August 6, 2008

Mt. Pleasant Area Gets $123K for Technology

By Rachel R. Basinger, The Daily Courier, Connellsville, Pa.

Aug. 6--Mt. Pleasant Area School District will receive more than $123,000 from the state to help integrate the use of the Internet as a teaching tool in eight or nine classrooms.

Superintendent Terry Struble announced Tuesday at the board's work session that the district had received a Classrooms for the Future grant.

"The money we will receive will enable us to equip eight to nine classrooms with the Smart Core Technology with drop-down projectors, laptops for the students to interact over the Web, plus professional development training for the teachers," he said.

The only cost to the district will be to pay substitute teachers while regular teachers are in training.

Struble added that the equipment should arrive at the school by November or December and should be up and ready to use in the classrooms by January.

Right now, the district is looking at putting the technology and equipment in some ninth-grade social studies classes, some 10th-grade science classes, some 11th-grade math and geometry classes and 12th-grade English classes.

Struble said that while the state has offered the grant for three years, this is the first year Mt. Pleasant has benefited. He said there is some talk the grant money might be available for a fourth year.

"If that's the case, we may have the opportunity to expand this into more classrooms if we would once again be approved," he said.

In other business, administrators will ask the board to approve a preliminary draft of the 2008-13 Strategic Plan.

Administrator Michael Picarsic, who has been instrumental in heading the process of pulling the plan together, said the state Department of Education approved four of the plan's six components. It is hoped the last two components will be approved by September.

Some parts of the plan include a comprehensive facility study, comprehensive instructional review, development of a districtwide assessment plan and development of a behavioral support plan.

"Each part of the plan is a roadmap to success," Picarsic said. "We followed our previous plan very earnestly. We want to follow this map very earnestly as well, and hopefully, the results will be just as strong as they've been in the past."

At their regular board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, directors will be asked to:

-- Approve the list of substitute teachers.

-- Approve the daily substitute teacher rate schedule at $85 a day for the first 44 days and $90 a day thereafter.

-- Accept the resignation of Timothy Blasko, special education and science teacher.

-- Approve Dustin Terhorst as assistant boys soccer coach; Dillon Maust as head junior high boys soccer coach; Melissa Baran as class play director; and Kelly Boynton Ber as class play assistant.

-- Approve the food service contract with Nutrition Inc. for the 2008-09 fiscal year and set the breakfast and lunch prices.

-- Give the district permission to advertise for bids for tubas and for fencing and fencing repairs throughout the district.

Rachel R. Basinger can be reached at [email protected] or 724-626-3536.


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