Read how the A2i Initiative has enhanced our Kindergarten and First Grade Classrooms at Highland and State Street!
Important Upcoming Dates
The Ambridge Area School District Board of School Directors have changed the date of the December Board meeting. The Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 immediately following the Reorganization meeting and Meeting and Discuss meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM in the High School Media Center.
Friday, December 21, 2018
HALF Day – Early Dismissal for students
Elementary – 12:00 P.M. Dismissal
Secondary – 11:00 A.M. Dismissal
On behalf of the Board of School Directors and Superintendent, Dr. Jo Welter, We wish you all a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season!
The Ambridge Area Board of School Directors has a new member. On Wednesday, Aug. 15, the Board appointed Cathy Fischer to fill the vacancy left when former Board member Kelly Fischer resigned her seat at the July 18 School Board meeting.
The Board received three applications from individuals interested in serving the remainder of Kelly Fisher’s term, which runs through November 2019. Candidate interviews were conducted by the Board prior to the decision to select Cathy Fischer to fill the vacancy.
Cathy Fischer is a parent in the District who has been active in the schools and community. She successfully spearheaded the Highland Elementary School PTO for several years and has established meaningful relationships with local and elected officials to positively benefit the Ambridge Area School District and its students.
“I am a forward-thinking individual who takes initiative to identify challenges,” she said. “My strong passion for our District, my love of public education and my keen ability to build quality relationships within the community will serve as valuable assets to the School Board.”
Mrs. Fischer said she is capable of and willing to “. . . work closely with other Board members and Administrators to create a shared vision for the best possible solutions for a successful District.”
Ambridge School Board President Scott Angus said the Board is fortunate to have someone as dedicated to public education as Mrs. Fischer joining their ranks. “We would like to thank the three individuals who expressed interest in filling the seat,” he said. “We feel confident moving forward that Mrs. Fischer will work diligently to fulfill the best interests of our District and our community.”
Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter said she looks forward to working with Mrs. Fischer in her new role. “Mrs. Fischer is well known in the community as a strong supporter of public education and an advocate for our children,” she said. “As a parent with children in the District, I know she is dedicated to the success of not only her own children, but that of every child in our schools.”
Coming soon! The 2018-2019 Activities Calendar. AASD families will receive the calendar via the USPS before the start of the school year. Families who do not receive a calendar by the start of the school year should contact their school office.
On Thursday, June 28, 2018, The President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held a reception entitled Open Door Day. The invitation was open to individuals and organizations from the Croatian diaspora as well as those from the Croatian minorities from neighboring countries. Also, due to the events of the 52nd Croatian Fraternal Union’s Tamburitza Festival taking place in Zagreb, Croatia, participants of the Festival and their family and friends from the United States were also invited.
Two Ambridge Area School District students, 6th Grader Mackenzie Keber and 7th Grader, Gianna Petalino were in attendance at this Open Door Day Reception. Mackenzie and Gianna are members of the Jadran Beaver Valley Junior Tamburitzans that traveled to Croatia this past June to perform in the 52nd annual Croatian Fraternal Union’s Tamburitza Festival. They spent 12 days touring the country and learning many historical facts about the country and its heritage.
One of the many highlights of this tour was being able to be in attendance at the Presidental Palace for this Open Door Day Reception. The first floor of the Presidential Palace was open to the guests for their viewing. After listening to remarks by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and a musical and dance performance from local groups dressed in traditional costumes, our students got a chance to meet the president and take pictures with her.
Summer is almost over! The 2018-2019 School Year for AASD students begins on Wednesday, Aug. 29. School supply lists for students by grade level are available below. Please click on the link that corresponds to your child's grade level for the supplies they will need to start the year. Additional supplies may be requested by individual teachers once the school year begins.
The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce that it will be offering 4th Grade Band and Chorus to students for the 2018-2019 School Year.
The format for the 4th grade program will be similar to programming for 5th and 6th graders, and will include small group instructional time for like instruments. Students interested in learning more about the 4th grade band and chorus program will receive informational packets during the first week of school.
The Ambridge Area Board of School Directors is accepting letters of interest to fill a vacancy on the Board.
The vacancy was created when Board member Kelly Fischer resigned at the July 18 School Board meeting. Fischer, who was not present at the meeting, provided a resignation letter to Board President Scott Angus. Fischer cited work obligations as the reason for her resignation.
“I relish the time I spent serving the school district and I will miss it in the future,” Ms. Fischer said in her resignation letter.
The Pennsylvania School Code outlines the following requirements for candidates wishing to fill school board vacancies:
Must be a citizen;
Must be at least 18 years old;
Must be of good moral character; and
Must be a resident of school district for at least one year prior to the date of election or appointment.
Mr. Angus said the School Board will review all applications for the position at the August 8 meeting, with interviews conducted between August 8-15. A final candidate will be selected at the August 15 meeting. The new Board member will serve the remainder of Ms. Fischer’s term, which expires in November 2019.
A unique program to recycle old fire hose is being used to help ensure the safety and security of students and staff in the Ambridge Area School District.
Thanks to a donation from the Borough of Ambridge and the Ambridge Fire Department, the recycled hose is gaining new life as a way to additionally secure hydraulic doors from being forcefully opened during an active shooter or other emergency situation in which the buildings need to be secured or locked down.
Old sections of the hose are cut down into “sleeves” that are then slipped over the hydraulic hardware of these kinds of doors, locking them in place so they do not open. Each old fire hose can be repurposed to create roughly 100 sleeves. “This is a truly unique way to recycle old fire hose that no longer has a life or service to the Borough anymore,” said Borough Manager Joseph Kauer. “The Borough and the Fire Department are pleased to be able to partner with the District to help provide this added bit of security to their facilities.”
The sleeves are just one of many things the District is doing to keep students and staff safe. Other measures already in place include, but are not limited to:
- Two Police Officers are stationed in the District – one at Ambridge Middle School and one at Ambridge High School – throughout the school day. The officers are available for use throughout the District as needed.
- Exterior doors for all buildings are locked during the school day; all visitors are required to enter and exit through main entrances.
- The District employs the use of the Raptor Visitor Management System in all buildings. Visitors are required to provide state-issued identification upon arrival, which is then used to conduct a brief background check before a visitor is granted admission to District buildings.
- Students at Ambridge Area High School are scanned by metal detectors and bags are searched prior to entry into the building each morning.
- Additional security cameras have been placed in locations throughout the District.
- All employees are required to wear District-issued photo identification badges during the school day.
Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter said the District is appreciative of the additional security feature and the opportunity to work closely with the Borough and Fire Department. “It truly takes a community to keep our children safe. We are appreciative of the efforts of the Borough and the Fire Department to help us with this most important responsibility.”
For more information:
Ambridge Area School District
Media Contact: Shari Berg, Public Relations Consultant
Borough of Ambridge
Media Contact: Joseph Kauer, ICMA-CM
The Ambridge Area School District will operate three PA Pre-K Counts Classroom servicing three-year old and four-year old students. Four-year old students have first priority. The School District is accepting applications for the Pre-K classroom. Our program will service twenty students per classroom. If you are interested in the program and meet the requirements, applications are located in the elementary offices and the Attendance Office at the Senior High School. Only students with complete applications will be considered for the program. When completing the application, please bring the required documentation.
The Pre-K Counts Program serves both breakfast and lunch. Transportation is provided for all students. Our program is recognized by the State for offering high quality instruction in all areas of early childhood development—social, academic, gross motor, fine motor, and behavior. In addition, a wide range of services are offered to our families who participate in the program.
Highland Elementary has one Pre-K classroom
State Street Elementary has one Pre-K classroom
Economy Elementary has one Pre-K classroom.
The Ambridge Area School Board of Directors approved a 2018-2019 Operating Budget Wednesday evening that will enhance academic opportunities District-wide, while affording much-needed upgrades to infrastructure and technology. The budget was approved by a vote of 5 to 2.
Budget highlights include:
- Upgrades to the Middle School wireless service at a cost of $38,103;
- Four new laptop carts for the schools and a new laptop lab for the Middle School at a cost of $140,465;
- Purchase of 30 new laptops and 200 new iPads at a cost of $166,995; and
- New projectors purchased for $75,190 and existing projectors upgraded for $17,000.
- Thanks to an E-Rate grant secured by District Technology Supervisor Ms. Lori Heim, 80 percent of the cost of the wireless upgrades at the Middle School will be covered.
- Upgrading the security operating system;
- New and replacement cameras District-wide;
- District radios to improve communication among buildings/administrators; and
- Card access for elevators.
- New Grade 6-8 Math Textbooks;
- New Grade 3-12 Social Studies Textbooks;
- New High School Physics, Honors, Chemistry, Biology and Earth Science Textbooks;
- NMSI grant ($750,000) used to align and increase the rigor of the science, math and English curriculum District-wide. The terms of the three-year grant require the District to contribute $25,000 annually for the life of the grant to be used for staff development. 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; and
- Assessment to Instruction (A2i) grant that will be used to help all students in the District reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. A2i is an instructional tool that was developed and evaluated for more than a decade with the support of the Institute of Educational Sciences and the National Institutes of Health. It combines technology and
professional development to accomplish the goal of increased literacy of children in grades K-3. Highland Elementary will be 100 percent funded and State Street Elementary will be
50 percent funded through the program. Only 174 schools in the nation were invited to participate in the grant program.
“Some of these textbooks date back to 1990,” said Mr. Doug McCausland, Director of District Operations. The new math series is budgeted at $95,832 and the Science textbooks total $116,000. The District is able to pay for the Social Studies textbooks, totaling $61,048, over a two-year period.
Under the direction of AASD Facilities Manager Mr. David Matzie, more than $600,000 in capital improvements are built into the new budget and include:
- Locker replacement at Middle School - $89,720
- Patching at Economy Elementary - $150,000
Flooring and Window Coverings at Middle School - $56,490
- Stage Lighting at Middle School - $40,000
- Bridge repairs at High School - $75,000
- Bathroom replacements/upgrades at Middle School - $276,500
- Bathroom sink sensors and mixing valves at High School - $11,500
- Gymnasium painting, backboards and lighting at Middle School - $120,000
- Furniture replacement at Middle School - $75,000
“We’re moving in the right direction. We’re attacking maintenance issues that haven’t been addressed in years,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent. “We’re making use of the staff we have and taking care of the facilities we have while being good stewards of taxpayer money.”
The $49.49 million budget includes a millage increase of 2.1409 mills, or 2.7 percent. With the increase, the new millage rate will be 81.435 mills. One mill in the District generates approximately $267,000 in tax revenue. The median assessed value for a home in AASD is $23,450. With the new millage rate, the increased tax liability will be $50.21 annually.
“No district likes to adopt a budget with a tax increase,” said Dr. Welter. “We have done a lot to reduce costs within reason but are left with the reality that a tax increase is necessary if we want to provide a quality education to our students.”
Among the cost-saving efforts the District made prior to presenting the final budget included:
- Reducing, through attrition, five professional staffing positions, at a savings of $743,028;
- Anticipated profits of the AASD Food Services Department of an estimated $150,000;
- Savings in health insurance costs through the transition to the Allegheny School Health Consortium.
The 2018-2019 budget is available on the District website here.
Ambridge Area Middle School will have a familiar face at the helm when doors are opened for the 2018-2019 School Year.
Ambridge Area School Board of Directors approved the transfer of Mr. Thomas McKelvey to the position of Middle School Principal at the June 13 meeting. He currently serves in the position of State Street Elementary Principal. He will begin his new role as Middle School Principal on July 1.
Mr. McKelvey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Special Education and Middle School Level Science from Slippery Rock University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He received his Master of Science in Education, K-12 Principal Certification from California University and most recently has been accepted into the Doctoral Program at Point Park University.
He began his professional career in the Beaver Area School District as a special education and general educator, and also served as a Behavior Consultant for the Watson Institute. He also has served as an Assistant Principal at Woodland Hills Academy (K-8). Mr. McKelvey is certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention.
His awards and honors include but are not limited to: Discovery Educator’s Network Star Educator, PTA Extra Care for Kids Award Recipient, Distinguished Service and Scholastic Excellence Award, Community Service Recognition Award and Golden Key International Honor Society.
“We are pleased to have Mr. McKelvey continue to serve the Ambridge Area School District,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent. “He is a caring and committed educator. He is a person of great integrity. He will serve the students, teachers and community of our new middle school with enthusiasm and dedication.”
Mrs. Jo Ann Hoover, current principal at Highland Elementary School, was approved for a transfer to fill the position being vacated by Mr. McKelvey at State Street Elementary. Her starting date is yet to be determined.
Mrs. Hoover is a graduate of Slippery Rock University, with Bachelor degrees in Elementary and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Special Education degree from Duquesne University and Principal Certification from Slippery Rock University. She previously served in the Pittsburgh Public School System for 24 years. She is a certified trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. During her tenure at Highland Elementary, she implemented a schoolwide positive behavior support program, which reduced the number of discipline referrals and suspensions. “She will provide stability and continuity for State Street as Mr. McKelvey transitions to the Middle School,” said Dr. Welter. “We are very fortunate to have her expertise.”
The Board also approved the hiring of Dr. Laura Burns to fill the position being vacated by Mrs. Hoover at Highland Elementary School. Her starting date is yet to be determined.
Dr. Burns earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. She received a Master of Public Management with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University. Most recently, she received her Doctor of Education and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pittsburgh. She previously served as a Social Studies teacher in the Baldwin Whitehall School District and as an Assistant Principal at both the Carlynton Junior-Senior High School and the Pine-Richland High School.
Dr. Burns’ professional honors include: memberships on the Pennsylvania State Social Studies Curriculum Committee and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Study Tour. Also, Dr. Burns was a recipient of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia Grant.
“Dr. Burns is committed to improving teaching and learning in the Ambridge Area School District,” said Dr. Welter. “We are pleased to have her as a part of our team.”
For Girls & Boys Entering Grades K-7
Ambridge High School
June 4th - June 8th, 2018
(9am - 12 noon)
Camp Registration to Begins Monday at 8:15am
|CAMP FEATURES||CAMPERS RECEIVE|
|Fundamentals Emphasized||Camp T-shirt|
|Great Individual Attention||Great Instruction|
Shooting/Passing/Dribbling/Ball Handling/Rebounding/Free Throw/Full Court Drills
Camp Director: Coach Nikki Santiago
Student Camp Directors: Dasha Jackson & Jordan Swartz