The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce it is the first public school district in Beaver County to be awarded a National Math + Science Initiative grant worth up to $750,000.
The three-year partnership with NMSI will be used to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in grades 3-12 in the subjects of science, math and English. Grant money through the partnership also will be used to dramatically increase the number of Ambridge students enrolled in AP courses and allow the District to provide an additional five AP courses beyond the eight already offered.
“I am incredibly excited about this grant, as it will provide extensive training for up to 34 staff, helping to lay the foundation in grades 3-8 for students to have exposure to more rigorous coursework in alignment with our AP classes,” said Ms. Janice Zupsic, Ambridge Area Senior High School Principal. “This truly is a District-wide opportunity, allowing all of our students to benefit from having access to master teachers and mentors for teachers in all grade levels.”
NMSI’s programs have impacted over 1.5 million students, 50,000 teachers, 1,000 high schools and 44 universities nationwide. In its partnership with Ambridge, NMSI will provide four full days of training each summer for the next three years for 27 regular teachers and seven AP instructors in the District. It also will provide two full days in both the spring and fall for professional development purposes, the assignment of a personal mentor, three Saturday sessions with expert mentors, and additional networking opportunities for teachers.
Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent, said the partnership is a tremendous advantage to the District, and aligns with upcoming plans for curriculum development. “The development of our curriculum over the next three years is going to be completely different with this training,” she said. “This is a level of professional development to which our teachers otherwise would not have had access.”
AP teachers at the high school also will have access to hundreds of lesson plans, mock tests and materials that can be used to help prepare students to sit for AP exams. Currently, students are not required to sit for an exam upon completion of an AP course at Ambridge. As part of the partnership agreement with NMSI, students will now be expected to sit for the AP exams. NMSI will pay for half of the cost of the exams, with the school district covering the other half.
In addition to the benefits already outlined, the partnership also will provide access to $35,000 worth of course materials and supplies to Ambridge students and staff, and a $100 incentive for every student who earns a 3, 4 or 5 on an AP exam.
Dr. Welter noted that as part of the partnership agreement, the District is required to contribute $25,000 annually for three years to help cover costs. She noted the benefits achieved through the partnership are worth the expenditure.
“We will now have a solid, vertical alignment of curriculum in grades 3-11, with nationally-normed standards and assessment items,” she said. “Our students will be better prepared for college and careers.”
Ms. Zupsic said it is her goal to encourage at least 80 more students to consider enrolling in AP courses at the high school. At present, roughly 140 students are enrolled in one of the existing AP courses offered. “This partnership opportunity makes the ability to take an AP course more accessible to our students, and that’s half the battle.”
“Highland STEAM Family Night was a great success! Students and their families participated in an evening of STEAM challenges. The challenge stations included Rolling Things Measurement, Makey Makey, Bee Bot Addition, Lego We Do, Cup Stacking, Dash Robots, and Padlet posting. Families worked together to explore the concepts of measurement, electricity, conductivity, computational thinking, and programming. Thank you to all the families who chose to spend their evening making memories with us.
Thank you to Mrs. Hoover for her support and time. Thank you to teachers Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Iorfido, and Mrs. Taormina for their time and help during the evening. Thank you to our PTO for volunteering their time and providing cookies. Thank you to Tim Cassidy Construction and CCBC STEM Academy for engaging and encouraging our kids. Thank you to our 6th grade STEAM Team (Alivea, Damariona, and Donovan) for teaching the younger students how to use the Dash robots. Thank you also to our three young men from the Ambridge High School JROTC program who volunteered their time to work the Lego We Do station. Special thanks to Cathy Fisher, Amy Fedora, Caylin Fedora, Talan Bell, Tim and Pam Webb for volunteering for the evening. Thank you also to Ms. Goldie and Ms. Jane for their kind support.”
The Martin Luther King Celebration Committee held their annual banquet in Rochester on Sunday, January 14, 2018 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Under the theme of “Together Achieving Love, Hope, and Peace,” they recognized several Beaver County community members and winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest.
Ambridge Area School District proudly had three students who received awards in the oratorical competition. In the 4th grade division, Lila Gerle, a student at Highland Elementary, earned 2nd place. In the 5th grade division, Julien Hubbard, won 1st place, and Kaia Fubio received 2nd place. Julien and Kaia both go to State Street Elementary.
All students spoke on the topic, “Who is Dr. King and why do you feel we continue to celebrate his birthday?” Each student was honored with a beautiful plaque and monetary award. State Senator Elder Vogel and State Representative Rob Matzie, an Ambridge alum himself, also presented the students with certificates of recognition from the State House and Senate.
We are very proud that the students of the Ambridge Area School District continue to keep Dr. King’s Dream alive by participating in this annual event.
Due to a maintenance issue at State Street Elementary School today, the middle school concept presentation scheduled for this evening at State Street has been moved to Ambridge Senior High School. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the High School library on the second floor. We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at the High School this evening.
After professional inspection and evaluation, it has come to the administration and board’s attention that the bleachers at the fieldhouse are experiencing structural issues which require further evaluation of possible solutions.
While administration continues to look into possible solutions, it is necessary to move all junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball games to the high school gymnasium instead of the fieldhouse. While we recognize the popularity of the fieldhouse and the preference of our teams and fans to host games there, this measure is necessary to ensure the safety of our fans and players.
We have not taken this decision lightly and understand the importance of the history of the fieldhouse venue. Replacement of the bleachers is estimated at approximately $400,000. Until the preliminary and final budgets have been approved, the board cannot determine final solutions to this issue. We thank the public for their understanding as the board works toward managing finances while still providing appropriate and safe venues for student activities.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a statement on Wednesday that includes one finding and one recommendation for improvement for the Ambridge Area School District for an audit covering fiscal years July 2012 through June 2016.
The finding involved retirement benefits for previous superintendents which included the superintendent and their immediate family members. DePasquale determined the practice posed a significant financial impact on the District and recommended the District include a minimum years of service provision in all future employment contracts.
“The Ambridge Area School District appreciates the recommendations provided by the Auditor General’s Office following its review of District finances and operations,” said Doug McCausland, Director of Operations for the Ambridge Area School District. “The District takes all recommendations seriously and already has begun the process of implementing corrective action for the finding contained within the report.”
Starting with the three-year contract for its new superintendent, which is effective July 27, 2017 through July 30, 2020, post-employment benefits are extended only to Dr. Jo Welter. Should she elect to cover her spouse, she will be responsible for paying the difference in premium cost. Benefits for Dr. Welter continue only until she reaches age 65. Due to her decades-long career in public education, a minimum years of employment provision was not included in her current contract.
“Retirement insurance provisions are common features of superintendents’ contracts in the Commonwealth with many being more generous than what the Ambridge Area School District agreed to provide its current Superintendent,” said Mr. McCausland. “We believe the contract with our current superintendent is not only fair to her, but also fiscally responsible and in alignment with the auditor’s recommendations.”
The full auditor’s report is available here.
The 5'x5' banner was designed by senior Emma Van Dyke around the theme "Santa's Workshop" and painted by Mr. Ivanisin's Art 3 class. Our team was aptly named Nine Lives as there were 9 students and the winning proceeds were donated to the Beaver County Humane Society.
The Ambridge Area School District is exploring the concept of creating a middle school for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the District. Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter will be presenting the idea to parents at each of the three elementary schools and gathering input from those in attendance.
It is important to note that the middle school concept is still in the development stages; gathering input from the community is a crucial stage in development and the opportunity to dialogue with parents is greatly appreciated.
Informational sessions will occur on the following dates and times:
- State Street Elementary School – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 (Cafeteria)
- Economy Elementary School – 7 p.m.. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 (Music Room)
- Highland Elementary School – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 (Cafeteria)
Please join us for a
Highland Family STEAM Night
An evening of fun, hands-on activities for the whole family! Build, explore, and create together.
Who: Students in grades Pre-K through 6th & their families
When: January 11 from 6p.m.-8p.m.
Where: Highland Elementary School
To register, please return the form below to Mrs. Darroch by Jan. 4.
Yes! Sign us up for Highland Family STEAM night on Jan. 11 from 6-8p.m.!
Student’s Name ________________________
Number of Adults attending ________
Number of Children attending ________
6th grade students only
Would you be willing to volunteer to help for 30 minutes during STEAM night? If you would like to be part of the STEAM Team please return this form to Mrs. Darroch. Sixth grade STEAM Team members will work at a STEAM table for 30 minutes on Jan. 11. The 6th grade volunteers will show families in attendance how to use the technology on display.
Student’s Name ____________________ can be part of the STEAM Team on January 11.
(Parent’s Phone Number)
Time slot your child is available to help
Student of the Month –
9th Kyla Fitzgibbons
10th Nathan Ritchey
11th Riley Sas
12th Sarah Gazda
Extra Effort -
9th Zach Massimani
10th Brooke Lively
11th Dalton Brandt
12th Coltin Barker