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INDIANA: School board OKs enrollment agreements

by on April 14, 2015 10:59 AM

Indiana Area School District students will have more options for accumulating college credits before graduating from high school through agreements approved Monday evening by the school directors.

The school board approved a concurrent enrollment agreement with the University of Pittsburgh and articulation agreements with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Mt. Aloysius College and Westmoreland County Community College. The agreements will serve as frameworks for administrators at IASD and the colleges to use in working out details in the programs, including which classes at Indiana High will apply for the college credits and which grades will participate.

At the request of some of the board members, the details on the articulation and concurrent enrollment agreements will be brought back to the board for approval.

Board President Thomas Harley said the arrangements will be “an introduction to college in a meaningful way” for many Indiana High students.

Educational technology will extend to younger students with the board’s approval to purchase 170 Chromebooks and 102 Chromeboxes for the social studies curriculum for students in kindergarten and first and second grades. A Chromebook is a cloud-based laptop computer designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet.

A Chromebox is a desktop variant of the Chromebook.

The directors agreed to transfer $69,000 from the 2014-15 budgetary reserve to purchase the computers.

Another transfer of $57,500 from the budgetary reserve was approved to help pay for faculty training in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s HOMEPLaTe (Hands-On Math Education for Pennsylvania Learning and Teaching) graduate courses. HOMEPLaTe uses imaginative, hands-on activities to teach math needed for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment testing.

And in one other agenda item involving technology, the board agreed to add the senior high school cafeteria to the Senior Cafe as areas where students may use their personal electronic devices.

At the request of the Student Government Association, Jeff Raykes, of the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, updated the directors on a preliminary study underway to possibly develop a multimodal corridor, with dedicated bicycle lanes, across Indiana Borough to connect the White Township Recreation Complex along East Pike with the end of the Hoodlebug Trail at Wayne Avenue.

Raykes said the project is in its preliminary engineering phase and the study is intended to identify cost estimates, preliminary designs, amenity options and a timeframe for completion.

Raykes also said the multimodal corridor could be a benefit to students who generally enjoy biking and because it would come close to East Pike Elementary School, adjacent to the recreation complex.

In other action Monday the school directors:

• Authorized the administration to start the process to replace one high school English teaching position.

• Approved field trips in April and May that will send students and adults to Chicago for a community service and leadership conference; to Washington, D.C., to visit art museums; and to Rosemont, Ill., for an academic quiz bowl competition.

• Approved a resolution supporting the Indiana County STEM (science, technology, engineering and math/medical education) Academy and STEM education by the school districts of Indiana County.

• Approved a contract between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Joseph Socol and Georganne Milner that will keep the two teachers administering the end-of-course skills test for receiving a Pennsylvania driver’s license.

• Accepted a donation by J.D. Varner of a wood carving of an Indian on horseback that will be displayed at the senior high school.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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