Governor visits Colonial Middle School to announce PSSA changes

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf chose Colonial Middle School (CMS) as the location to announce changes to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). Last August, Governor Wolf announced that number of questions in the PSSA would be reduced beginning this year. On December 6 at CMS, the governor announced a new PSSA schedule for the 2018-19 school year made possible by the reduction in test questions.

"The PSSA test window will be condensed from three weeks to two weeks and be shifted to later in the school year, giving students up to two additional weeks to learn before taking the standardized test and providing school districts with new flexibility to schedule around holidays and breaks," Governor Wolf said.

While schools are required to start the PSSA the week of April 9 this year, they will have new flexibility to start as late as April 25 in 2019.

School districts have already set their calendars for this spring, therefore the new PSSA schedule starts in the 2018-19 school year.

Students showcase STEAM

Following the announcement Governor Wolf got a taste of the Colonial School District's (CSD) STEAM initiatives from some CMS students. At the 12 stations set up in the library, students showed the governor what is available in the library's Makerspace, including virtual reality, 3-D printing, robotics, a one-button video studio and even how to install an electrical outlet.

The governor commented that even though he went to MIT, he was having trouble keeping up with seventh graders Teja Chinta and Sara Zelaya who shared a robotics lesson.

"STEAM is important. It's basically making sure that we're preparing all of our students to take a full role in our society and our economy," said Governor Wolf. "It's a way of reconnecting schools to the world of work to the broader world our kids go into when they graduate from these schools."

CSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Christian, School Board member Cathy Peduzzi, seventh grade Math Teacher Sally Matthews and Pennsylvania Department of Education Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman also spoke at the event.