Nine buildings in Mt. Lebanon School District receive award from governor

Published Jan 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm (Updated Jan 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm)

In Pennsylvania, there are about 3,000 school buildings in 500 school districts, and while most rankings deal with individual districts, a newly instituted profile program – the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics – provides a percentage score for each building.

And of the 428 buildings in the state to achieve a score of 90 or above, nine of the 10 school buildings in the Mt. Lebanon district accomplished that. That is the highest number of buildings in one district to score 90 or above in Allegheny County, said Carolyn Dumaresq, acting state secretary of education.

Both Dumaresq and Gov. Tom Corbett visited Mt. Lebanon High School Jan. 14 to present banners to each of the nine building principals.

In its first year after three years in development, the Governor’s Award is based on the 2012-13 school year Performance Profile that takes into consideration a building’s achievements that are not only based on academics. With the highest standard 100 percent, Mt. Lebanon High School received a score of 99.5 percent, the highest score in the district, and also the highest among the 276 public school buildings in Allegheny County.

Dumaresq said while 99.5 percent is exceptional, one building near Downingtown in Chester County achieved a score of 100 percent.

Of the eight remaining buildings in the Mt. Lebanon district, Foster Elementary School had a score of 97.8 percent; Hoover Elementary had 97 percent; Howe Elementary received 95.5 percent; Lincoln Elementary achieved 94.7 percent; Jefferson Middle School had 93.8 percent; Washington Elementary School scored 93.6 percent; Markham Elementary scored 93.2 percent and Jefferson Elementary came in with 92 percent. Only Mellon Middle School was not among those with 90 percent or above. However, Mellon scored just shy with a rating in the high 80s.

Timothy Steinhauer, district superintendent, said the high percentages from each of the buildings were exciting and he knew that Mellon, although he did not mention the school by name, would be in the ratings next year.

For Corbett, presenting the award was a special occasion as he and his wife began their careers as teachers. He knows the importance of education.

Before the School Performance Profile, there was never a way to measure how an individual school building was performing. School districts were evaluated, but individual buildings were not.

“Mt. Lebanon is doing very, very well,” Corbett said. He went on to thank not only the students and teachers, but also the parents, whom he called “the first teachers.” He also recognized the citizens of Mt. Lebanon for providing the funding for the schools.

Steinhauer recognized the students, teachers, parents, administrators and taxpayers, but he also spoke of the importance of custodians, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers and others who provide support to the schools.

Secretary Dumaresq said presenting the banners to schools across the state is “one of the highlights of what I do.” As for Mt. Lebanon’s achievement, Dumaresq said while the 99.5 percent score for the high school was not the highest in the state, having nine buildings in one district achieve 90 or above was the most in any district. And as for the 10th building, she said, “I believe all 10 will (make it) next year.”

Buildings that excel, like those in Mt. Lebanon which is considered an affluent community, could act as mentors to other districts whose buildings did not score in the higher range, Corbett said. Dumaresq, who previously served as a district superintendent, said she believes quality teachers and curriculum can overcome poverty.

Each of the buildings in the Mt. Lebanon district to receive the award will display the banner presented by Corbett.

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