The Bangor Area School Board got a crash course in a new way students will be tested to higher academic standards and how those who come up short in biology, literature or algebra will be cycled through “remediation” programs before they can graduate.
High School Principal Tamara Gray gave the board an overview of the Keystone Exams, which will replace the PSSA test in all high schools across the state. Generations of students have taken the PSSA tests in their junior year of high school.
The Keystone Exams are different in several ways. The questions are far more specific and are taken at the end of the algebra, literature or biology course the students are studying.
Some Bangor students took the tests in December and January, Gray said, and their test results are now being studied to determine who missed the standards and will need remediation.
Gray said school officials should know within a week how many students will need remediation.
From what she has seen so far, Gray said “math seems to be the big area for everyone.”
The board also listened to criticism from two parents with children enrolled in the Medical Academy Charter School in Catasauqua. They were upset with the board’s decision to stop busing students outside a 10-mile limit.
Susan Hanna of Bangor said her 15-year-old son, Alex, who is entering his sophomore year and wants to study neurology, has no way of getting to school now.
“There is no alternative,” she said. “There is no public transportation.” She said she checked the LANTA bus schedules and realized it would take her son eight hours to make the trip.
“I’d have to put him on the bus the night before,” she quipped.
Hanna’s pleas did not change any minds on the board.
“The line has to be drawn somewhere,” said Tony Lynch.
Hanna said she did not understand why the district buses football players, cheerleaders and bands to game but will not give a bus ride to a gifted student who wants to be a doctor.