• Project Linus volunteers provide blankets to Diehl third graders

    Posted by Communications Intern at 9/24/2014 5:25:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 24, 2014) — Project Linus, a national organization that provides new, homemade blankets created by volunteer “blanketeers” to children who are ill, traumatized or in need, today paid a visit to Diehl School to comfort Mrs. Joanne Sivillo’s former second grade students. Mrs. Sivillo passed away unexpectedly while pregnant in July just before her first child, Estelle, was brought into the world.

    As Mrs. Sivillo’s now-third graders filtered into the room, they were greeted by Principal Gilmore and Ms. Joann Burkhart of the Northwest Pennsylvania Chapter Coordinator of Project Linus. The 24 third graders were also greeted by Mr. Sivillo and sleeping baby Estelle.

    Explaining who Linus is to Charlie Brown, Ms. Burkhart told the students, “Linus is a comfort. That’s what these blankets are and that’s who we are — a comfort.”

    Principal Gilmore added, “This is kind of a way to help you remember the good times you had with Mrs. Sivillo and remember you have a school and a community who care about you.

    Project Linus

    Principal Gilmore also presented Mr. Sivillo with a check for $860.00, raised by the students and faculty at Diehl School to help with baby Estelle. Knowing that they helped contribute to the donation for baby Estelle brought smiles to the students’ faces.

    The students then each got to line up, receive a unique, homemade blanket and meet Mr. Sivillo and baby Estelle. As the third graders returned to their seats, they shared some of their favorite memories with Mrs. Sivillo.

    Nina Conner shared, “I loved when she did all of the crafts with us. Tie-dying shirts was the coolest.”

    Faith Hammond also contributed, “She was so nice. She gave us treats like candy all the time. We miss her.”

    As the students were led out of the room to prepare for dismissal, Moustafa Sherif, wrapped in his blue and brown blanket, stopped to admire and say goodbye to baby Estelle one last time. Moustafa then rejoined his fellow classmates, all hugging their blankets tight and remembering their beloved second grade teacher.
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  • Woodrow Wilson Middle School to welcome Freedom Writers Melvin Logan and Tiffony Jacobs

    Posted by Communications Intern at 9/24/2014 7:10:00 AM
    Freedom Writers ERIE, Pa. (September 24, 2014) — Woodrow Wilson Middle School’s seventh annual Community Night on Wednesday, October 29 will feature Melvin Logan and Tiffony Jacobs of the Freedom Writers Foundation as keynote speakers. This event is sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Middle School Bully Prevention Committee, Title I, and College for Every Student (CFES) programs. It will be held in the Woodrow Wilson Middle School auditorium at 718 East 28th Street. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the program begins at 5:45 p.m.

    The Freedom Writers was started in 1997 by Erin Gruwell, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. She was challenged by a room of students considered to be “unteachable” and adapted her curriculum to engage her students and encourage them to rethink rigid beliefs about themselves and others. One of those students, Melvin Logan, was kicked out of two schools for fighting and had been written off by most of his teachers.  Melvin believed he was destined to fail. He joined a local gang and began a life of drugs and alcoholism. Erin Gruwell showed Melvin the value of an education, challenged him every day, and refused to accept failure. He rose to the challenge, became a member of student council, a captain on the school’s football team, and graduated as an honor roll student. Melvin went on to attend Long Beach City College and California State University of Long Beach.

    In her sophomore year, Tiffony Jacobs also became one of Ms. Gruwell’s students. Being in Ms. G’s class offered a relief from her home, which was chaotic. Her parents physically abused each other and their children. When she discovered books, they became her refuge from the violence and chaos she experienced at home. Tiffony graduated from Wilson High School in 1998.  She then earned a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2006.

    The Freedom Writers Diary, published in 1999, features the real-life journal entries by the original students of Erin Gruwell and limited copies will be available for sale before and after the program. Childcare services will also be available during the keynote speakers’ presentations. Dinner an auction will also follow the event.

    The program is free and open to the public; however, dinner reservations are required and can be made by emailing mpeck@eriesd.org or by calling Woodrow Wilson Middle School at (814) 874-6605.
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  • Erie's Public Schools show significant gains in school performance profile scores

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/23/2014 4:00:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 23, 2014) — Pennsylvania School Performance Profile (SPP) scores rose in 15 of Erie's 18 public schools this year, according to 2013-2014 student performance data scheduled to be released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    The average SPP score increased nine percent when compared to 2012-2013. Emerson-Gridley led the city with a 25.4% annual SPP achievement score increase. East High School (24.2% increase) and Pfeiffer-Burleigh (20.5% increase) also posted significant SPP gains.

    "I am truly proud of our students and staff for their hard work," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jay Badams. "They have proven that our shared focus on continuous improvement of teaching and learning can enable our students to reach higher levels of achievement."

    The School Performance Profile academic performance score is based not only on test scores but many other factors that signal student achievement. A student growth factor measures how well students are progressing toward proficiency in state assessments. Also measured are graduation and attendance rates.

    “While these results are certainly worth celebrating, this much more comprehensive data allows us to acknowledge our strengths and also use the profile as a tool for further student improvement," Dr. Badams added.

    Individual 2014 school results include:

    • Diehl School — an 8% increase from 56.4 to 60.7
    • Edison Elementary School — a slight increase from 54.1 to 54.2
    • Emerson-Gridley Elementary School — a 25% increase from 50.6 to 63.5
    • Harding School — an 11% increase from 70.2 to 78.0
    • Grover Cleveland Elementary School — a 7% increase from 74.8 to 80.0
    • Jefferson Elementary School — a 16% increase from 61.8 to 71.5
    • JoAnna Connell School — a 6% increase from 71.3 to 75.2
    • Lincoln Elementary School — a 1% increase from 64.8 to 65.7
    • McKinley Elementary School — a 5% decrease from 60.9 to 57.8
    • Perry Elementary School — a slight increase from 65.5 to 66.0
    • Pfeiffer-Burleigh School — a 21% increase from 45.3 to 54.6
    • Wayne School — a 2% increase from 50.0 to 50.8
    • Roosevelt Middle School — an 8% increase from 55.0 to 59.5
    • Woodrow Wilson Middle School — a 7% increase from 54.9 to 58.7
    • Central Career & Technical School — a 17% increase from 49.1 to 57.6
    • East High School — a 24% increase from 43.0 to 53.4
    • Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy — a 6% decrease from 91.8 to 86.4
    • Strong Vincent High School—a 6% decrease from 48.6 to 45.6

    Additional school level achievement data will be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and made available here.
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  • FMC Technologies and Central Tech launch student internship program

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/22/2014 3:10:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 22, 2014) — FMC Technologies, Inc., a leading global provider of technology solutions for the energy industry, and Erie's Central Career and Technical School have launched a student manufacturing training program in welding and machine technologies.

    Under the training agreement, participating students at Central Tech will study welding or machine technologies for their first three years at Central Tech and then be eligible for advanced paid training at FMC Technologies, 1602 Wagner Avenue, as a senior.

    The program launched in September with two students involved in the pilot — one employed as a student welder and the other working as a student machinist. The students are working alongside experienced, qualified employees and receive one-on-one, hands-on training while also working to complete their industry competency task list as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    Once the students successfully complete their internship program, they will be considered for full-time employment at FMC Technologies immediately upon graduation with a competitive earning potential.

    While participating in the program, students complete their academic work in the morning at Central Tech and work at FMC Technologies in the afternoon.

    "We see this initiative as critical to our success in growing our business and adding to our manufacturing footprint in Erie," said Jim Ertl, vice president and general manager of the measurement products business for FMC Technologies’ operation in Erie. "To coordinate a skills-based machining and welding program to fuel our increasing needs with Erie's Public Schools aligns perfectly with our forecasted growth and allows us to retain our manufacturing excellence here."

    FMC Technologies and Central Tech hope to expand the program to offer the opportunity to more students in future years.

    "This is a tremendous opportunity for our school to partner with FMC Technologies and offer students on-site training in machining and welding from experienced employees in an outstanding work environment," said Mathew Pundt, director of career and technical education for Erie's Public Schools. "The students are also working with advanced manufacturing machines and tools and will be preparing for future career employment opportunities at FMC Technologies or elsewhere."

    FMC Technologies has also provided funding to purchase 40 licenses for ToolingU, an online manufacturing training program that Central Tech students will use to learn skills that can be applied to their hands-on training.

    The Central Tech partnership complements FMC Technologies’ already established intern program with local universities, which extends into all disciplines of the company's business and has been in place since 2002. The company currently has more than 30 interns on staff.

    "We believe this program can be expanded to our supply chain and other local manufacturers facing the same critical shortages, added Ertl. "I commend the leadership of our local and international union (UAW Local 714) for not only supporting this program but leading its implementation. Superintendent Badams and his staff have also been true business partners in developing our co-operative efforts to train and employ our next generation of workers."

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  • Best Delegate names Collegiate Academy Model UN team among best 150 in North America

    Posted by Communications Intern at 9/19/2014 6:20:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 19, 2014) — Best Delegate, a New York City-based Model United Nations organization, has recognized Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy’s Model UN Team as one of the "150 Best High School Model United Nations Teams in North America" for the 2013-2014 school year.

    According to Best Delegate, their list is primarily comprised of teams that received a school delegation award at any multi-day advanced Model UN conference in North America with at least 500 delegates. Several teams were also included for performing well at a major conference in North America, performing well across several multi-day conferences with at least 500 delegates in North America, or winning Best Large Delegation or equivalent at the next-largest multi-day conference in their region.

    Collegiate Academy is categorized under the list’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Best Delegate’s new recognition method has replaced their old method of ranking the best high school Model UN teams.
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  • Collegiate Academy home to 7 National AP Scholars and 102 AP Scholars

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/18/2014 7:25:00 AM
    AP College Board ERIE, Pa. (September 18, 2014) — One hundred and two Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy students have been recognized by the College Board as AP Scholars for 2014 and seven students were also named National AP Scholars.

    Being named a National AP Scholar by the College Board is the top distinction it bestows upon high school students and is earned by achieving an average score of 4 or higher on at least eight Advanced Placement (AP) exams. AP exam scores are reported on a scale of 1–5.

    More than 25% of the Collegiate Academy class of 2014 received AP Scholar honors based on Advanced Placement exam performance throughout their high school careers.

    “This is a reflection of just how hard our students work and how much they do to prepare for these very difficult exams,” said Collegiate Academy Dean Jim Vieira. “We are extraordinarily proud of our students and these accomplishments, it says a lot about the caliber of students they are and the great people they will grow to be.”

    The College Board's Advanced Placement courses are college-level classes in a wide variety of subjects that students take while still in high school. Collegiate Academy offers 22 AP courses. The AP Scholars program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through AP courses and exams.

    "As we reviewed the numbers, we also learned that Collegiate Academy — as a school — actually has more National AP scholars than the entire states of Wyoming and North Dakota," added Rick Schneider, associate dean. "Collegiate also has nearly 2% of all AP Scholars in the Commonwealth out of 619 high schools."

    Currently more than 90% colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP exam scores.
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  • East and Strong Vincent ROTC units earn Army's highest honors

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/18/2014 4:50:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 18, 2014) — The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) units at Erie's East High School and Strong Vincent High School have earned the highest possible honors from the United States Army.

    As a result of the Army's reviews, both units have been awarded the "Honor Unit with Distinction" designation.

    For East High School, this accomplishment marks the 22nd consecutive year that the Warrior Battalion has earned "Honor Unit with Distinction."

    Strong Vincent High School's ROTC unit has earned the Army's highest designation for 20 consecutive years.

    “We could not be more proud of these cadets and our ROTC programs,” said Dr. Jay Badams, Superintendent of Erie's Public Schools. “Consistently earning this level of recognition by the United States Army speaks to the dedication and commitment of our cadets, their instructors, their schools and families.”

    During the formal Army reviews, cadets are evaluated on what they have learned while participating in the ROTC program. The review includes a staff briefing, knowledge assessment, and inspection of the cadets’ staff areas and functions, as well as a drill and ceremony.

    The programs were also evaluated on the strength of their official Unit Reports, detailing participation rates, competition results, community service, color guard presentations and physical fitness tests.

    The designation also gives the schools’ ROTC instructors the authority to nominate cadets to any of the US Military Service Academies, an authorization similar to members of the US Congress. Cadets will also wear a yellow star insignia on their uniforms this year to recognize their unit's designation.
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  • Young Leaders Society donates homework supplies to McKinley 5th graders

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/16/2014 1:50:00 PM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 16, 2014) — The United Way of Erie County’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) today distributed homework supplies to 5th grade classrooms at Erie's McKinley Elementary School during a coordinated drop off event.

    Since 2009, YLS has annually “adopted” the fifth grade classes at McKinley Elementary School because it has one of the highest student populations living in low-income households and a significant number of refugee students.

    YLS

    Additional outreach as part of the McKinley Project includes providing sweatshirts in the winter, healthy snacks and notes of encouragement during the PSSA testing period, sponsoring an annual field trip and purchasing summer reading books at the conclusion of the school year.

    Starting this year, YLS members will also speak to the fifth graders each month about their careers and the paths that led them there. This project is being coordinated through Career Street.
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  • Plastikos & Micro Mold collaborate with Central Tech to mold the next generation of high-tech plastic processors

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/10/2014 4:15:00 AM
    ERIE, Pa. (September 10, 2014) — Micro Mold Co., Inc. & Plastikos, Inc. are working closely with Central Career and Technical School's tool and die program in an effort to provide the students with the tools needed for a hand-on, technically-driven education. Micro Mold’s General Manager, Ryan Katen, has been actively involved with this high school and their program and has worked personally with the school's machine and injection molding educators to pursue ways for Micro Mold & Plastikos to help prepare the students for their careers ahead.

    “This is a growing industry. More and more jobs are opening up without enough people to supply jobs for Tool and Die Makers. We are trying to feed the industry with more qualified students,” said Mark Mikolajczak, instructor in Central Tech’s manufacturing.

    On-the-job training is historically the most common method to train young toolmakers and processors who want to pursue a career in the plastics industry. However, that approach requires years for an individual to obtain the specialized skills and expertise that an advanced toolmaker and processor possess. Which is why, accelerated manufacturing training, provided by schools like Central Tech is emerging as a high priority within the moldmaking and plastics industry.

    Plastikos & Micro Mold recently donated a 60 ton DeMag injection molding machine to the Central Tech program as part of their collaboration to provide the tools and equipment that will adequately prepare students for future career opportunities in the growing high-tech. tooling & plastics industry.

    Demag

    “We strategically replace a couple of Plastikos’ molding machines each year as we continuously pursue the latest technology available to support our advance manufacturing efforts and our team meticulously maintains all of our presses, so whenever we replace a press, it is highly sought after on the used equipment market," added Katen. "In this case, the timing with Central Tech was perfect. The press ran very well in production and was well maintained throughout its life at Plastikos, so it should serve as a great hands-on training resource for the Central Tech students for many years to come.”

    Currently, there are 150 students enrolled in Central Tech’s manufacturing program. During the course of their training, students gain first-hand experience in product design, tool & die fabrication, precision machining, and plastic injection molding, among aspects of the plastics industry. Within each manufacturing course, students begin to learn the basics working with: Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), Laser Engraving, Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T), as well as mold troubleshooting and debug skills. Central Tech has done a remarkable job of preparing these young adults in the growing field of high tech. tooling and injection molding. Central Tech is one of the few schools left in our region that offers this type of educational program.

    "Students in the manufacturing program will start by making molds in the engineering lab, and then they will produce them on the new DeMag," Mikolajczak explained. "We plan on having the kids come up with ideas to make objects such as; rulers, frisbees, cups, etc."

    The Erie region is recognized as a cornerstone for global moldmaking and plastic injection molding industry, and remains one of the region’s largest employment sectors.
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  • FMC Technologies donation to provide Niagara day sails to 500 EPS middle school students

    Posted by Communications/Media Relations at 9/9/2014 4:10:00 PM
    Niagara - FMC ERIE, Pa. (September 9, 2014) — The Flagship Niagara League today announced a new educational partnership with FMC Technologies. FMC has pledged $50,000 to help fund Niagara’s educational day sail program. The sponsorship will allow approximately 1,000 middle school students from Erie County the opportunity to experience an educational day sail on Niagara, with half of those slots reserved for students in Erie's Public Schools.

    Students will learn about the history of the War of 1812, life of a sailor, sail-setting and how to steer the ship. The experience also teaches team building, history, science and nutrition.
     
    “FMC Technologies continues to extend its commitment to Erie by sponsoring a tremendous educational opportunity for a number of middle school students. The experience of sailing on the Niagara, in and of itself, is a lifetime memory. The historical lesson embedded in the sail will add to the students’ knowledge of the Battle of Lake Erie and the significance of the Brig to our country and the city of Erie,” said Jim Ertl, vice president and general manager, FMC Technologies Measurement Products.

    “FMC Technologies has made this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available to these students. It will be a day that they will remember for years to come,” Shawn Waskiewicz, Executive Director of the Flagship Niagara League.
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