Moon Area to explore learning center
The Moon Area School District's controversial plan to close an elementary school might lead to the building becoming a learning center with the district's first preschool program, as well as high school remediation classes and other programs.
On Monday, the school board voted 7-2, with Samuel Tranter and Jerry Testa opposing, to authorize Superintendent Curt Baker to explore the possibility of repurposing Hyde Elementary School, which will close this summer, as the Fern Hollow Learning Center by Labor Day.
“I believe what I'm saying is I like the idea, and I'd like to find out more about it,” school board Treasurer Laura Schisler said during a debate over the authorization.
Under the repurposing plan, the learning center would offer classrooms for tuition-supported pre-kindergarten classes; Head Start, a federally funded preschool program for children from low-income households; and Discovery, Assessment, Referral and Tracking, or DART, an early childhood intervention program that the Allegheny Intermediate Unit operates in Moon Area's McCormick Elementary School.
The center would include a “maker space” in the library, where high-achieving students would work on science, technology, engineering and math projects, and a classroom for Robert Morris University students, who would observe the center's students as part of their studies, officials said. It would include space for high school students taking remedial classes because they are in danger of not graduating on time, officials said.
Baker will research the possibility of Hyde's kitchen serving as the main kitchen for students at the four remaining elementary schools that would be open in the fall.
In January, Baker is to present to the board a feasibility report, including projected costs.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.