Baldwin-Whitehall expects to shine with milestone school year
It will be a diamond-studded year in Baldwin-Whitehall as the district celebrates its 75th anniversary during the 2014-15 school year.
Events being planned for throughout the year will honor students, staff and the district's history, Superintendent Randal Lutz told board members at their Aug. 6 meeting.
“We're really just building the theme into everything that we do,” Lutz said.
Baldwin-Whitehall students return to the classroom on Monday.
The 75th anniversary celebration will kick off on the weekend of Aug. 29, with “alumni weekend,” Lutz said. Events will include an alumni band performance Aug. 29, an alumni choir performance and dedication of the performing arts center — named for longtime Baldwin High School choir director Regis Shalley — at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30.
Other plans being discussed include the building of an alumni wall to commemorate the former Baldwin Township High School, the creation of an alumni Hall of Fame and a “diamond anniversary gala,” Lutz told board members.
New this year
The entrances of four of the five schools in Baldwin-Whitehall were upgraded over the summer, as part of an “access project” to control entry into the buildings.
“There's been lots happening,” Lutz said of the upgrades.
McAnnulty, Paynter and Whitehall elementaries and Harrison Middle School, where entrances to the main offices were upgraded, were closed during the summer to staff and visitors to allow the work to occur, Lutz said.
Along with the building upgrades that will streamline access into each building, visitors also will be required to show photo identification to enter.
“As part of the access project, it will require different procedures for parents and visitors that are entering the schools,” Lutz said.
As part of capital improvements this summer, a storage building was added at the Baldwin High School stadium, as well as waterproofing at the stadium deck.
Baldwin-Whitehall leaders are preparing for an intruder, just in case.
Seven district leaders in May attended a two day training in Bethel Park for the ALICE program, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, Lutz told board members on Aug. 6. During the summer, all administrators were trained during classroom and “active shooter” sessions.
“It was eye-opening, but it was received really well by the staff, realizing the things we were doing were good. They weren't great,” Lutz said. “It's really a set of procedures that increase the chance of survivability, in case of an armed intruder that comes into the schools.”
First responders from Baldwin and Whitehall boroughs attended the training to provide constructive criticism, Lutz said.
“ALICE is really a defense type of training,” Lutz said. “I know its tough to talk about those things, sometimes it's tough to verbalize minimizing the loss of life, but really that's what the procedures teach.”
The goal is to provide all instructional staff with the training, he said.
“It's the right thing to do to be prepared,” Lutz said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.