What else is new at Shamokin Area?
From Chris Venna and Mary Teresa Komara, middle/high school and elementary school principals, respectively:
n Shamokin Area takes control of Northwestern Academy's regular education program this school year.
Classes began Aug. 5. Cadets are taught mathematics, English, science, social studies and business. They also receive reading and language arts instruction along with physical education and some career instruction through the guidance department.
There are between 35 and 40 teachers at the Academy between the regular and special education programs, the latter of which had been taken over by the district in 2012-13.
Like Shamokin Area, the Academy is on a 180-day schedule, but it differs from the rest of the school district: 4-day weeks between August and June with July off.
- There is an estimated 200 faculty at the district and Academy combined.
- Construction at the main elementary building is complete, with the roof and plumbing work having finished up on Monday. A new fire alarm system will be installed in the near future but the school day is not expected to be disrupted.
- Coursework for science and mathematics have been revamped to meet the needs of the newly instituted Keystone Exams, a state standardized test.
- A new online database will be used district-wide. It has the capability for both teachers and parents to track student performance in real-time. It can also track attendance from class to class.
- The air-conditioning units at the middle/high school building are in working order. Barring another breakdown like what had occurred toward the end of last school year, the inside of the school won't be as hot or hotter than the outdoors if a late summer heat wave arrives.
- The elementary has new designations. Grades kindergarten to fourth are Shamokin Area Elementary Primary; fifth and sixth, Shamokin Area Elementary Intermediate.
- Teachers have been trained in a new writing program to help students develop stronger writing skills and improve proficiency on standardized exams.
- An intermediate autistic program was added at the elementary, with students taught in a special needs classroom and placed on a track for integration in the general classrooms.
- Open house at the middle/high school will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 18. Meet-the-Teacher nights will be held at the elementary as follows: Sept. 9, 6 p.m., first grade, Annex (all others at main elementary building); Sept. 9, 7 p.m., fourth grade; Sept. 10, 6 p.m., second grade; Sept. 10, 7 p.m., fifth grade; Sept. 11, 6 p.m., third grade; Sept. 11, 7 p.m., sixth grade.
- A new jungle gym was installed at the main elementary building and new playground pieces at the Annex.
- Eric Scicchitano