Bald Eagle Area School District has drawn the attention of leaders in Harrisburg.
Late last month, Gov. Tom Wolf made a visit to the high school after it opened as an emergency shelter for residents who were forced out of their homes due to flooding from heavy rainfall.
On Thursday afternoon, state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera stopped by the district as part of the “Schools that Teach” tour.
Unrelated to the weather events that affected the district, Rivera’s mission was, instead, to connect with schools to see how they provide high-quality education.
“By traveling the state, listening to educators and administrators, and securing the necessary funding to address each school’s unique needs, we will make a critical investment in Pennsylvania’s schools and 1.74 million students,” Rivera said in a statement.
2 state leaders visit BEA
During his visit to Bald Eagle Area School District, Rivera was also joined by state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven.
Superintendent Jeff Miles said district administrators and teachers showcased the district’s agriculture program, in addition to art and woodwork classes, a kindergarten class and more.
“It’s easy to see why he’s so likable — because he’s down to earth and realizes the red tape we have to go through and sometimes how frustrating that is,” Miles said.
Thursday was the first time Rivera visited the district.
Miles also said administrators discussed some changes they’d like to see at the state level, which include interchanging National Occupational Competency Testing Institute tests for Keystone exams for students who attend Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology.
Keystones are high school assessments that test students in math, English, science and history.
The NOCTI tests are standardized tests administered to students in career technical programs.
BEA supports HB2381
House Bill 2381, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County, is sponsoring a bill asking legislators to allow students to substitute the exams.
“Specifically, our legislation would allow students who participate in a vocational education program, either in a vocational-technical school or in a school district, to demonstrate proficiency on exams developed by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute in lieu of demonstrating proficiency on a Keystone Exam,” the bill states.
According to the bill, the substitution option would only be available during school years, “which demonstrated proficiency on a Keystone Exam is a requisite condition for high school graduation.”
“I think being a rural school with this option for students, he understands our needs might be different than others,” Miles said.