Local schools resume as early as Monday
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
For some, it's the last weekend before a new school year.
On Monday Propel's charter schools open, including Homestead, McKeesport, East (Turtle Creek), Braddock Hills and Pitcairn elementary and Andrew Street (Munhall) and Braddock Hills high schools.
Pitcairn and Braddock Hills elementary schools cover kindergarten through grade 7, while the others are K-8. Both high schools cover grades 9-12.
Tuesday is opening day in Norwin. It comes with a new Raptor Visitor Management System, which scans driver's licenses of school visitors and compares them to a national criminal history database.
Wednesday is day one for South Allegheny, Praise Christian Academy in North Versailles Township, Mon Yough Catholic in White Oak and Queen of Angels in North Huntingdon Township.
Mon Yough opens with 12:15 p.m. dismissals on Thursday and Friday. Preschool begins on Aug. 26. Band tryouts for grades 4-8 happen on Aug. 30.
“Teaching our children in the way of the faith ... builds hope for an ongoing vibrant Catholic presence in our community,” Queen of Angels administrator Linda Holsopple said.
Recalling last year's Adequate Yearly Progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, a first section title for the high school soccer team and other athletic success on his district's website, South Allegheny superintendent Wayne Gdovic said, “I fully expect that this school year will be one that brings both pride and pleasure to our parents, alumni, and the community alike.”
Thursday is the first day for Clairton City and McKeesport Area, as well as St. Agnes in West Mifflin and St. Therese in Munhall.
St. Therese will dismiss first day classes from kindergarten through grade 8 at 11:15 a.m. The first day for preschool for 4-year-olds is Aug. 26.
St. Agnes will have half-days on Thursday and Friday. Parents can join their kids for Mass on Friday at 8:15 a.m., and for a special Mass and picnic on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Some McKeesport students will have temporary classrooms as construction continues on the Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate complex on the former Cornell school site and on an annex to Founders Hall Middle School.
Twin Rivers is scheduled to open after winter break. Until then, some intermediate youngsters will go to old George Washington Elementary School while some primary youngsters attend old Centennial Elementary School.
A new Sixth Grade Academy is scheduled to open next fall at Founders Hall. Until then, academy classes will take place in the old White Oak Elementary building.
Clairton is adding a security measure for elementary students who get rides home. The district asks that they wait at the rear entrance of Clairton Education Center along Large Avenue. Clairton also eased up on its dress code.
“Students can wear any color clothing and any graphic or design as long as it isn't offensive or violent,” district spokeswoman Alexis Trubiani said. “They can now wear blue jeans and sweatpants. Still prohibited are hoodies, tanks, revealing clothing, flip flops, slide-on sandals and coats during class.”
More details are at the www.clairton.k12.pa.us website.
Clairton will need a new superintendent after Wayde Killmeyer moves on to direct the Midwestern Intermediate Unit in Grove City. Clairton's board is expected to consider his resignation on Aug. 28.
Friday starts a new year at Serra Catholic High School. Freshmen and new transfers are to report that day, then Aug. 26 will be the first full day of classes for all students.
Also on Aug. 26, Duquesne City, West Jefferson Hills and West Mifflin Area open, as well as St. Elizabeth down the road from the Pleasant Hills cloverleaf.
At St. Elizabeth parents and students are invited to bring bookbags and backpacks for a special blessing on Aug. 25 at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Elizabeth Church.
West Mifflin opens a seventh year of accepting high school transfers from Duquesne City School District under a state mandate that also affects East Allegheny. It is the second year of transfers of seventh- and eighth-graders under a state “junior high school” reinterpretation of the mandate.
Middle school transfers open a door for Duquesne that hadn't been open before. Duquesne kids may begin the process of getting into West Mifflin Area High School band, through the West Mifflin Area Middle School music program.
Classes open for K-6 youngsters at Duquesne Education Center with new acting superintendent Barbara McDonnell, who rose through district ranks over the past 13 years.
West Jefferson Hills opens with a new superintendent, Michael Panza, who brings 14 years of experience as top administrator in Moniteau, Carlynton and Sto-Rox.
On Aug. 27, Walnut Grove Christian School opens its K-6 classes in West Mifflin. The school stresses its use of the A-Beka curriculum, which is Christian-based and uses phonics for reading and a spiral approach for mathematics.
On Aug. 28, Steel Valley opens, as does West Mifflin's Wilson Christian Academy.
Wilson, which offers K-12 education, holds orientation for “kindergarten readiness” and kindergarten students on Thursday and for other new students on Friday.
Steel Valley has a transition day on Aug. 27 for those entering first grade at Park and Barrett schools, sixth grade at the middle school and ninth grade at the high school.
Some schools still wait until after Labor Day. East Allegheny's first day is Sept. 3, Duquesne's Virtuous Academy opens Sept. 4 and Elizabeth Forward resumes classes on Sept. 5.
Virtuous Academy will open this year for grades 3-7.
Iyana Tennon's private school seeks donations to cover a $5,225 tuition rate.
“The low-income families of Virtuous Academy need your support in guaranteeing a successful year of quality education,” Tennon said.
Each Elizabeth Forward student in all grade levels will be issued a computer when they return to school thanks to a leasing agreement between Apple and the district.
EF will have administrative changes to cover a leave of absence for director of student and personnel services Glenn Shell from Sept. 16 until approximately Dec. 31.
High school principal Randal Sydeski will serve as acting director of student and personnel services. Middle school principal Michael Routh will fill the high school job and middle school assistant principal Trisha Maddas will serve in Routh's place.
East Allegheny won't be idle this month. Fourth-grade orientation happens on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Logan Middle School, new student and ninth-grade orientation on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the high school, seventh- and eighth- grade orientation on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the high school, and kindergarten orientation on Aug. 30 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
East Allegheny is getting an overhaul of its electrical systems in an agreement with Constellation New Energy systems meant to save money over the next 16 years.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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