SMASD prepares for upcoming school year

With an eye on the upcoming school year, Thursday's workshop meeting of the SMASD Board of Directors included discussion of new developments within the district as the first day of the 2012 fall semester fast approaches. Superintendent Ann Kearney announced that SMASD has received the Pennsylvania Department of Education's report which found "100 percent" of teachers in the district to be highly qualified and meeting the mandates for certified teachers in the previous school year. Kearney also announced that enrollment in the district is 2,232 for the upcoming school year, marking a minimal increase from last school year. Kearney also said that kindergarten classes are larger than usual but full-time teachers and a five-and-a-half-hour per day tutor/aide will be made available to each classroom. Kearney said that title monies will pay for the seven additional tutors to be placed in kindergarten classrooms. In addition, Kearney said that SMASD is also receiving an Americorps grant, marking the first Americorps grant and first Americorps teachers received in Elk County.The cost to the district is $23,600 after the grant, with the Keystone Smiles Americorps grant received by the district totaling $41,234. Through the grant, the district will be introducing two new members to its staff, Kenny Vogt and Mike Anderson, both graduates of SMAHS. Both are certified elementary school teachers and will be utilized at SSMSES and SMAMS in 2012. The item will be on the board's agenda for Monday's regular meeting. Also discussed was a new substitute assessment form developed by the district's administrative team. "We wanted to make sure teachers have a way to evaluate substitutes-- 'did they do the job, did they follow the lesson,'" Kearney said. The form also provides a format to substitutes who can make note of helpful students and whether materials and lesson plans were available and easily accessible. "It's a dual purpose for us to collect information," Kearney said of the form.