Largest charter school in nation ever to make AYP
MIDLAND, Pa., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School for the second straight year has met all 29 performance targets in state PSSA testing, announced CEO Dr. Nick Trombetta. The 9,500-student online school's status officially has been upgraded to "Made AYP" (Adequate Yearly Progress) according PSSA results being released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
"PA Cyber is the largest charter or cyber charter school in the nation ever to make AYP," said Dr. Trombetta. "This is not only a huge achievement for our students and staff, but a testimonial for the effectiveness of charter schools and online public school education."
More than 4,300 PA Cyber students in grades 3-8 and 11 went to 30 testing sites set up by the school across the commonwealth for three days of PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) testing in April.
Dr. Trombetta said the 2010 PSSA results show that PA Cyber students achieved general improvement across the board in academic results, both overall and in all subgroups. Special education students posted the largest improvement of any subgroup, raising reading scores by five points, a nearly 20 percent improvement, and math scores by seven points, a gain of 25 percent.
The school achieved a graduation rate 90 percent on a goal of 85 percent, and a test participation rate of 97 percent on a goal of 95 percent.
In the eight years since PSSA testing began, PA Cyber has hit every academic performance target every year except 2008, when math scores improved but did not reach ever-rising target goals, said Dr. Trombetta. The school narrowly missed the graduation rate in 2003, and missed the target for student test participation in 2005 and 2006 in the special education subgroup . . . one year by the margin of five students.
The CEO said he and the school's board of directors extend congratulations on making AYP to the students, teachers and entire staff of PA Cyber.
"Fifty percent of our students come from the lowest-performing school districts in the state and test one grade level behind their peers upon enrollment," said Dr. Trombetta. "We have found if we can keep these students for a year or two, and if they make the effort, we can bring them up to grade level and get them to graduate."
Statistics generated by the school show that between 2006 and 2009, the PSSA proficiency levels of students enrolled in PA Cyber for at least one year improved 27 percent in math, 30 percent in writing and 39 percent in reading.
In 2010, 70 percent of PA Cyber graduates said they planned to enroll in college or other post-secondary education. Junior and senior PA Cyber students taking the SAT test in 2009 had an average score of 1515, higher than the state (1473) or national (1509) averages. ACT scores also were higher: PA Cyber students, 22.4; state, 21.9, national, 21.0.
Dr. Trombetta said making AYP is the second major item of good news recently for the school. In July, PA Cyber learned its five-year charter had been renewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, PA Cyber was founded in 2000 as the first statewide cyber school offering grades K-12, and has grown in enrollment every year since. Dr. Trombetta expects PA Cyber enrollment to surpass 10,000 students this school year.
Contact Fred Miller, email@example.com, 724.777.5918
SOURCE Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School