Dauphin Co. school district focuses on student achievement after audit
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale delivers the results of his latest audit of Susquehanna Township School District alongside Superintendent Tamara Willis. (Photo: Rachel McDevitt/WITF)
(Susquehanna Township) — Nearly five years after a scathing audit, the state’s fiscal watchdog says a Dauphin County school district’s turnaround has been remarkable.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said a 2014 audit found a dysfunctional relationship between the Susquehanna Township School District’s board and administration led to financial disarray.
This year’s review found the district resolved past issues such as improper contracts with vendors and lapsed certifications.
District Superintendent Tamara Willis, who took up the job in 2017, said they’ve also created a strategic plan based on a business model called the Baldrige Framework.
“You look at alignment of your processes across an organization to ensure that everything that you do is focused and targeted toward your overall outcome.” Willis said. “and for us, when it became students, everything had to be aligned to ensuring that our students were successful.”
Willis said the district hasn’t yet met its academic performance goals but has started addressing underlying causes of poor performance.
It starts at the pre-school level to make sure students are ready to learn in kindergarten. All grade levels are getting behavioral lessons in regulating their emotions and de-escalation tactics.
“We are positioned to see the academic growth that we want to achieve now that we’re starting to address some of those underlying root causes for what is some of the barriers for why students aren’t learning,” Willis said.
She noted the number of behavioral incidents has decreased this year.