AllentownSchool District

Superintendent's Message: Allentown School District Announces Findings of Curriculum Audit


December 6, 2018

Dear ASD Community,

As a District, today marks a very important day in the transformation of the Allentown School District. As a result, I wanted to ensure our families and communities are aware of the strategic conversation the District will be having later this evening during our monthly Education Committee meeting.

Nearly two years ago, ASD made the commitment to focus on equity as a core idea and make critical decisions to significantly improve how we meet the needs of our students and community. The Board of Directors worked very closely with community stakeholders to identify new leadership with the expectation that we take a whole district approach to addressing our needs and avoid the “patch and spackle” approach to school reform.

Led by the School Board of Directors, ASD also hosted several community meetings during the summer months of 2017.  It was the input and feedback from our families and community that helped shape the Strategic Framework.  Later, within the Strategic Framework, we identified two critical assessments in year one.   First, the financial analysis and then a comprehensive academic audit.

The fiscal analysis was completed last school year. However, it was through the unparalleled support and advocacy of Senator Browne and the leaders listed here, the district was able to ensure fiscal solvency for the near term.  To further underscore the district’s commitment to financial accountability, we have partnered with Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit to take leadership of our business functions and support strong fiscal management in the long term.

Today, we will share the results of a comprehensive curriculum audit with our Board and Community. This discrepancy audit, commissioned by the Board, began early Spring 2018 and concluded Fall, 2018. The analysis, standards, and recommendations within the audit findings which will serve as the foundation of our commitment to fully addressing the academic concerns in our district. These findings will also undergird our full commitment to our equity policy which prioritizes our students and families.  

As a word of caution, there are several challenging revelations in this report. As a community, we will own those revelations, and work to provide a first quality educational experience for the students and families of Allentown.      

Please note, there are a number of positives happening in the district, but the purpose of this report is to fully identify the areas of need so that we drive district improvement for the next three years.

Further, the concerns identified in this report are in full alignment with the school improvement designations that will be released next week by PDE.  We have no elementary school slated for school improvement. However, nearly all of our secondary schools have received a designation. The data correlates well with the findings and recommendations outlined in the curriculum audit.  

Additionally, I must extend my sincere gratitude to Secretary Rivera for the opportunity given to the District to participate in the state-led School Improvement Pilot last Spring. It was this preliminary work that gave ASD a head start toward addressing several of the discrepancies identified in the Audit and the recently released ESSA designations. As a community, we are thankful for this opportunity.

As I close, I will again thank the Board of Allentown School District for demonstrating leadership and transparency, as well as a continued commitment to equity and academic achievement for all students.

When I arrived in Allentown just over a year ago, it was that charge from the Board and community of the 3rd largest urban District in the Commonwealth that was made a priority. As we prepare to release the comprehensive curriculum audit findings, we mark another milestone we can attribute toward those collective efforts.

Thank you for your continued support as we stay committed to building systems that ensure our students can compete locally, nationally, and globally.