Slippery Rock Area School District officials are ready and waiting for students to return to class on Wednesday morning.
“We look forward to it all summer. We can’t wait for them to get here,” said Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Angelucci, who is in his fourth year as the district’s leader.
There aren’t any renovations or big projects planned for this year, but there are a few changes worth noting, he said. The middle and high schools will both have new courses geared toward education in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, or STEAM, fields of study.
“Our students will see a great benefit in that,” Angelucci said of how the classes could help them after graduation.
The technology education classes at the middle school have been transformed into learning zones for electrical engineering, robotics and computer science, and all ninth-graders will be required to complete STEAM and engineering labs.
High school shop teacher Brian Belowich is certified in both physics and technology education, and his guidance along with help from building administrators played a big role in improving the district’s STEAM offerings, Angelucci said.
The middle school has had success with its tower garden, which grows produce in a vertical fashion without dirt. The high school now has one, and Angelucci said he hopes both elementary schools follow suit. It’s a great way for students to learn about where their food comes from, and they get to enjoy the final results with in-classroom recipes.
The tower gardens tie in to the district’s efforts to encourage students’ health and wellness. The schools participate in “Action for Healthy Kids,” and Area Elementary is expected to continue “Workout Wednesdays;” that includes short videos led by staff that are broadcast to the classrooms for school-wide exercises.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patricia Kardambikis helped obtain $500 grants for each school building to enhance wellness initiatives through the Action for Healthy Kids nonprofit organization.
She’s also leading the district’s 339 Plan, a new Pennsylvania Department of Education program that requires all districts to have counseling plans for students, Angelucci said. It is meant to improve upon college and career readiness at the secondary level.
Related to higher education, the district benefits greatly from having Slippery Rock University across the street from its main office, he said. Student teachers from SRU get experience at Slippery Rock schools, and SRU helps the district with tutoring, among other partnerships. “They are always a great resource,” Angelucci said.
Other BTS business
In other back-to-school business:
• Board members are expected to vote at their Aug. 28 meeting on a proposed policy that could put a supply of naloxone in the middle and high schools. Naloxone reverses the effects of a drug overdose, and policy 823 passed a first reading on July 31. School nurses and the school physician have completed the necessary training to administer the medication to students, staff members, or other individuals believed to be experiencing an opioid overdose.
• Board members Monday hired two new aides for special education services, part of the district’s efforts to accommodate a growing need for more that department. Area Elementary third-grade teacher Jill Takach recently moved her classroom into a former teachers’ lounge as a way to reconfigure space while keeping costs down. Part of the library was converted into space for teachers, and Takach’s former room will be used for learning support.
• Parents and guardians can continue to use the Tyler portal program on the district’s website to access their children’s schedules, grades, and school contact information.
• The teachers’ union, which has 153 members, is in its second year of a four-year contract. The support staff union, with 59 members, is expected to start negotiations soon with school officials; their current contract expires June 30. The district covers Brady, Franklin, Mercer, Muddy Creek, Slippery Rock and Worth townships and the boroughs of Harrisville, Portersville, Prospect, Slippery Rock and West Liberty.
Slippery Rock Area School District
Starting date: Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Starting and dismissal times: Slippery Rock High School, 7:40 a.m. and 2:18 p.m.; Slippery Rock Middle School, 7:38 a.m. and 2:13 p.m.; and Slippery Rock Area Elementary School and Moraine Elementary School, both 9 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.
Administrators: Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Angelucci; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patricia Kardambikis; high school Principal Cory Hake and Assistant Principal Kristen Czubiak; middle school Principal Dr. Jacob Jefferis; Area Elementary Principal W. Herbert Basham; and Moraine Elementary Principal Dr. Kristie Shulsky.
Total operating budget: $32.2 million. The largest expenses are employee salaries and benefits.
Total revenue: $32.2 million.
Millage rate: 97.81 mills; a 1-mill increase was approved on June 26.
Staff: Ten administrators; 153 teachers; and 59 non-teaching personnel.
Teacher-to-student ratio: 21 to 1.
Per-student cost: $9,588 per student at the elementary schools; and $10,477 per student at the middle and high schools.
School board meeting dates: Work sessions and regular meetings are held on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school library on these dates: Aug. 28; Sept. 11 and 25; Oct. 23; Nov. 6 and 20; and Dec. 18. The Oct. 9 meeting is 7:30 p.m. at Moraine, and the Dec. 4 reorganization meeting is 6 p.m. at the middle school library.
The main office for Slippery Rock Area School District is at 201 Kiester Road, Slippery Rock. For more information, call 724‐794‐2960 or visit www.slipperyrock.k12.pa.us
The district is also on Twitter at @RocketSchools