• Board approves 2014-2015 budget with no tax increase

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 6/26/2014 5:10:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 25, 2014) — The Erie School Board voted unanimously tonight to adopt a $149.8 million budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The budget did not include a tax increase.

    Line-by-line details of the plan are available for download here.
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  • Erie Public Schools librarian to participate in Library of Congress education program

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 6/24/2014 11:05:00 AM
    Library of Congress ERIE, Pa. (June 24, 2014) — Mary Drapcho, a librarian in Erie's Public Schools, has been selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute for the week of July 7-11, 2014.

    Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a carefully chosen group of K-12 educators to attend one of its five teacher institutes in Washington, D.C.

    During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website.

    Educators attending the teacher institutes develop primary-source-based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and share with colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical-thinking skills, and gain knowledge. All educators can access classroom materials, teaching tools and strategies for teaching with primary sources from the Library’s site for teachers at www.loc.gov/teachers/

    Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators, in addition to classroom teachers. Those selected come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.

    Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources—accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical-thinking skills and constructing new knowledge. Teachers working in the Library's collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.

    The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staffs—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at www.loc.gov
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  • State and district leaders launch truancy pilot program in Erie's Public Schools

    Posted by Media & Communications at 6/13/2014 10:10:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 13, 2014) — In a collaborative effort between the Office of State Senator Sean D. Wiley (D-Erie), the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and Erie’s Public Schools, Senator Sean Wiley and Chairman Michael Potteiger today announced a pilot program to combat truancy.

    The idea of this pilot program is to identify truant children within Erie’s Public Schools who have a parent or parents under supervision with the State Board of Probation and Parole.

    "The intended goal of this pilot is to target the issues within the home of which truancy is a symptom," said Senator Wiley. "We want this to be a supportive effort to address the core of the family, determining why the child has become truant. As a result, we can work to identify other support systems that can be put into the home to remedy those core issues."

    Truancy News Photo

    This model to combat truancy came from the Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Board of Probation and Parole. Chairman Potteiger executed a similar pilot in Dauphin County and the Harrisburg School District.

    "One of the common denominators when interviewing offenders for parole is a lack of education," said Chairman of the Board of Probation and Parole Michael C. Potteiger. "We must stop our children from entering the juvenile justice system where they often graduate to the adult criminal justice system rather than from high school."

    The intention is to grow the program over time to incorporate more students. However, the pilot will be implemented during the 2014-15 school year in Erie’s Public Schools under the direction of Superintendent Dr. Jay Badams.

    "Research has proven that school attendance is one of three primary factors that are predictive of school dropout and delinquency,” said Badams. “The pilot program initiated by Chairman Potteiger is a powerful collaborative effort to ensure that parents in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system have their children’s education as a top priority."

    The key to this program’s success is information sharing between the agents and the school district to allow supervisees to be an active part in not only solving their child’s truancy issue early on, but also to prevent court involvement.

    "This information sharing and monitoring will also allow us to better target support services to these students to remove obstacles to their progress and achievement,” added Badams.
    This initiative is further supported by the Office of Children and Youth and Erie County Juvenile Probation.
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  • East High School holds 92nd commencement ceremony

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/7/2014 2:45:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 7, 2014) — East High School held its 92nd annual commencement ceremony this afternoon at the Bayfront Convention Center in downtown Erie. The school awarded diplomas to more than 166 proud graduates of the Class of 2014.

    East High Graduation

    Tavaray Carr, senior class representative, welcomed the Class of 2014 and reminded them that "wherever they may go or whatever they may do... once a Warrior, always a Warrior."

    Class Valedictorian Alina Quach shared her appreciation for the teachers at East High School and gave advice to her fellow classmates.

    “Your choices define who you are, not your fears,” said Quach. “Make the smart choices and be the smart people I know you are.”

    Patrick Gleba, honor's academy representative, also shared advice with his fellow classmates.

    “Always have faith in yourself whether you are winning or losing and, especially, when no one else does,” said Gleba. “Many people doubted us and they were wrong to do so — the student body and faculty at East embody the school mascot and we will never give up!”

    Erie School Board member Thomas Spagel certified the class and Alina Quach accepted the official diploma on behalf of the Class of 2014. Principal Jim Smith and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jay Badams also offered remarks to the Class of 2014.

    More than 1,200 faculty, family and friends filled the grand ballroom at the Bayfront Convention Center in downtown Erie to cheer on graduates as they were recognized. This year's graduating class earned more than $500,000 in scholarships.

    Congratulations to the East High School Class of 2014 from all of us at Erie's Public Schools!
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  • Central Tech graduates 140 during Friday commencement

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/6/2014 6:55:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 6, 2014) — One hundred and forty proud graduates tonight received their diplomas from Central Career & Technical School. More than 1,200 faculty, family and friends filled the grand ballroom at the Bayfront Convention Center to cheer on graduates as they received their Central Tech diplomas.

    Central Tech Graduation

    Senior Class President Angelee Eller offered congratulatory remarks to her fellow classmates.

    "June 4 was a bittersweet ending but today — graduation day — marks a new beginning," Eller said. "Let me be the first to congratulate the class of 2014!"

    "If you're searching for that one person in your life that can change it, look in the mirror," said Salutatorian Wazma Karimi. "Have fun and have a joyful spirit, live in the moment and strive to be a better person tomorrow than you are today."

    Ana Reyes Valdez, class valedictorian, told graduates that "you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward."

    Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jay Badams and Gary Lee, Erie County director of administration, also offered remarks during the ceremony.

    "Dream big, with a plan," said Lee. "Three keys to success... establish your faith and know who you are and develop your integrity; obey your parents, they only want the very best for you; and set and reach your educational goals and never ever stop learning!"

    Erie School Board Vice President Frank Petrungar, Jr. certified the class and Angelee Eller, class president, accepted the official diploma on behalf of the Class of 2014.

    Congratulations to the Central Tech Class of 2013 from all of us at Erie's Public Schools!
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  • Erie's Public Schools Science Coordinator Cheryl Dix receives Fulbright Award

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/6/2014 9:10:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 6, 2014) — Cheryl Dix, science coordinator for Erie's Public Schools, has been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Award to conduct educational research in Finland, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

    Dix is one of 43 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program in 2014-2015.

    Dix's research, called Mind the Gap, will focus on teacher practices bridging high elementary to high secondary science performance.

    Specifically, Dix will investigate how Finnish teachers employ questioning strategies for high student performance in middle school classrooms. Her research objectives include "gauging effective teachers' perceptions of their use of questioning strategies and their importance to student performance and using classroom observations to gauge fidelity of questioning strategy practice with teacher self-perception."

    Expected outcomes include data indicating how science teachers design and deploy questioning strategies to promote student achievement as well as data comparing teacher perceptions of questioning strategies with classroom practice.

    Cheryl Dix

    "Finland is the research site because its schools are able to sustain high and advanced levels of student performance from grade 4 to grade 8," Dix said. "The focus of my investigation is on instructional practices, specifically those that research shows are high yield for student performance."

    The US displays a steep gap between grade 4 and grade 8 in advanced student performance rates on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). According to Dix, students in Erie's Public Schools show similar decreases in high science performance rates over the grade 4 to grade 8 span, as indicated by state assessments. To accompany Erie's recent science curricular improvements, a search for program enhancing methods turns to classroom practices.

    Upon return, the results of the research project will be used to enrich science instruction for students and enhance professional development for teachers in Erie and across the United States.

    The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 78 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

    The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
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  • Strong Vincent High School holds 84th annual commencement

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/5/2014 6:50:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 5, 2014) — The Strong Vincent High School Class of 2014 received diplomas tonight during the school's 84th annual commencement ceremony at Bayfront Convention Center.

    Kiana Morgan, class valedictorian, told students that "the choices you make today determine the options you have tomorrow," while Salutatorian Taylor Nordin thanked various teachers for their commitment to the class and for recognizing talents in students that they didn't even know they had.

    "Thank you for being role models for all students in Erie," she said.

    SV Graduation

    Lynetta Williams, faculty choice speaker, said that her parents taught her that education was the key to success and that school was her only focus. She also took the opportunity to thank teachers and staff at Strong Vincent for the difference they've made.

    The keynote address was delivered by David Martine, a 1974 graduate of Strong Vincent and a 30-year veteran of both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    "We are public school proud, we are America and we are the future... and what we do with our lives matters," said Martine. "Go get 'em Colonels and live large!"

    Erie School Board member Robbie Fabrizi certified the class and Lynetta Williams accepted the official diplomas on behalf of the Class of 2014.

    Nearly 1,200 faculty, family and friends looked on proudly as the school recognized 107 students who earned their high school diploma.

    From all of us at Erie's Public Schools, congratulations to the Strong Vincent Class of 2014!
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  • Students journey into rainforest... at Edison Elementary

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/5/2014 1:20:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 5, 2014) — Third grade students at Edison Elementary have transformed their classroom into a rainforest — complete with Kapok trees, Okapis, Amazon River Dolphins and the intriguing Corpse Flower Plant.

    Edison Rainforest

    Edison students recently studied the many different layers of the rainforest and the animals and plants that live there. Putting that new knowledge to work, the students transformed room 11 into a “Rainforest Extravaganza” — moving desks and backpacks aside to accommodate they plants and animals they built.

    The knowledgeable 3rd grade docents provided tours of the rainforest to parents, school board members, media and invited guests during a three day event at the school.

    Edison Rainforest
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  • Class of 2014 honored during Collegiate Academy commencement ceremony

    Posted by Media/Communications at 6/4/2014 7:00:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (June 4, 2014) — Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy tonight graduated its 2014 class during a commencement ceremony at Bayfront Convention Center in downtown Erie.

    Collegiate Academy Graduation

    2014 graduates Samantha Galla and Liti Zhang shared the "secrets to success" with the Class of 2014. Galla suggested her fellow classmates "let that fear propel us" and Zhang told students to always accept "a nudge here and a push there" on the path to success.

    London Smith, a 2013 graduate, presented the keynote address. Erie School Board member Edward Brzezinski certified the class and Dakota Palmer, senior class president, accepted the official diploma on behalf of the Class of 2014.

    A capacity crowd of more than 1,600 faculty, friends and family members packed the grand ballroom as the school awarded diplomas to 202 graduates. This year's graduating class had a 100% college acceptance rate and earned millions of dollars in scholarships and awards.

    Congratulations to the Collegiate Academy Class of 2014 from Erie's Public Schools!
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  • Erie's Public Schools, Mercyhurst University and Early Connections collaborate to expand access to pre-K education in city

    Posted by Communications at 6/2/2014 2:30:00 PM
    Pre-K Counts ERIE, Pa. (June 2, 2014) — Erie's Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jay Badams, Mercyhurst University President Dr. Thomas Gamble and Early Connections Associate Executive Director Darlene Kovacs today announced a new collaboration aimed at expanding access to pre-K education to students in the City of Erie.

    The Mercyhurst University and Erie's Public Schools partnership will make approximately 100 additional slots available to eligible families and add pre-K classrooms for four year old students to seven of the city's elementary schools, providing a more consistent early childhood experience and strengthening participating students' transition into kindergarten.

    Pre-k classrooms will be available at Edison Elementary School, Emerson-Gridley Elementary School, Harding School, Lincoln Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Perry Elementary School and Wayne School.

    Early Connections, which has provided early childhood programming since 1979, will accommodate an additional 20 three year old children in the City of Erie.

    The program is being funded by a $1.18 million grant from Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, a competitive grant program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and federal Title I funding.

    "The collaboration with Mercyhurst University has allowed us to use this funding creatively and build full-day programming with no increase in grant funding," said Dr. Badams, superintendent of schools. "Full-day pre-K is attractive to many of our families and we're excited about the opportunity to ensure that more students have this opportunity and enter Kindergarten ready to learn."

    The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program is based on standards adopted for pre-kindergarten by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The full-day program will focus on math, science and language arts and students will be taught by early childhood-certified teachers. In the city's seven schools, an Erie City School District teacher will teach one half of the day and an early childhood-certified teacher pursuing graduate study at Mercyhurst University's will teach the other half of the day. A paraprofessional will also be in each classroom throughout the day to provide consistency and a ratio of 10 students per adult.

    “Mercyhurst University is pleased to add this pre-K partnership to the two existing agreements between our education department and Erie's Public Schools,” said Dr. Gamble. “The Autism Support Classroom and the Carpe Diem Academy were both initiated in recent years, and now with the pre-K partnership, students enrolled in our graduate and undergraduate education programs will be afforded an additional opportunity to make an impact and gain valuable teaching experience in an urban setting.”

    PA Pre-K Counts is designed for children who meet the income eligibility guidelines of a family income less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. In 2014-2015, the grant is expected to provide half or full-day pre-K education to 324 students in Erie at locations including seven Erie elementary schools, Erie Family Center, Early Connections, YMCA and St. Benedict Education Center.

    Class sizes will be limited to 20 students and teachers will regularly review students' progress and choose teaching and learning activities that are appropriate for social and academic development, work with families to help ease the transition into pre-kindergarten and ensure smooth transitions to kindergarten and provide time for both academic instruction and play-based learning.

    Registration for the pre-K program in Erie's Public Schools will be held June 5, 6 and 10 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and June 11 from Noon – 7 p.m. at the District Administration Building (4th floor), 148 West 21st Street.  Students must be four years of age before Sept. 1, 2014 to be eligible. District registration forms, immunization records, proofs of residency, PA Pre-K Counts applications with income verification and other documentation will be required. For information on registration, call 814-874-6150 or visit www.eriesd.org/prek

    Students who are eligible will be placed in the program on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

    For Early Connections registration information, call 814-456-4576 or visit www.earlyconnectionserie.org
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