CONEMAUGH TOWNSHIP — Administrators outlined changes to the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District’s gifted program to parents amid confusion regarding the program at a special meeting and curriculum meeting Wednesday.
Beginning this school year, there will be “nominal changes” to the program, said Ian Magness, assistant superintendent.
These changes include no longer having gifted children pulled out of the classroom, he said. Rather, these students will receive appropriate coursework with other peers — who are not necessarily gifted but can do the challenges — in the classroom.
This is mainly a change in scheduling for the gifted teachers, Magness said.
This practice will also allow teachers to share strategies and lesson planning.
But some parents, including Teresa Allshouse, expressed concern that the gifted students would receive less instruction time as teachers are pulled away for other students.
Magness refuted her concerns and urged parents to keep an open line of communication with him regarding any concerns with changes to the program as it develops in the beginning the year.
In other business, the board:
• Approved an agreement with ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 to provide a driver’s education program.
The program consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training, including driver examination. Students will attend either 12 days of 2½ hours per class or 15 days of two hours per class. They can also enroll in ARIN’s Online Driver Education Class at any time during the school year.
The classes can be provided during the school day, after school and during the summer as requested by the district.
Cost to parents is as follows: Class of 10-19 students, $300 per student; if paid in full, cost will be $285. Class of 20-29, $290 per student; if paid in full, $275. Class of 30 or more, $280 per student; if paid in full, $265. Each online student, $310; if paid in full, $295.
• Announced that, due to a lack of interest, the YMCA child care option that was to be offered on Fridays has been canceled. Only one student was registered for the program, and 11 families had solicited information.
The district is now seeking to participate in a program with the Evergreen Boys & Girls Club. Information will be sent home, and Magness encouraged people to respond if interested, because this program is also dependent on the number of participants.
• Exonerated the following from payment of per capita taxes: Pauline Bondra, Vivian Calabrese, Mary Campbell, Charlotte DeMarines, William Jacobsen, Marilyn McCune, Francis Metalla, Mary Metalla, Anna Marie Mikeska, Michael Pollock, Louie Tedeski, Carol Treworgy, Georgean Voytek and James Waddle, all of Burrell Township.
• Approved College Algebra as College in High School course through Seton Hill to be taught by Trisha Kaylor and Lisa Shimer.
• Approved the following field trips at no cost to the district: Saltsburg Elementary School fifth grade, McKeever Outdoor Education Center in Sandy Lake, Feb. 19 to 21, and to Gettysburg National Battlefield on May 15.
• Approved the following volunteer coaches upon receipt of clearances: Ken McGinnis, Blairsville girl’s basketball; and Brannon Pate, Rolly Young and Mason Kuntz, Saltsburg Middle/High football.
• Approved these long-term substitutes at a cost of $20,000 with no additional benefits: Karen Magalich, SMHS social students, and Michael Rhea, SMHS math, during leaves of absence for other teachers.
• Approved the resignation request of Jennifer Moore, speech and language clinician, effective Aug. 21. The district will advertise to fill the vacancy if deemed necessary.
• Will seek two pre-kindergarten teachers and two pre-kindergarten aides for the 2013-14 year if deemed necessary.
• Hired Mark Palmer as an HVAC/mechanic upon release from his current employer. His salary and benefits will be “in accordance with the bargaining unit contract.”
• Hired the following professional staff: Cassandra Fisher, first step of the bachelor’s salary scale, $50,882; Jessica Foor, fourth step of the bachelor’s salary scale, $52,382; Ashley Kovalovsky, sixth step of the master’s salary scale, $55,965, plus $200 adjustment for special education; Kayla Machak, first step of the bachelor’s salary scale, $50,882, plus $200 adjustment for special education; Matthew Nicely, second step of the master’s salary scale, $52,845; Maria Olechovski, first step of the master’s salary scale, $52,345; Megan Palmiscno, first step of the master’s salary scale, $52,345, plus $200 adjustment for special education; and Amanda Watson, first step of the bachelor’s salary scale, $50,882, plus $200 adjustment for special education.
• Approved the retirement of Lynn Soltesz, secretary at Blairsville Middle/High School, effective Aug. 23. The board also authorized the advertisement of this vacancy.
• Realigned the following supplemental coaching positions: Whitney Shearer, resignation as BSSD volleyball assistant co-coach with Brittany Conrad, who was appointed assistant coach; and Jared McCormick and Shawn Liotta, first and second assistant co-coaches, SMHS football.
• Recalled Joy Watt as a part-time support employee, effective Aug. 23.
• Recognized the BHS Basketball Boy’s Boosters as a support organization.
• Approved the use of the Blairsville Middle and High School gyms by the Blairsville Elementary Basketball Association for basketball tournaments Feb. 28 and March 2 from noon to 5 p.m.