Lyndonville wants to raise academic performance, restart PTA

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Cindy Ames, director of the Niagara Region PTA, met with about 25 Lyndonville community members on Monday, urging the community to relaunch its PTA after it was dormant last year.

LYNDONVILLE – School officials have a four-year plan for the district that raises the academic performance for students, including setting a goal that all students graduate on time.

Lyndonville already boasts a high graduation rate – 96 percent graduated with their four-year cohort in 2013. But the district wants every member of each class of roughly 50 students to complete high school in four years.

A four-year strategic plan also would significantly raise student performance on state standardized tests for grades 3 to 8, with the district determined to have about two thirds of its students master the material.

Lyndonville only had 28 percent achieve that for English and 19 percent for math with the 2013 state tests, where only about 31 percent attained mastery levels state-wide. Lyndonville wants 65 percent of its students at that level by 2016.

At the high school level, Lyndonville wants to increase the percentage of students who graduate with an advanced Regents diploma from 28 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2016. A committee of school teachers, administrators and parents also established a higher threshold for the number of graduates who attain at least a 75 in English and 80 in math – key indicators of success in college – from 30 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2016.

“We want college-ready graduates,” said High School Principal Aaron Slack. He said the district is setting “ambitious targets.”

Lyndonville’s new strategic plan calls for every high school student to graduate on time.

The plan will be presented to the Board of Education on Oct. 14. District Superintendent Jason Smith said the BOE will be asked to back the “road map” for the district.

Smith also is supporting an effort to revive the PTA in the district. The Parent-Teacher Association was dormant last year. Smith said the PTA and involved parents are critical for students and the district to boost their classroom achievement.

“When you have a PTA, you have a built-in partner,” Smith said.

Lyndonville started a PTA in 1984. The group was once very active, said Cindy Ames, director of the Niagara-Region PTA.

The Newfane resident touted the benefits of a PTA as the country’s “premier advocacy group” for parents in education. Lyndonville can restart its PTA by forming nominating and bylaws committees, groups that only need three members.

The PTA can help raise money for school trips and other initiatives at the school. It can also be a voice for parents at the local, state and national level.

Ames said the PTA, which has 5,000 members in the Niagara region, has expressed its concern about the new state tests. The group has reached out to state legislators, including Sen. George Maziarz, to develop a “smarter way” of testing the students.

The PTA will have a regional training Oct. 17 in Kendall. The other four districts in Orleans County – Albion, Holley Kendall and Medina – currently have active PTAs, Ames said.

She urged Lyndonville to reactivate its PTA. Interested community members should contact the district office at 765-2251 if they are interested in the PTA.