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Elizabeth Forward schools earning reputation for computerized technology

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Elizabeth Forward schools are building a reputation in computerized technology.

That reputation drew for Superintendent Bart Rocco an invitation to the June 17 White House Maker Faire, as well as an opportunity to talk about the middle school Dream Factory to other schools.

“Our Dream Factory is a maker space,” Rocco said after Wednesday's Elizabeth Forward school board meeting. “This event was all about things kids are making and companies are making.”

Rocco attended the White House event along with Grable Foundation executive director Gregg Behr, Pittsburgh Children's Museum executive director Jane Werner and Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh.

The invitation was extended through two aides to President Obama including Thomas Kalil, deputy director for policy in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Rocco said Kalil invited him to explain the district's maker space to other school administrators during a teleconference scheduled for Thursday.

With support of Benedum and Grable foundations, Allegheny Intermediate Unit awarded $20,000 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) grants to 25 districts including Elizabeth Forward, Clairton, South Allegheny, Steel Valley and West Jefferson Hills.

Assistant Superintendent Todd Keruskin said it was Elizabeth Forward's second $20,000 STEAM grant from the AIU.

The school board acknowledged receipt of the latest STEAM grant as well as a $4,000 Sprout Fund grant for the district's Summer Innovation Camp.

Another aspect of high-tech in the district is the middle school SMALLab or Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a $2.8 million 2014-15 tax and revenue anticipation note issued by PNC Bank in Monroeville at an interest rate of 0.83 percent.

• Re-elected director Charles Bakewell as board treasurer.

• Approved a new five-year agreement with Pepsi for beverage service.

• Approved a two-year extension of its contract with Public Safety Security of Munhall for security services.

• Accepted the resignation of M. Jane Pascarella, who is retiring after 43 years as a teacher in the district.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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