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New math plan comes to fruition in State College

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2011

BY ED MAHON

State College Area elementary students will have a new main math program this fall.

The change is more than two years in the making.

“Now comes the real hard work. We have to implement a new math program,” said Radio Park Elementary School Principal Deirdre Bauer, who served on a committee that reviewed curriculums. “But it’s also very exciting.”

The State College Area school board earlier this month approved purchasing the materials for the new program, Math Expressions, which educators have described as having a more balanced approach than the previous curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data and Space.

“The community group really wanted to have a (program) that would be able to maintain some of the conceptual strengths of Investigations but also provide some more direct instruction,” Bauer said.

Read more: New math plan comes to fruition in State College.

Bellefonte teachers, staff take pay freeze

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

BY JUNE 16, 2011

BY ED MAHON

Teachers in the Bellefonte Area School District agreed to take a one-year pay freeze and pay more for health care as part of a new contract that board members approved Tuesday night.

“They were all willing to step up,” said board member Bob Lumley-Sapanski.

The teachers weren’t the only ones to accept a pay freeze. Support staff members and administrators did the same. That will save the district more than $400,000 next year, said board member George Stone.

Under the four-year contract, teachers will receive an average of a 2.5 percent pay raise in the following years.

The contract includes several significant changes for health care.

“We were in a position where our old health care system was somewhat unsustainable in costs,” Stone said.

Read more: Bellefonte teachers, staff take pay freeze.

Categories: Bellefonte, Finances, June 2011

State College board defends superintendent salary

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

THURSDAY, June 16, 2011

By Ed Mahon

State College Area school board members defended their decision to pay the new superintendent about $15,000 more than the district paid the previous one.

“The feedback from almost all of the constituent groups was ‘Look, this is the guy. You need to get this guy,’ ” said board member Jim Leous.

Board members said Robert O’Donnell was the right guy because of his experience working in a similar school district, partnering with university officials to improve education in schools, and focusing on collaboration.

O’Donnell, who’s currently the assistant superintendent for elementary education in the Hempfield School District, will have a starting salary of $169,000. The previous superintendent, Rich Mextorf, had a salary of about $154,000 when he left the district in December 2010.

Board members said the increase in pay was justified for several reasons.

Read more: State College board defends superintendent salary.

The sky’s no limit for Philipsburg-Osceola technology teacher

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011

BY ED MAHON

PHILIPSBURG — The wind blew, the balloon swayed, and Randy Edelman felt a little nervous.

If everything went as planned, the weather balloon would launch between 60,000 and 90,000 feet into the air and his students would end up with photos that showed the curvature of the earth, the thin veil of its atmosphere and the black of space.

But there were several ways for the plan to go wrong.

“We were really worried that it was going to just blow straight out into the trees and pop, and that would be it,” he said of the balloon. “Or get tangled up right at the ball field.”

Edelman is a technology education teacher at Philipsburg- Osceola Area Junior High School. He owns a blue T-shirt that’s a riff on the famous “I Love New York” one — in his case, the “New York” is replaced with “science” and the image of the heart is replaced with the

symbol of an atom. His classroom has posters of a Mars rover, LEGO engineering projects and a guide to green building design.

He got the idea to launch a weather balloon into the stratosphere a year ago after reading a newspaper article about someone in England doing the same. Then he learned MIT students did accomplishing the project after spending only $150.

“I thought it was going to be cool, because we would get a lot of interesting pictures that we wouldn’t usually be able to take,” said 13-year-old Neena Selfridge, a student in his independent study class.

Read more: The sky’s no limit for Philipsburg-Osceola technology teacher.

CPI grads get ready for real world

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2011

BY ED MAHON

PLEASANT GAP — Tricia Reich has fixed transmissions, changed oil, helped rebuild a 1956 Chevy, put a V8 engine into a Fiero and took care of the struts on a Ford.

“We did pretty much anything and everything,” said Reich.

But she noted that she won’t be around to see her fellow classmates at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology convert a regular car into a hybrid.

“We just didn’t get to that before I graduated,” she said. Reich, 18, was one of 138 students from Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte Area, and Penns Valley Area high schools honored Tuesday night at CPI’s Senior Certificate and Awards Program. In all, they completed 19 programs, including culinary arts, dental assisting, medical science technology and carpentry.

“Being a graduate of CPI, I think, will open doors for you,” said Dan Fisher, superintendent of the Bald Eagle Area School District. “It won’t keep them open. You have to keep them open.”

Read more: CPI grads get ready for real world.

Caption: Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology graduates Anna Krishak, left, and Tricia Reich, right, of Penns Valley are recognized at the 2011 Senior Certificate and Awards Program as the first students ever from CPI to receive thier state, national, and worldwide Automotive Science Technology certificates before graduation. The program was held at CPI on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. CDT/Joshua Sykes

State College to expand iPad program at elementary level

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011

BY STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Dozens of preschool and kindergarten teachers are adding iPads to their classroom stocks of pencils and paints in an effort to hook young learners with the newest technology craze at the same time — or even before — their parents adopt it.

Primary students in several Chicago-area schools geared up this year with the touch-screen tablets, an expense school officials defend in an era of tight budgets by citing how intuitive they are for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds raised in a world of ubiquitous technology and constant connectivity.

“This is teaching to their world,” said Superintendent Linda Vieth, of Sunset Ridge School District 29. “Students still need finger paints and blocks. They need real books and paper in their hands. But this is another tool.”

They’re not the only ones.

State College Area School District piloted the iPads in kindergarten, first- and second-grade classrooms at Easterly Parkway Elementary School this year. Next year, the district plans to spend about $200,000 so all eight elementary schools will have four carts to share in those grades, as well as the library.

“Often times, when we start on projects like this, there’s quite a few negatives and quite a few positives, and it’s not always a slam dunk on whether you move forward or not,” said Tom Mincemoyer, the district’s director of technology. “This one was just so overwhelmingly positive. It’s why we just moved forward so rapidly.”

Read more: State College to expand iPad program at elementary level.