Board Briefs

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JANUARY 2019 BOARD BRIEF
STEEL VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
 

Memorial Books

The School Board acknowledged the passing of Anna Mae Kenavey, mother-in-law of Dr. Lori Kenavey, instructional resource teacher at Park School; Shirley Miller, retired physical education teacher; Gail Ann Barr, mother of Jennifer Vinay, high school yearbook sponsor, mother-in-law of Winnie Stegena, Barrett cafeteria staff, and grandmother of Joley Stegena, high school custodian; William C. Mayhugh, father of Gwen Berchok, high school math teacher; Thomas Condosta, father of Dan Condosta, high school physical education and health teacher; Dorothy Ankrom, cousin of Diana Borges, Director of Pupil Personnel and Special Services; Rosemarie H. Kondas, mother of Kimberly Weightman, public relations specialist, and aunt of Denise Williams, high school teacher; Robert B. Yee, father of Cynthia Levick, English Language Learners teacher; Robert J. Wawrzeniak, grandfather of Bryan Macuga, Director of Federal Programs and Secondary Campus Principal; William Willoughby, uncle of Brian Savolskis, high school math teacher; and Heather Graham Short, Steel Valley Class of 1990.  It was moved by Mr. Olson and seconded by Mrs. Yuhas to place a selection of appropriate books into the school libraries in their memory.

Board President’s Report

Mr. Bulger announced that there was a full house for the meeting, and he thanked the audience members for attending.  

Last Thursday there was a fight in one of the high school hallways that brought the school district some negative attention.  He applauded the teachers, administrators, security and police for handling the situation quickly.

He took the opportunity to point out the positive activities happening in the school district.  High School students are taking up a collection of school uniforms, hygiene items and toiletries to stock The Caring Closet in the High School Nurse’s office.  This project was started by The Future is Mine student group and shows the great community we have in Steel Valley.  Another donation project led by students was Gavin’s Memory Mittens, in which students donated winter apparel for fellow students, which was distributed locally.

Staff and students are raising money for a college scholarship in memory of Mr. Randy Zirkle.  Best of the Batch Foundation invites volunteers every year to wrap Christmas gifts to be given to families in the Steel Valley community.  There are so many ways to give back to people in need, and our staff and students are all about giving back.

Students Todd Hill and Brady Miller have been recruited and committed to play at the collegiate level. Mr. Bulger wished that the media would focus on the good things like these.

Student Representatives’ Reports

Miss Isabella Furrick, senior representative to the School Board, announced the middle school is selling Ironmen Cards.  These cards give discounts at local businesses and can be purchased for $10.   On January 11, 8th grade students completed a STREAM competition titled: “Anything That Floats!” 

Stand Together held an event in the middle school cafeteria titled “Merry GRINCHmas.”  Students had a great time with the photo booth, PING challenges, and Pledge Singing while learning about mental illness and substance abuse.

Math tutoring takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays for students in need of help with their math classes.

Many high school students attended this year’s semi-formal dance on Saturday, January 6, at Westwood Golf Club.  The evening was very successful.  The students had a lot of fun and represented Steel Valley well with good behavior.

A new semester began on January 16, and report cards from the second nine weeks were distributed on Wednesday.

On Thursday, January 17, students participated in ALICE training where they were given tools and skills that may be helpful in the event of an active shooter.

The middle and high school received a $500 Power of Peers grant through The Future is Mine that will focus on career awareness in both buildings.

Two students, Channing Griffin and Nikki Csider, were selected for the prestigious PMEA District Band. This is an incredible opportunity for them to play classical pieces with students from high schools all around Allegheny County.  The festival is currently taking place at Burrell High School.

Members of the senior class took a trip to Hidden Valley for snow tubing, and they had a blast!  Thank you to Mrs. McCallister for organizing the trip and to Mrs. Besh, Ms. Dolton, and Mr. McCallister for chaperoning.  

Also today, the High School Student Council invited singer songwriter, Ethan Sak, to talk to students who are interested in music, songwriting, poetry, and other creative arts.  The students really enjoyed having this opportunity to talk to someone in the music industry.  They described the experience as “refreshing, open, and inspiring.”

In recognition of School Board Appreciation Month, the High School Student Council thanked the School Board for the countless hours they put in and for always having the students’ best interests at heart. The School Board enjoyed some cake compliments of Student Council.  

Junior School Board Representative Channing Griffin reported that intramurals are occurring at Park Elementary School.  The Carnegie Science Center presented a student assembly on electricity.  Perfect Attendance Award assembly for the second nine weeks was held on Tuesday.  Kindergarten students are looking forward to their field trip to the Children's Museum tomorrow.

Last year, the School Wide Positive Behavior Support Program at Park School received a perfect score on its state evaluation that focused on school culture, student behavior, communication, and school safety.  The School Wide team has been selected to make a presentation at a regional conference next week to talk about the great things happening at Park Elementary School!   Mrs. Nicole Strom, Mrs. Brandi Chalus, Mrs. Lori Mehalik, Mrs. Jennifer Awenowicz, Mrs. Katie Pugh, Mrs. Becky O'Shell, and Mrs. Holli Bobick will be presenting, and we congratulate them and wish them well.

At Barrett Elementary School, the PTO meeting was held on January 3, and the upcoming Cash Bash to be held in March was discussed.  The Moms and Muffins program had over 150 family participants during the PTO sponsored event.  The Queen of Hearts completed a reading program for the kindergarten students on January 16. 

Barrett Elementary School parents learned valuable math related skills at the Title 1 Math Night held January 24.

Superintendent’s Report

Mr. Wehrer congratulated the Varsity Ironmen football team for winning the WPIAL AA championship, and he added that the team has been conference champions two out of three years and state champions in 2016.  Student athletes Robert Fowler and Riont’e Carter accepted the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Varsity Football Team.  

Mr. Wehrer noted that January is School Board Recognition Month, and what the School Board does is worthy of appreciation.  Every January we take time to celebrate and recognize the vital work they do on behalf of our students, families, staff and community.

Mr. Walsh, Barrett Principal, thanked the Board for their selflessness and showed Barrett’s gratitude with a short video.  

Park School students read a poem entitled, “LUNCH is in the Bag,” thanking Board members for all the things they do.  These students distributed a bag lunch and other mementos to the School Board.  Dr. Thomas Shaughnessy, Principal at Park Elementary School, Teachers Jill Callahan, Michelle Blasko and Tammy Law and two students from each grade delivered the presentation.  Certificates of Appreciation were given to Maria Colasante, Vanesa Colasante, Callen Sullivan, Addison Walters, Connor McNutt, Giana Tozzi, Austin Blick, Ashley Bulger, Aubrey Seible, and Talia Tozzi.

Mr. Macuga, Secondary Campus Principal, thanked the School Board for its support when they are making tough decisions.  

Ms. Erin Noblet and the Middle School Student Government created two iMovies showing the Board members volunteering in the schools.  The second video showed the Board members’ children thanking their parents as well as teachers and students thanking them.  The movies were created by Lily Wright, Abigail Novak, Kylie Salopek, Natalie Twigg, Aubrey Guciardo, and Abigail Fitzgerald.

The STREAM team created an iMovie to thank the School Board, and it was shown to the School Board members.  Mrs. Heather Clark, Gifted Teacher, stated that the STREAM program has been running for three years providing hands-on creative learning for students.  Some of the programs have been Anything that Floats, Crash Test Dummies, Escape Artists, Bridges, and Mon Valley Mayhem.  She encouraged folks to check out our STREAM program.

Last but not least, members of the High School Art Club made personalized ceramic mugs, which included a beautiful plant. Art Club Officers Katie Proof, President; Angelina Graham, Vice President and Danielle Long, Secretary/Treasurer, presented them to each Board member.  

Congratulations to Jeff Blasko, Steel Valley Graduate, who was recently hired by the Cleveland Browns as Assistant Offensive Line Coach.  Jeff is the son of Denise Blasko who works as a paraprofessional at Park School and is the brother-in-law of Michelle Blasko, special education teacher.  Jeff’s football career began here at Steel Valley with Ed Tozzi.

Mr. Wehrer noted there is research that shows adolescents benefit from a later starting time.  Parents with students at every school level have difficulty dropping off their children at each building.  Perhaps a later starting time for the High School would provide more time for sleep for students and make drop offs easier for families. 

Director of Pupil Personnel and Special Services’ Report

Mrs. Borges announced that a seminar on Making Inclusive Education a Reality for Your Child is being offered at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit on Monday, February 11, beginning at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Learn how the law supports inclusive education and its benefits and learn ways to become involved in your Local Task Force and services that PEAL and the Education Law Center provide to families. Information flyers are available in the Pupil Personnel and Special Services Office.

Director of Academics, Information & Technology’s Report

Mr. Colebank announced that this is the most important grading period for students.  At the end of the third nine-week grading period, the students’ QPAs will be determined for class rank.

He discussed the actions being taken to increase awareness of allergies.  The administrators completed CPR training.  The Professional Development Committee will continue to plan trainings for all staff on signs of allergic reactions.  Mr. Colebank applied to Mylan Laboratories for free epi pens, and parents are being made aware of smart choices for snacks and treats.

Mr. Colebank announced that the School Board would be creating a full-time districtwide school nurse position.

Solicitor’s Report

The Board approved a realty tax refund payment to Richard J. Hudson, Jr., and Mr. Ruggero Morselli in the amount of $1,269.20 on the 2017 realty taxes paid on realty located at 137 East 13th Avenue, Homestead, PA, Block and Lot 131-C-00001. Meeting Minutes The Board approved the following meeting minutes: 

  • October 22, 2018 worksession
  • October 25, 2018 regular meeting
  • December 3, 2018 reorganization meeting
  • December 3, 2018 worksession
  • December 6, 2018 regular meeting
  • December 12, 2018 special meeting

Financial Management

The Board approved the following financial items:

  •  General Fund invoices for December 2018 in the amount of $522,118.84
  • General Fund hand checks for November 2018 in the amount of $551,136.26
  • General Fund hand checks for December 2018 in the amount of $1,499,183.73
  • General Fund Revenue Report for November 2018
  • General Fund Expenditure Report for November 2018
  • General Fund Balance Sheet for November 2018
  • General Fund Revenue Report for December 2018
  • General Fund Expenditure Report for December 2018
  • General Fund Balance Sheet for December 2018
  • Food Service invoices for Nov. and Dec. 2018 in the amount of $89,417.59
  • Food Service Revenue Report for November 2018
  • Food Service Expenditure Report for November 2018
  • Food Service Balance Sheet for November 2018
  • Food Service Revenue Report for December 2018
  • Food Service Expenditure Report for December 2018
  • Food Service Balance Sheet for December 2018
  • Payroll Funding Transfers for November and December 2018
  • External Groups Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for October 2018
  • High School Student Activities Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report or November 2018
  • Middle School Activities Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for November 2018
  • Athletics Fund Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for November 2018
  • External Groups Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for November 2018
  • High School Student Activities Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for December 2018
  • Middle School Activities Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for December 2018
  • Athletics Fund Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for December 2018
  • External Groups Balance Sheet and Disbursement Report for December 2018
  • Capital Projects Balance Sheet for December 2018
  • Capital Projects Revenue for December 2018
  • Established a Capital Reserve Fund under 53 PS 1432 to be utilized to address future capital, maintenance and construction needs
  • Adopted the attached resolution titled, Accelerated Budget Opt Out Resolution Certifying Tax Rate Within Inflation Index •    Authorized the transfer of $2,000,000 into a Capital Reserve Fund

Operations

The Board approved the facility rental requests as presented 

Co-Curricular Leadership 

The Board approved the fundraising requests as presented. 

Special Assignments

The Board approved the following items: 

  • Appointed Daniel Rojtas as the Steel Valley Board of School Director’s representative for a two-year term on the Steel Valley Enterprise Zone Corporation Board of Directors through December 31, 2020
  • Appointed Thomas Olson as a representative on the Joint Advisory Committee of the Steel Center for Career and Technical Education and the Mon Valley School for a three-year term
  • Held second reading and adopted revisions to Policy 227 Controlled Substances/Paraphernalia
  • Held first reading of revisions to Policy 819 Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Response
  • Held first reading of revisions to Policy 246 School Wellness

Mrs. Yuhas suggested that the Board Committee hold a meeting to discuss the School Wellness policy. Mr. Bulger thanked Mr. Olson and Mr. Rojtas for serving on an additional Board, which can be challenging and time consuming.

Educational Leadership

The School Board accepted the following donations: 

  • $70,000 from the Campbell Educational and Community Foundation for wellness and athletic items
  • Flowers and balloons by Colasante’s Flowers in the Park for varsity girls volleyball senior recognition in the amount of $29.42

Communications and Technology

Mrs. Ligeros has been in touch with the PTO Presidents to open communication between parents and the school district.

Personnel Management

The Board approved the following items: 

  • Appointed Jason Mamajek to a full-time, long-term substitute teaching position with a 2018-2019 assignment of Technology Education Teacher at the Middle School/Senior High School at a salary of Master’s Step 4 ($50,213) according to Policy No. 328.1 plus benefits as outlined in the current SVEA collective bargaining agreement effective on a mutually agreed upon date, contingent upon passing all pre-employment screenings
  • Hired Gabrielle Olson as a day-to-day substitute teacher for the 2018-2019 school year at the approved daily rate, contingent upon receipt of Act 34, passing all pre-employment screenings, which must be completed within 30 days, and receipt of emergency certification and in compliance with Act 168
  • Family medical leave of absence for LeeAnn Doyle retroactive to December 18, 2018, not to exceed 60 days in duration
  • Hired Joseph Faiello as a substitute custodian and Jennifer Perhac as a substitute paraprofessional at the rate of $9.00 per hour and no benefits, contingent upon passing all pre-employment screenings and in compliance with Act 168, which must be completed within 30 days
  • Maureen Hanley, retroactive to January 8, 2019, and Susan Agardy to substitute as secretaries or paraprofessionals at the rate of $9.00 per hour and no benefits
  • Hired Karen Barnett as a substitute in food service at the rate of $8.50 per hour and no benefits, contingent upon passing all pre-employment screenings and in compliance with Act 168, which must be completed within 30 days
  • Leah Barnett as a volunteer for Varsity Girls Soccer for the 2018-2019 school year
  • Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Rodney Steele from the position of Head Varsity Football Coach effective immediately
  • Created one professional position with a 2018-2019 assignment of District School Nurse for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year
  • Adopted a resolution to authorize the Administration to cooperate with the Borough of West Homestead in providing a Junior Council Person Program

Recent News

The Boys’ Basketball Playoff Game vs. Beaver Falls will be on Saturday, February 16 at 12:00 at Keystone Oaks High School. Pre-sale tickets will be on sale on line at...

Snow Make-Up Days

February 12, 2019

Due to school cancellations two weeks ago, our school calendar has changed for the next week.  Originally, students were going to be off on Friday for an in-service day and off on Monday for Presidents’ Day.  Instead, Friday, February 15, 2019, is now going to be an early dismissal for students, and Monday, February 18, 2019, is going to be a full day of school for students.  Please note these changes on your calendars: students will have an early dismissal on Friday and a full day of school on Monday.

A letter from Mr. Wehrer about student safety.