PHILIPSBURG — Earlier this month, Philipsburg Elementary was honored by the state Division of Federal Programs as a “Distinguished Title I School.”
“Our academics I think sometimes aren’t recognized as well as they are,” Superintendent Dr. Gregg Paladina said at Tuesday’s Philipsburg-Osceola Area School Board meeting. “You only hear something the bad things that happen at school districts but there’s a lot of good things that are happening in our schools. And we have wonderful teachers and wonderful educational leaders.”
Paladina said at the district’s poverty level, they outperform all districts at the elementary level in Clearfield and Centre counties, and are above average in PSSA elementary scores.
“People are coming to our schools to see what we’re doing,” Paladina said. “I think that’s important to know because we get so maligned in the public sometimes that people don’t understand what a good job our people are doing.”
As far as PE, Principal Jeff Baker said they received the award based on the growth of its PSSA scores from 2018 to 2019.
“The scores are the highest (PE) has ever had,” Baker said. “We’re over 80 percent (proficient and advanced) in reading and math — over 90 proficient and advanced in science. We celebrated at the beginning of the year when we realized that but this was like icing on the cake now to get the state recognition.”
Baker said it comes down to three things — curriculum, instruction and assessment. While the state gives the curriculum and assessment, Baker said what schools are left to do is the instruction portion.
“This is based on PSSAs, but I want to make sure everybody knows this is a (grades) K-4 effort of Philipsburg Elementary in changing instruction and trying to meet the needs of kids to get this kind of achievement,” Baker said. “It’s difficult stuff, but teachers are rising to the occasion and this a nice honor for the staff at PE.”
Paladina said when they previously made curriculum changes, the teachers embraced it. He said not only is PE doing well, but you can pick aspects of all of the schools and its teachers and students can be commended.
“All levels are doing well,” Paladina said. “I just wanted to pause and celebrate our successes.”
PE was also honored on Jan. 27 by the state at the 2020 Title I Improving Schools’ Performance Conference in Pittsburgh.