As part of the 8th grade Accelerated Science class, the students began work on a Science Fair project in early September and work diligently through the end of January culminating in the Junior High Science Fair. This year was the 21st annual competition. We bring in judges from various walks of science related life as our experts to interview the students. We award the top four projects with certificates and checks. The top 20 will then attend the annual Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair at Heinz Field just after Spring break.
The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce it is the first public school district in Beaver County to be awarded a National Math + Science Initiative grant worth up to $750,000.
The three-year partnership with NMSI will be used to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in grades 3-12 in the subjects of science, math and English. Grant money through the partnership also will be used to dramatically increase the number of Ambridge students enrolled in AP courses and allow the District to provide an additional five AP courses beyond the eight already offered.
“I am incredibly excited about this grant, as it will provide extensive training for up to 34 staff, helping to lay the foundation in grades 3-8 for students to have exposure to more rigorous coursework in alignment with our AP classes,” said Ms. Janice Zupsic, Ambridge Area Senior High School Principal. “This truly is a District-wide opportunity, allowing all of our students to benefit from having access to master teachers and mentors for teachers in all grade levels.”
NMSI’s programs have impacted over 1.5 million students, 50,000 teachers, 1,000 high schools and 44 universities nationwide. In its partnership with Ambridge, NMSI will provide four full days of training each summer for the next three years for 27 regular teachers and seven AP instructors in the District. It also will provide two full days in both the spring and fall for professional development purposes, the assignment of a personal mentor, three Saturday sessions with expert mentors, and additional networking opportunities for teachers.
Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent, said the partnership is a tremendous advantage to the District, and aligns with upcoming plans for curriculum development. “The development of our curriculum over the next three years is going to be completely different with this training,” she said. “This is a level of professional development to which our teachers otherwise would not have had access.”
AP teachers at the high school also will have access to hundreds of lesson plans, mock tests and materials that can be used to help prepare students to sit for AP exams. Currently, students are not required to sit for an exam upon completion of an AP course at Ambridge. As part of the partnership agreement with NMSI, students will now be expected to sit for the AP exams. NMSI will pay for half of the cost of the exams, with the school district covering the other half.
In addition to the benefits already outlined, the partnership also will provide access to $35,000 worth of course materials and supplies to Ambridge students and staff, and a $100 incentive for every student who earns a 3, 4 or 5 on an AP exam.
Dr. Welter noted that as part of the partnership agreement, the District is required to contribute $25,000 annually for three years to help cover costs. She noted the benefits achieved through the partnership are worth the expenditure.
“We will now have a solid, vertical alignment of curriculum in grades 3-11, with nationally-normed standards and assessment items,” she said. “Our students will be better prepared for college and careers.”
Ms. Zupsic said it is her goal to encourage at least 80 more students to consider enrolling in AP courses at the high school. At present, roughly 140 students are enrolled in one of the existing AP courses offered. “This partnership opportunity makes the ability to take an AP course more accessible to our students, and that’s half the battle.”
“Highland STEAM Family Night was a great success! Students and their families participated in an evening of STEAM challenges. The challenge stations included Rolling Things Measurement, Makey Makey, Bee Bot Addition, Lego We Do, Cup Stacking, Dash Robots, and Padlet posting. Families worked together to explore the concepts of measurement, electricity, conductivity, computational thinking, and programming. Thank you to all the families who chose to spend their evening making memories with us.
Thank you to Mrs. Hoover for her support and time. Thank you to teachers Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Iorfido, and Mrs. Taormina for their time and help during the evening. Thank you to our PTO for volunteering their time and providing cookies. Thank you to Tim Cassidy Construction and CCBC STEM Academy for engaging and encouraging our kids. Thank you to our 6th grade STEAM Team (Alivea, Damariona, and Donovan) for teaching the younger students how to use the Dash robots. Thank you also to our three young men from the Ambridge High School JROTC program who volunteered their time to work the Lego We Do station. Special thanks to Cathy Fisher, Amy Fedora, Caylin Fedora, Talan Bell, Tim and Pam Webb for volunteering for the evening. Thank you also to Ms. Goldie and Ms. Jane for their kind support.”
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a statement on Wednesday that includes one finding and one recommendation for improvement for the Ambridge Area School District for an audit covering fiscal years July 2012 through June 2016.
The finding involved retirement benefits for previous superintendents which included the superintendent and their immediate family members. DePasquale determined the practice posed a significant financial impact on the District and recommended the District include a minimum years of service provision in all future employment contracts.
“The Ambridge Area School District appreciates the recommendations provided by the Auditor General’s Office following its review of District finances and operations,” said Doug McCausland, Director of Operations for the Ambridge Area School District. “The District takes all recommendations seriously and already has begun the process of implementing corrective action for the finding contained within the report.”
Starting with the three-year contract for its new superintendent, which is effective July 27, 2017 through July 30, 2020, post-employment benefits are extended only to Dr. Jo Welter. Should she elect to cover her spouse, she will be responsible for paying the difference in premium cost. Benefits for Dr. Welter continue only until she reaches age 65. Due to her decades-long career in public education, a minimum years of employment provision was not included in her current contract.
“Retirement insurance provisions are common features of superintendents’ contracts in the Commonwealth with many being more generous than what the Ambridge Area School District agreed to provide its current Superintendent,” said Mr. McCausland. “We believe the contract with our current superintendent is not only fair to her, but also fiscally responsible and in alignment with the auditor’s recommendations.”
The full auditor’s report is available here.
The Ambridge Area School District is exploring the concept of creating a middle school for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the District. Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter will be presenting the idea to parents at each of the three elementary schools and gathering input from those in attendance.
It is important to note that the middle school concept is still in the development stages; gathering input from the community is a crucial stage in development and the opportunity to dialogue with parents is greatly appreciated.
Informational sessions will occur on the following dates and times:
- State Street Elementary School – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 (Cafeteria)
- Economy Elementary School – 7 p.m.. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 (Music Room)
- Highland Elementary School – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 (Cafeteria)
Students in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade were awarded a certificate for
being chosen as Nov. Physical Education Star Students of the month. Mrs. Parisi has dedicated a bulletin board in the gym to honor her students.
Mrs. Parisi has established the following criteria for the award.
Not absent on a Gym Day, do an excellent job calling out the warm-ups, a good role model in class, extra effort, and encouraging fellow classmates to do
their best. Along with Mrs. Parisi in the picture are: LEONIDAS RIEGNER, ROBERT SEDLMYER, LILLYA JANECTIC, ALEXANDER POMPEO, EMMA PINCHOT,GAVIN HISIRO, SHAYLEE DUNKLE, ZOEE KUHEL, DAMIAN KAST, SEBASTIAN KELM, JACKSON KOZAK, EMMITT OLENIC, HANNAH THEAR, MALLORY MCKINNEY, ETHNE BELL, MARA ILKO, MIA MODROVICH, HARRISON HILL, LILY GEWETH AND JASON DESANTIS.
Missing from the picture is: KARLYCE CHANDLER
Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to our Ambridge Area School District students who were finalists in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest. Our 4th and 5th graders swept their divisions! They were presented their plaques and monetary awards at the Dr. King Banquet in Rochester on Sunday, January 15th. Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Ambridge Steel Drum Band.
In the fourth grade division, the winners were Madelyn Palmer of Economy Elementary in first place and Ja...red Astorino of Highland Elementary in second place.
In the fifth grade division, the winners were Mackenzie Sutton from State Street Elementary in first place and Madison Holcomb, also from State Street, in second place.
We are extremely proud of your knowledge of Dr. King and the oratorical skills you are developing at such a young age!
2nd Grade: Students are creating pet rocks and designing playground equipment that can hold their pet rocks. Students will work as a team to design and create a twisty slide, jungle gym, and other playground equipment.
1st Grade: Students are designing and building houses for the 3 Little Pigs. The structures should be strong enough to withstand a puff of air from Big Bad Wolf (a blowdryer)!
These first grade girls constructed a house out of bricks to keep their pigs safe from the Big Bad Wolf.
Kindergarten: Students will be completing nursery rhyme STEAM challenges! We have completed challenges from Humpty Dumpty and Hey Diddle, Diddle.
These kindergarten students created an egg protector for their Humpty Dumpty egg drop.
Spring Fine Arts Programs:
4/21 – HS Steel Bands
4/26 – HS Choirs
5/3 – JH Band / Art
5/4 – HS Jazz & Concert Bands / Art
5/5 – JH Choir
5/9 – State St. Band
5/10 – Economy Band
5/11 – Highland Band / Art
5/17 – State St. Chorus / Art
5/19 – Economy Chorus / Art
5/26 – Highland Chorus