Ambridge Area School District

901 Duss Avenue, Ambridge PA 15003 | 724.266.2833


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Press Releases

This page contains press releases about events and news within the Ambridge Area School District.

BCET Teacher of the Year

The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce that one of its teachers has been nominated for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year recognition.

Mrs. Nicole Darroch, a K-5 STEAM Educator and Technology Integrator for Highland and State Street elementary schools, was nominated for PA Teacher of the Year by the Beaver County Educational Trust (BCET). BCET announced its nomination of Mrs. Darroch on Friday, Sept. 27.

“We are so excited to nominate Nicole for this honor,” said Mrs. Jamie Connelly, BCET Executive Director. “Nicole was honored at the BCET Coming Together for Education event in May as one of the BCET Teachers of the Year. In 2018, Nicole’s award-winning grant was focused on Storytime STEAM packs. BCET is proud to support enthusiastic teachers like Nicole for their creativity, ingenuity and dedication.”

The PA Teacher of the Year Program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year. The program recognizes excellence in teaching by honoring K-12 educators in public education who have made outstanding academic contributions to school-aged children in Pennsylvania. The nomination process for teachers for the 2021 program is underway. Educators, parents, students and community members are encouraged to acknowledge the efforts of teachers in their community through the nominations process. Twelve finalists will be selected from the applications received.

“I am honored by the nomination,” said Mrs. Darroch. “The Beaver County Educational Trust supports great educational efforts throughout Beaver County. I appreciate their recognition of the work I have done in the elementary STEAM programs at Highland and State Street.”

In addition to her latest nomination, Mrs. Darroch also has received the following recognition:

  • Beaver County Teacher of the Year 2019;

  • STEAM Catalyst Grant Recipient – Allegheny Intermediate Unit ($7,500 grant in September 2018);

  • Target Field Trip Grant Recipient (December 2018);

  • Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation Teacher of the Month (March 2017);

  • Beaver County Educational Trust Grant Recipient (2015, 2017, 2018 & 2019); and

  • Society of Analytical Chemists Equipment Grant Recipient (2016 & 2018).


The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce it will make financial contributions to community libraries within the District’s coverage area for the 2019-2020 School Year.

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the District plans to donate $5,250 to Laughlin Memorial Library and $4,250 to Baden Memorial Library for a total of $9,500.


“This is an annual tradition in the District to offer financial support to our two community libraries,” said Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter. “Community libraries are a valuable tool for our families. They provide access to services, programs and materials that encourage a love for reading and literacy, which mirror our own goals in the Ambridge Area School District.”


In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the District donated a total of $13,500 to the two community libraries - $7,250 to Laughlin Memorial and $6,250 to Baden Memorial. The amount dedicated in annual support to the two libraries is dependent on the budgeted needs of the District from year to year, said Mr. Doug McCausland, AASD Director of District Operations. “Our budget was a bit tighter this year than in previous years, so we unfortunately were not able to make as large of a contribution as we have in the past.”


Laughlin Memorial Library is located at 99 Eleventh Street in Ambridge. It first opened its doors to the community on July 6, 1929. Baden Memorial Library is located at 385 State Street in Baden. It has been serving the Baden community since 1941. Information about programming for both locations, including hours of operation, is available here.



The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce its participation in the Community Eligibility Provision program for the 2019-2020 School Year.

“Effective Aug. 27, 2019, all students enrolled in the Ambridge Area School District are eligible to receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch every day at the school at no charge to families,” said Mrs. Janet Gaffney, AASD Food Services Director. “This is wonderful news for AASD families.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Community Eligibility Provision is a non-pricing meal service option for school districts in low-income areas. By meeting certain eligibility requirements of the provision, AASD students will now automatically receive free breakfast and lunch daily. Previously, the District was required to collect applications from families for the Free-and-Reduced Breakfast/Lunch Program before students were eligible for the benefit.

The provision only covers the cost of breakfast and lunch meals. A la carte items such as milk and snack bar items are not included and will continue to be sold a la carte.

More information about the program is available on the USDA website at: Questions about the program can be directed to Mrs. Gaffney at 724-266-2833, Ext. 2395 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Ambridge Area School District is offering a free Pre-K Counts class for children ages 3 and 4 for the 2019-2020 School Year. The program is open to students across Beaver County. Children living within the Ambridge Area School District are eligible for free transportation to the program.

Pre-K Counts is designed to prepare children for reading and math, improving attention , following directions and getting along with others in preparation for Kindergarten enrollment in their home school districts.

All Pre-K Counts classrooms:

  • Have teachers who possess the education and expertise to instruct young children;

  • Use a curriculum designed to help children grow academically and socially;

  • Regularly review children’s progress and choose teaching and learning activities that are tailored to each child’s individual needs;

  • Offer small class sizes so children receive plenty of 1:1 time with teachers.

Children between the ages of 3 and 4 who live in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to enroll in this free program. Breakfast and lunch are served to all children enrolled in the program.

Ambridge Area School District offers two PreK classrooms at Highland Elementary School and one at both State Street and Economy elementary schools for a total of four Pre-K classrooms.

To register for the PreK Counts program, please call Cathy Hopkins at 724-266-2833, Ext. 1273 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications also are available on the AASD website under About the District/Registration/Pre-K Enrollment. Classes start Aug. 27, 2019.

Turk Web


Ambridge Area School Board of Directors approved the transfer of Mr. David Turk to the newly-created 10-month position of Middle School Assistant Principal at the July 17 meeting. Mr. Turk previously served as a health and physical education teacher at Ambridge Area High School since 2011. He will begin his duties immediately at an annual salary of $70,000.


Mr. Turk holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education from Slippery Rock University (Pa.) and earned his Pennsylvania Teaching Certification in Health and Physical Education. He also holds a Master of Education degree in School Administration (Principal K-12) from California University (Pa.).


He began his professional career in the Pittsburgh Public Schools in January 2010, where he served as a substitute teacher at Perry High School. He later became a building substitute with Pittsburgh Public Schools, serving in a variety of roles including Assistant to the Administration and Assistant Technology Technician. He was hired by Ambridge Area School District to work as a health and physical education teacher, a position he held from 2011 to present.


Mr. Turk said he is looking forward to serving in his new role at the Middle School, and thanked the School Board for providing him with the opportunity. “I appreciate the opportunity that I’ve been given, and I look forward to working with all of the Middle School staff and most important of all, I look forward to working with the students,” he said.


Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter said Mr. Turk will be an incredible asset to the Middle School. “His focus is on a mentorship program for the Middle School students so that our students have guidance and mentorship from the minute they enter the school until the time they leave, and so parents have a dedicated liaison. I’m very excited to have him working with us.”

Steel Band Groupweb


Photo Courtesy of Alan Freed


The Ambridge Steel Drum Band will celebrate 30 fabulous years on stage with world-class professional musicians from The River City Brass Band and Liam Teague during an anniversary concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at Ambridge Senior High School, 909 Duss Ave., Ambridge. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $8 for adults and $5 for children 17 and under when purchased in advance between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at the High School. Tickets are for general admission only and may be purchased via cash or check. If purchasing via check, please make payable to Ambridge Area Band Boosters. Tickets purchased at the door on the day of the event are $10 for adults and $7 for ages 17 and under.

The River City Brass Band is America’s only full-time brass band. It was founded in Pittsburgh in 1981 by Robert Bernat, with a mission of entertaining, educating and engaging citizens locally and globally.

Liam Teague is a professor of music and head of steelpan studies at Northern Illinois University, where he also directs the prominent NIU Steelband. He is hailed as the “Paganini of the Steelpan” and is world renowned for his musical acumen. Mr. Teague is the recipient of an NIU Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor Award, and has received many awards from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, including the Humming Bird National Award and the Ansa McAl Caribbean Award for Excellence. Among his many accomplishments, he has appeared in concert with Grammy Award-winning musicians Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Zakir Hussain and Dame Evelyn Glennie.

The 30th anniversary celebration culminates a year of special events for the Ambridge Steel Band. In November, the band appeared for the first time in the WPXI Holiday Parade, and performed two nights at Heinz Hall with the revitalized B.E. Taylor Christmas Show in December. The Ambridge Steel Band also was honored to be one of 35 ensembles from 13 states to be selected by audition to perform at the 2019 NAfME/PMEA Eastern Division Conference on April 4 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

For more information about the concert, or for ticketing questions, call 724-266-2833, Ext 2520.


The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Drew Karpen as the interim District Athletic Director. Mr. Karpen is replacing Mr. Brian Miller, who resigned from the position earlier this month. Mr. Miller’s last day with the District is May 1.


Mr. Karpen previously served as the Athletic Event Coordinator at North Allegheny School District, a position he held for three years. As part of his duties at North Allegheny, he assisted in fundraising efforts for athletic facilities, equipment and coaching staff. He also was responsible for scheduling staff for game-day events, and serving as site manager for regular season and state playoff games.

Prior to his position with North Allegheny, Mr. Karpen worked as a webmaster for the Big 56 Conference, which is the highest classification conference in the WPIAL and includes 44 teams covering athletes from Division 1 to NAIA level. He also previously served as a producer, color commentator and camera operator for the Presidents Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball games, and worked as a sports journalist with the Tribune Review, Post-Gazette and the Associated Press.

In addition to his previous experience, Mr. Karpen also holds a master’s degree in Sports Management from California (Pa.) University and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism/Communications Studies from Clarion University.

“We welcome Mr. Karpen to the District, and look forward to working with him to support our student athletes and to build a positive team culture here at Ambridge,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent.

Mr. Karpen’s starting date is Monday, April 29.


On Friday, March 29, 2019, Ambridge High School will host an inclusion event for LGBTQ+ youth in Beaver County. The event is open to youth in grades 9-12 in any Beaver County school district and will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ambridge High School.

The event is being organized by Ambridge High School student Dylan Irvin as part of a senior project. The goal of the event is to feature a panel of guest speakers who will share personal experiences, as well as providing attendees with valuable support resources for youth in Beaver County.

An open resource fair, which includes time for attendees to speak with representatives from support agencies in Beaver County, will be part of the event. Youth attendees also will be given time to spend with peers participating in group team-building activities and discussion groups related to LGBTQ+ current issues.

Breakfast items, lunch and snacks will be provided.

Registration for the event is required. Registration forms are available on the Ambridge Area School District website here.