• Letter to EPS families from Superintendent Badams

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 8/17/2015 8:05:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (August 17, 2015) — Dr. Jay Badams, superintendent of Erie's Public Schools, sent the following letter this week to all staff and families addressing the loss of three students this summer and the district's approach to ensuring a smooth start to the 2015-2016 school year:

    August 17, 2015

    Dear EPS Staff and Families:

    We will soon end what can be described only as a heartbreaking summer for the City of Erie and Erie's Public Schools. I know that all of you are well aware of the tragic events that took place on the streets of Erie over the past few months — senseless violence that has claimed the lives of three EPS students. These children were torn from their families, friends, and this community in such a vicious manner, it's simply incomprehensible.

    The loss of these students profoundly impacts the entire Erie community and we send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Elijah, Jacob, and Shakur.

    These incidents serve as shocking reminders that no community or neighborhood is immune to these tragedies. Our schools are located in the neighborhoods that they serve and are subject to many of the same pressures and challenges. Despite our heightened awareness and shaken sense of safety, it is important to remember that our schools are still, by far, the safest place for Erie children to be during the day.

    As we return later this month, we are focused on welcoming all 12,000 students back to Erie's Public Schools, helping them deal with a wide range of emotions and issues, and assisting our entire school community in its pursuit of a return to normalcy — teaching and learning in our classrooms.

    In Erie's Public Schools, safety is our number one priority. In fact, as an urban school system, our level of security and crisis preparedness far exceeds that of any other school district in the region.

    Erie is one of only a few school systems in Pennsylvania with a dedicated school police force — armed police officers patrolling and stationed in our schools, highly trained to deal with student and school safety issues.

    Erie is also lucky to have the Blue Coats working in our schools and neighborhoods. This program was recently featured as national model for school safety by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Blue Coats support non-violent conflict resolution strategies among students and staff, build and strengthen relationships between students and staff, provide training to educators on cultural competencies, and themselves serve as familiar, positive adult role models for inner-city youth in order to reinforce positive behavior.

    School safety involves a mix of both humanware and hardware. Our schools also have recommended security measures in place such as controlled access during school hours, hand-held metal detectors, sign-in and identification procedures, camera monitoring systems, and the One-Call rapid notification system.

    As a district, we review our safety measures, programs, and procedures throughout the year and consult with national school safety experts, local and state law enforcement, FBI and emergency management officials to ensure we're doing everything we can to keep students safe. I am confident that we are, but we must never allow ourselves to relax our standards or become complacent.

    Beyond these security and emergency response measures, tragedies such as this also reinforce the importance of mental health services and conflict resolution. Our schools' mental and behavioral health professionals are always available to work with our students and staff — now or at any time throughout the year.

    We all share the responsibility of ensuring the safety of students and staff in our schools and supporting our students and each other during this difficult time. Together, we are united in our sympathy, resolve, and commitment — sympathy for the family and friends impacted by this violence; resolve to make our city and our schools better; determination to keep our staff and students safe so they can focus on teaching and learning.

    If you have any questions or would like more information or resources, please do not hesitate to call your child's school principal and/or counselor.

    Thank you for your continued support of Erie's Public Schools.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Jay D. Badams
    Superintendent of Schools
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  • 2015-2016 school year begins August 31

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 8/1/2015 6:05:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (August 1, 2015) — For the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, the first day of school for students in Erie's Public Schools is Monday, August 31.

    August 31
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  • Board approves 2015-2016 budget with no tax increase

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/24/2015 8:10:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 24, 2015) — The Erie School Board tonight adopted a $154.6 million budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

    For the second year in a row, the budget did not include a property tax increase for Erie homeowners.

    Line-by-line details of the plan are available for download here. For full coverage of the budget, including archived documents and news coverage, visit the district's budget transparency portal at www.eriesd.org/budget.
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  • Summer camp exposes middle school students to manufacturing careers

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/23/2015 6:10:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 23, 2015) — More than 90 middle school students from across the city this month are participating in a Manufacturing Summer Camp at Erie's Central Career and Technical School.

    The camp is exposing students in grades 6-8 to manufacturing skills and careers. Participating students are receiving hands-on instruction and working on CNC projects, lean manufacturing, welding, and exploring manufacturing careers. Students are also leaning about the financial rewards that a family-sustaining wage in manufacturing career can afford them through a "money matters" career simulation.

    Manufacturing Camp

    The Manufacturing Summer Camp experience was provided free of charge to students due to funding provided by The GE Foundation. Additional support and materials were also provided by Reddog Industries, Inc.; McInnes Rolled Rings; Industrial Sales and Manufacturing; Erie Press Systems; Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership; and Manufacturer & Business Association.

    Manufacturing Camp

    To read more about the camp, click here for additional coverage from the Erie Times-News.
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  • East High School hosts full-scale emergency response drill

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/15/2015 2:10:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 15, 2015) — Erie's East High School today hosted a full-scale emergency response drill and training exercise for school district staff and local law enforcement officials.

    The drill — designed to provide training, reduce confusion and verify the adequacy of emergency response activities and equipment — was coordinated by the Erie School District Police Department and the Erie Police Department, with technical assistance provided by the FBI and Erie County Emergency Management. A number of regional law enforcement agencies were also in attendance.

    Emergency Drill

    "Erie's Public Schools (EPS) plans and reviews its procedures throughout the year for the safety of our students and staff. In fact, as an urban school system, our level of security and readiness exceeds that of the typical school district," said Matthew Cummings, the EPS director of communications. "Erie is one of only a few districts in Pennsylvania with a dedicated school police force — police officers patrolling and stationed in our schools who are highly trained to deal with school safety."

    While school is, statistically, the safest place for children to be during the day, Cummings says that regular drills such as these are critical.

    "We can never allow ourselves to relax our standards or become complacent," Cummings said. "We must continually assess areas for improvement in each of our schools and also conduct safety drills during the school year with our students and staff."
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  • Pfeiffer-Burleigh School to host bicycle safety expo Saturday

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/10/2015 5:15:00 AM
    Bike Safety ERIE, Pa. (June 10, 2015) — The Erie County Department of Health, Erie Insurance, Safe Kids Erie and Pfeiffer Burleigh School will hold a "Bike Basics" safety expo on Saturday, June 13 at Pfeiffer-Burleigh from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This free family event will teach students and families about safe bicycle riding, proper helmet fitting and rules of the road. Children attending will also receive a free helmet and be entered to win a new bike.

    Students will rotate through different stations throughout the gym and participate in hands-on learning activities. Volunteer bike and safety specialists are coordinating the event and will share their expertise with the students.

    According to organizers, June is National Safety Month and this event allows volunteers to educate the community on bike safety. Bike riding is not only a great way to embrace the outdoors while being the physical activity, but allows our children to learn a new skill they can enjoy throughout life.
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  • Lincoln 2nd grade students unveil colorful butterfly mural in school lobby

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/8/2015 2:05:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 8, 2015) — Erie's Lincoln Elementary School today unveiled a new mural in the school's lobby, created by second grade students with the help of local artist and painter Tom Ferraro.

    Lincoln Mural - 1

    The project, funded by a grant from the Partnership for Erie's Public Schools, allowed students to work with Ferraro to design and paint a mural for the entrance of the school. The mural was inspired by the second grade science curriculum and showcases the life cycle of a butterfly through art concepts such as symmetry and perspective.

    Monday's opening reception gave students, staff and families an opportunity to view and celebrate the creative work of Ferraro and the students. During the event, the school also recognized the Partnership for Erie's Public Schools and three local Walmart stores for supporting the project.

    Lincoln Mural - 2
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  • Nearly 200 receive diplomas at Central Career and Technical School commencement

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/6/2015 11:40:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 6, 2015) — Central Career and Technical School's Class of 2015 this morning received diplomas during the school's annual commencement ceremony held at Bayfront Convention Center.

    Principal Pam Mackowski welcomed family and friends to the ceremony and proudly announced that Central Tech's graduates have been awarded nearly $1 million in merit scholarships.

    CT Graduation

    Class Presidents Jaida Dixon and Justin Gilkey shared how commencement is not the end, rather a beginning for the 194 graduates of the school's 22 career-focused labs.

    Kayla Groger, salutatorian, began her speech by quoting Albert Einstein's “try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value” and challenging fellow graduates to show their value.

    "Go out in the community and make a change, be a trendsetter and don’t stop until the goal is met," Groger said. "You will reach value at work by using time management, people skills, teamwork and leadership, but there is more to life than working — we are all somebody’s child and if not already, we will be someone’s parent, you have to show your value to your family."

    Timothy Kernohan, valedictorian, also quoted Einstein saying, "life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."

    "No matter where we go, whether it is off to college working toward a degree, into the workforce confident in what we do, or serving valiantly within the armed forces, we must always keep moving forward," Kernohan said.

    Bill Hilbert, Jr., president of Reddog Industries, delivered the keynote address and told graduates that they are "far smarter and more technologically savvy" than any generation that has come before them.

    "You are a generation with unprecedented access to information," Hilbert said. "You know how to use social media to leverage opportunity and embrace new ideas. Your generation is confident and assertive and you want to be the best and live a life of purpose."

    A capacity crowd of nearly 1,600 faculty, family and friends erupted into applause as Erie School Board Vice President Frank Petrungar, Jr. certified the graduating class and Jaida Dixon accepted the official diploma on behalf of the students.

    Congratulations to the Central Career and Technical School Class of 2015 from all of us at Erie's Public Schools!

    Video of the 2015 Central Tech Commencement is below:

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  • Strong Vincent High School holds 85th commencement ceremony

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/5/2015 6:55:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 5, 2015) — Strong Vincent High School tonight held its 85th annual commencement ceremony at Bayfront Convention Center in downtown Erie. The school awarded diplomas to 143 proud graduates of the Class of 2015.

    Mary Drapcho, senior class advisor, welcomed friends and families to the ceremony as the Strong Vincent JROTC presented the colors.

    Precious Thompson, valedictorian, focused on a quote from Col. Strong Vincent in her speech: "Don’t give an inch boys, don’t give an inch."

    "Much of the time, things don’t go our way, but Vincent was strong — just as we need to be — and he took risks," said Thompson. "That’s how he made history. We all have our own methods for making our bit of history, but it’s important that we stay true to ourselves throughout our journeys and continue to carry on Strong Vincent’s legacy."

    SV Graduation

    Savannah Davis, salutatorian, described the humble beginnings of Apple founder Steve Jobs in her speech and detailed how Jobs overcame numerous obstacles to build what is now a $700 billion company.

    "Something for us all to remember as we leave here today is that we should never let the obstacles that lay in our way keep us from reaching our goals, our dreams or making history," Davis said. "The obstacles should be a test to see if we are willing to persevere. History makers of our time have overcome poverty, critics and unbeatable odds — with the support of our families, friends, teachers and principals, we will pave the way for future generations."

    Alona Williams, faculty choice speaker, shared what an honor it was for her to attend Strong Vincent, listing successful alumni from Ann B. Davis to Mayor Joyce Savocchio.

    "With all the respectable people that have gone to Strong Vincent, I feel that there is no room for us to be any less successful," Williams exclaimed. "These people have walked these halls, attended similar classes, gone to Strong Vincent sporting events and wore these very colors at graduation. Over the years at Strong Vincent, they too went through trials and tribulations, but they relied on friends, teachers, principals and other members of the SV family to support them and help them mark their place in history… just as we will."

    Erie County Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly, a 1995 graduate of Strong Vincent, delivered the keynote address.

    "I want you to remember a couple of things that I’ve learned the hard way,” Connelly said. “Take risks. You can only succeed if you try! You’re going to lose, you’re going to stumble, you’re going to fall, but accept that mistakes happen and allow them to happen. Learn from them and move on. Inspire yourself and always try to be better. You can always be better than what you are."

    Strong Vincent also presented a cap and gown to Danisha Goodwine, mother of Quayshawn Daymere Tate, a member of the Class of 2015 who died October 5 in a tragic automobile accident. Goodwine also presented a scholarship to two graduating seniors in memory of her son.

    Erie School Board member Robbie Fabrizi certified the class and Alek Lichniak accepted the official diploma on behalf of the Class of 2015. Principal Scherry Prater and Assistant Superintendent Nancy Sadaly also offered remarks to the Class of 2015.

    Marking the 150th anniversary of Col. Strong Vincent making history on the battlefield in Gettysburg and the 85th class of graduates to walk across the SV stage, the theme of this year's graduation was "We're not done making history.”

    More than 1,300 faculty, family and friends filled the grand ballroom at the Bayfront Convention Center in downtown Erie to cheer on graduates as they were recognized.

    Congratulations to the Strong Vincent High School Class of 2015 from all of us at Erie's Public Schools!

    Video of the 2015 Strong Vincent Commencement is below:

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  • Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy awards 178 diplomas during 2015 commencement

    Posted by Communications & Media Relations (MC) at 6/4/2015 7:20:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 4, 2015) — One hundred and seventy-eight graduates of Erie's Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy tonight received diplomas during the school's annual commencement ceremony held at Bayfront Convention Center.

    Dean James Vieira welcomed graduates, friends and family to the ceremony.

    "You graduate today with our firm belief that you are prepared, optimistic, ethical and highly capable," Vieira said. "It’s now in your own hands — we wish you the correct formula of fortitude and good fortune to realize it. Your success is the yardstick by which we measure our success."

    This year's graduating class achieved a four-year-college acceptance rate of 100% and has been offered more than $17 million in merit scholarships. A capacity crowd of more than 1,700 faculty, friends and family members packed the grand ballroom.

    Dr. Jay Badams, superintendent of schools, told graduates to savor moments like these.

    "We probably all have our own great advice to share — life secrets that we've become privy to because we've been alive longer than you," Dr. Badams shared. "But I'll offer just one that I hope most of us would agree on… life goes by too fast. So, as exciting and enticing as the future is, enjoy the present and take no moment for granted."

    Student speaker Leah Balsan told her fellow graduates that work worth doing is synonymous with happiness.

    "From my research – of course I did research, I am a Collegiate Academy student — the happiest people, the most successful people, the people who actually enjoy their lives, not just their work, do not leave their happiness to chance," Balsan said. "They bring it with them into whatever they do and, in doing so, make their work worth doing."

    Jacob Binder, student senate president, shared that without work, knowledge is powerless.

    "It is undeniable that work is a cornerstone of a Collegiate Academy education," Binder said. "More importantly, Collegiate Academy instills in us a commitment to work our hardest at bettering ourselves, our school and our community. Over the past four years, we have honed the tools we need to make an impact — we have received the knowledge, and we have worked. Now wherever we go, whatever we do, we will utilize both knowledge and work to make an impact in our world and to achieve great things."

    Student Daniel Liszka offered the true meaning of success in his speech.

    "Leading a successful life will be measured by our happiness. It will be measured by whether we did what we wanted to do in life, rather than what others wanted us to do," Liszka said. "I am not saying to invoke laziness as a personal motto when we walk out these doors, but to zealously pursue the path that will lead us to a happy life. Focus on this, because it is the most important idea to guide us in our journey ahead."

    Collegiate Academy

    The Keynote address was offered by Liti Zhang, a 2014 Collegiate Academy graduate currently attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Zhang is a pre-medical student majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Psychology and Computer Science.

    "In college, I’ve come to realize that my time is worth so much more when I spend it on passions that I truly care about," Zhang shared. "Hard work is inevitable, so why not then work hard on something you actually enjoy? Differentiate what matters to you, what is worth your time and then selfishly dedicate everything you have to those pursuits and goals. Increase your chances of standing out, not by doing everything, but by tirelessly working on a few."

    Erie School Board President Robert Casillo certified the class and Jake Binder accepted the official diploma on behalf of the Class of 2015.

    Congratulations to the Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy Class of 2015 from Erie's Public Schools!

    Video of the 2015 Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy Commencement is below:

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