It's time to "get revved up for PSSA season," Philip Knapp, Sheffield Middle Senior High School assistant principal, said.
That was the theme at Sheffield last Thursday night for its second annual "PASTA and PSSAs" event. About 175 students and parents from Sheffield gathered at the school to review last year's PSSA numbers and meet with their teachers about their 4Sight test scores from tests taken earlier this school year.
The event kicked off with brief remarks by Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel, who praised the work being done throughout the school district. "There is a remarkable program developing in Warren County and Sheffield is a part of that," Hufnagel said, adding that the district's middle school program is a "model for the state."
He asked the students to give their best on the upcoming tests and also asked the parents to help where they can because, "When your students do well, it makes the community proud."
Several Sheffield sixth-graders read a poem entitled Two Sculptors which concluded with, "for behind the parents stood the school and behind the teacher, the home," emphasizing the importance of parental involvement in this process.
Principal Amy Beers broke down the PSSA and 4Sight numbers for those in attendance, recognizing that they are "confusing."
"The 4Sight is not the only indicator of success on the PSSA," Beers said. Her hope is that the scores will "show significant progress each year." Beers said she is hoping for a 10 percent gain over last year's test scores.
Beers reminded the parents that it is important that the students come ready to test. She emphasized that they want to keep the test days "low stress" so that students will be able to do their best. "Encourage them to do their personal best," she added. "We want to see adequate yearly progress."
PSSA testing will start at Sheffield on Tuesday, March 13, with tests being administered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the remainder of the month. Testing will be done between 9 and 11 a.m.
Though the tests are important, it isn't all work. "We'll work hard then we'll play hard," Beers said, explaining that there will be a variety of activities going on in the afternoons including volleyball and the junior class going bowling after their science test.
Beers said she wanted to, "Talk up the good things happening in our school...the school is changing. Discipline is down 50 percent, (there are) more (students) on honor roll...There are wonderful things happening here. I'm proud to work here."
After dinner, parents and students went into their classrooms to meet with their teachers.
Asked what she would like people to take away from the event, Beers said, "The connection between home and school and community for our school."
She added, "Truly wonderful things can happen" when collaboration occurs. "It's our key to success."