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Connellsville OKs math, reading improvement plans |

Connellsville OKs math, reading improvement plans

| Friday, December 11, 2009 12:00 a.m

Connellsville Area School District directors Thursday took action to help improve reading and math scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

Six schools — the senior high school, Junior High East, Junior High West, Dunbar Township Elementary, Zachariah Connell Elementary and Springfield Township Elementary — are all in school improvement for failing to meet adequate yearly progress for several consecutive years.

Last night, directors approved school improvement plans that offer additional instruction for students. Directors also approved applying for Title I federal grant money to pay for implementing the plans. Ron Keefer, director of federal programs, said the grant is federal stimulus money and the district should receive the funds. He anticipated the grant amount to be about $450,000.

As part of school improvement, the district must offer school choice when available. Keefer said 20 elementary students have transferred at parent request to schools that are making adequate yearly progress. He said transportation will cost about $70,000 for these students. In addition, the district has to offer outside tutoring. Sylvan, ATS and Huntington provide the services at no cost to parents. The district will pay $406,000 for the tutoring, an amount set by the state. Keefer said 259 students have signed up for tutoring, with 196 from Dunbar Township, 33 from East, 24 from West and six from the high school. Last year, no parents chose the services, but Keefer said the district has made rooms available for tutors, so parents do not have to drive to Greensburg for services. ATS is home-based through a provided computer.

Directors also received an update of the Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center project.

The final phase of the renovation has begun, with work likely complete in January.

John Pappas, Eckles Construction manager, reported Phase 5, building the masonry, electrical, auto body and auto mechanics rooms, has begun. He said crews are working 24 hours a day, five days a week, excavating rock and preparing foundations for the rooms. Directors approved change orders totaling more than $66,000 in order to convert a former boiler room into a classroom, small-group instruction room and storage area. Pappas said about $500,000 of the project had been reduced and this pool of money is being used for change orders.

In other business, directors hired Lisa Hampe as supervisor of special education. She will be paid $81,252 and begin when she is released from her current employment. Ira Chrise will retire in February and help Hampe in the transition.

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