Indiana, PA - Indiana County

APOLLO RIDGE: School Board to vote on updates to policy

by JULIE E. MARTIN jmartin@indianagazette.net on September 18, 2013 10:56 AM

SPRING CHURCH — In preparation for the Pennsylvania Board of Education’s cyclical monitoring audit of the district’s special-education program, the Apollo-Ridge school board will vote next week on updates to school policy.

The policies to be added, however, are not necessarily new, according to Superintendent Matt Curci. The changes, rather, will better organize and formally put into place policies the district already adheres to, he said.

Policies to be adopted include those covering special education in general and also areas such as discipline, behavioral support and confidentiality, as they specifically relate to the district’s special-education program.

The updates are ones that, according to Curci, will put a “fresh, revised policy in one place.”

“It’s efficient and more workable,” he said.

The policies align with those of other schools, as well as state and national standards.

The state board of education’s Bureau of Special Education will perform the review over the course of the current school year. All public schools and charter schools undergo the audit on a rotating basis, according to Curci.

“It’s not meant to be a ‘gotcha,’” he said. “It’s in order to help you and make sure you do the right thing.”

The evaluation includes self-assessment; administrator, teacher, parent and student interviews; classroom observations; and surveys and file reviews.

In coming weeks, those at the district will send out information to the parents of students in the special education program. Officials said there are 193 students in the program. The board members will vote on adding the policy updates at their next meeting to be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the high school’s community room.

In other business:

• The school board’s annual reorganization meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the high school’s community room.

School directors agreed to move the meeting from its previously scheduled date of Dec. 2 because school is closed that day for the Thanksgiving break.

• The district will hold an auction at 5 p.m. Oct. 5 behind the high school by the maintenance garages. Items to be auctioned off include desks, chairs and shelving which schools in the district no longer use. The sale is open to the public.

• Curci announced that Indiana Area School District will terminate its wrestling co-operative agreement with Apollo-Ridge next year. The agreement will end due to Indiana Area being under class review, according to Curci. The review evaluates athletic team size and determines, based upon that, what class they will compete in. Currently, Apollo-Ridge has one student in the wrestling program.

• Plans are in the works to create a STEAM center in the former middle school library, Curci reported.

The new space will create a space dedicated to the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The school district is in the process of seeking grants and other resources as well as assessing the project, he said.

The middle school library’s materials have been moved into the high school library, which students at the two schools now share.

The room already has some equipment, according to officials. It was used last year for an evening class for students from Lenape Tech.

Ultimately, the room will be available not only for Apollo-Ridge teachers and students, but also to provide educational opportunities to the public, such as computer classes.

• The Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation will once again host exercise classes as a fundraiser.

Yoga classes begin 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the elementary school band room. The sessions will take place every Tuesday and are open to the public.

Classes cost $5. Those interested can sign up the night of the class or register ahead of time by calling (724) 478-6010.

Instructors will donate $1 to the foundation for every student who signs up.

A Zumba class will be scheduled for later in the fall.

• School board President Greg Primm announced that the Apollo-Ridge marching band will play in the IUP homecoming parade Oct. 5. This will be the first time in many years that the band has performed there, according to Primm.

Since last school year, he added, the band has doubled in size.

“Now we’re going to homecoming and I’m just happy about that,” he said. “All the kids are excited to be going.”

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