Penn Hills School District officials prepare for the new school year |
Penn Hills

Penn Hills School District officials prepare for the new school year

Michael DiVittorio
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The Penn Hills High School marching band drum line practices with the other 76 members of the band Aug. 13 when rainy weather forced them to move band camp inside Linton Middle School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Senior Joel Schwartz practices with other members of the drum line.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Sophomore Paige Webb practices with the other 76 members of the band.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Junior Austin Davenport practices with the members of the color guard.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Sophomore Madison Langer practices with the members of the Penn Hills High School marching band color guard Aug. 13 when rainy weather forced the band camp to move inside Linton Middle School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Penn Hills sophomore Reaunna Bumbaugh practices with the members of the color guard.

Sounds of shuffling shoes, locker doors swinging and period bells will soon permeate Penn Hills School District halls as students and staff begin the 2019-20 school year.

The first day of school is Aug. 26.

“We feel like we are in a good ‘space,’” Superintendent Nancy Hines said. “Yes, the restructuring and retooling have been very hectic over the summer, but most of us are looking forward to having students among us again.”

Some familiar faces are in new places to start the new academic calendar.

Former high school Associate Principal Sandra Baker was promoted to Linton Middle School principal.

Former Linton Principal Katie Friend will now be an elementary associate principal.

Kristin Brown and Cyrene Bey remain elementary principal and associate principal, respectively.

Former elementary Associate Principal Darci Gatti moved to Linton, and Linton Associate Principal Kelly Shiring moved to the high school. Eric Kostic and Patrick Gavin remain high school principal and associate principal, respectively.

Brian Brown retired as high school associate principal the end of last school year.

Baker’s shift was one of several administrative changes made to help increase academic performance and student discipline at Linton.

The moves were also part of the financial recovery plan crafted by a special advisory committee and Dan Matsook, the district’s state-appointed recovery officer.

The plan, which is available for review on the district’s website, mentioned the need “to change the culture at Linton Middle School” and “both the middle school and high school reflect concerns about inconsistent accountability and enforcement of policies by both the professional staff and security.”

Breakfast, lunch free

Breakfasts and lunches at all Penn Hills schools remain free for students as part of the district’s participation in the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision. It’s being administered by the state Department of Education’s Division of Food and Nutrition.

CEP provides free breakfasts and lunches in districts or schools in which at least 40% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches, meaning their families receive food stamps, medical assistance or other government aid.

“We think this news is a great relief to many parents/guardians who are grappling with increased costs for clothing, school supplies, etc,” Hines said.

Hines heard the sounds of the marching band during camp earlier this month, and looks forward to their entertaining shows.

“I was drawn to the sounds and actually followed them to the area where the percussionists were practicing,” Hines said. “I just couldn’t help myself.”

Band Director Tiffany Sozynski said students have been working hard to maintain tempo and memorize their steps.

“We’re excited to be presenting this show,” Sozynski said. “Last year we did Queen and decided to stay with an ‘80s theme this year by doing Bon Jovi.”

In other music news, the district renewed its partnership with River City Brass. Students will have an opportunity to learn alongside professional musicians.

Student registration was also adjusted from last year. New and returning families can visit the school where their child or children will attend instead of having to enroll through central administration.

More information about student registration is available on the district’s website,

Hines said it would take about 30 days after school starts to get actual enrollment figures.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Penn Hills
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