Dear Shaler Area Families and Friends,
Shaler Area faculty, staff and administration have been busy this summer making preparations for this upcoming school year and are excited to welcome everyone back for the start the 2016-2017 school year. The first day of school for all students is Thursday, August 25, 2016.
This year Shaler Area will focus on the District priorities of excellence, growth and responsibility to build a stronger community of educators and students while embracing concepts such as growth mindset and grit with the goal of helping students learn, grow and become more prepared for whatever path they may choose for their life. Some of the 2016-2017 school year highlights include:
- Director of Student Services: Kathleen Graczyk will join Shaler Area School District in the 2016-17 school year to oversee all aspects of the student services department, from special education to gifted education. Ms. Graczyk has more than 20 years of experience in public education as a teacher, principal and director of district programs. She comes to Shaler Area from Plum Borough School District where she served as the director of special education and pupil services.
- Director of Business Affairs: Sherri L. Ludwig, CPA, joined Shaler Area in May 2016 as Director of Business Affairs, and oversees the financial operations of the district. Ms. Ludwig has more than 30 years experience in corporate and educational finance. She served the previous 15 years of her career in the finance department at North Allegheny School District, most recently as business manager.
- Coordinator of Technology: Mitch Stivason served as Acting Supervisor of Technology during the 2015-16 school year and assumes the role of Coordinator of Technology as of the 2016-17 school year, overseeing the district’s technology operations. Mr. Stivason is a former computer network technician with extensive knowledge in the field of information technology and has been with the District for 14 years.
Over the summer, work began on two projects within the district, which will improve the district’s facilities for students, student athletes and community members. In June, crews began the project to update Titan Stadium, which includes replacing the running track surface and installing FieldTurf artificial turf on the playing field as well as installing new lighting. The completed project will allow for more sports teams and community groups to utilize the facility and provide an improved track surface for community and school use. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of September 2016. Work also officially began to construct a new, fully accessible, state-of-the-art primary school at the site of Rogers Primary School. The new K-3 Primary School will be a two-story structure that will accommodate 460 to 600 students. The school is designed to house each grade level in its own neighborhood of classrooms and special education rooms and includes additional parking capacity, enhanced security features, a separate cafeteria, library, gymnasium and STEAM room. Construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2017.Safety
Safety and security of students and staff is one of the District’s top priorities and this school year will feature a number of new safety features. The district received a $25,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grant program to continue the gradual upgrade of the buildings’ proximity card readers. The grant will help replace the aging access system at the high school and retrofit the building with an integrated access system to ensure exterior doors are secured throughout the school day and only authorized individuals can enter specific doors. The District also is benefitting from a Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grant awarded to the Shaler Township Police Department to fund the School Resource Officer assigned to the District. Officer Frank Spiker will continue his work to improve attendance, community awareness and parent involvement, and decrease reportable offenses as the SRO. The District also continued its focus on improving the security of building access by redesigning the entrance at Marzolf Primary School to move the front office and create a captured vestibule to better screen all visitors to the school.
We hope you all enjoy the final days of summer break and return on Thursday, August 25, feeling rejuvenated and ready to kick off another great school year with us!