is hoping to purchase the equipment for $3,000. The machinery is worth $19,000.For more on this story, see the Nov. 6 edition of The Daily Press.