RIDGWAY-- The Governing Board of the Ridgway Area School District (RASD) gathered on Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. for the monthly meeting. The board graciously welcomed back the RASD Students of the Month, whose presence had been missed over the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 situation. Fifth Graders Andrea Porter and Kiptyn MacDonald, along with Eighth Grader Rowena Pruett and Senior Anna Duffield, were honored for their accomplishments over the past month. Senior Anna Duffield was not available to attend the meeting.
A local resident brought to the board's attention a note he had received with his mail-in ballot from the Elk County Elections Office. He showed the message about eliminating the occupational tax to the board and called out differences between what the RASD has previously said about the tax elimination and the current letter. Donna Sidelinger, the RASD Business Manager, quickly answered his questions by showing that the letter he thought was RASD was, in fact, from the Ridgway Borough Council, which is also placing on the ballot the elimination of the Occupational tax for all its residents. A separate ballot initiative for residents in the Ridgway Area School District will also be on the ballot on November 2, and the RASD hopes everyone will vote in favor of the removal of the dated tax in favor of a slight increase in the Earned Income Tax.
Principal Pam Yeager of the FSG Elementary School presented her report to the board. Students and staff participated in a fire drill and announced a walkthrough lockdown drill this past month. The teachers did an incredible job preparing students for the drills. After the lockdown, Yeager met with each teacher and their class to foster a safe and secure school environment and answer any questions. Fire Prevention Week was the week of October 4. The Ridgway Fire Department assisted FSG with running a fire drill with staff and students, and they also showed off the fire trucks and equipment to the elementary students over the lunch period. The ELKER expectations have been taught to all students across all environments. Since the beginning of the school year, FSG has had a total of 14 discipline referrals. For the first two months of school during the 2020-2021 school year, the elementary had 18 discipline referrals. The PBIS Core team and the faculty will examine this data at next week's faculty meeting. Mini grade level PBIS review meetings were held with the students on Wednesday, September 22. The ELKER expectations and systems of
recognition were discussed. FSG held an Open House on Thursday, September 23. Yeager and her staff would like to thank everyone for attending. The teachers worked hard to showcase some of our students' best work. had a fabulous turn-out, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to visit with our students and their families. Our PTO hosted a Book Fair during Open House, which was very well received by our families. In conjunction with the middle/high school, the elementary staff and students enjoyed participating in the Spirit Week theme days to celebrate Homecoming Week. The elementary hosted its first PTO meeting for the school year. Meetings will be held on the first
Monday of the month at 6:15 p.m., with the exception of January 2022 (2nd Monday of the month). FSG is looking forward to growing this valuable committee. Yeager encourages parents of elementary students to join. An SPM Performance Measure) Workshop was held this past week with the K-2 elementary teaching staff. Next week, the same workshop is being offered to teachers in grades 3-5. These workshops focus on the new LEA-selected measures outlined in Act 13 and allow the teachers to review data, collaborate, ask questions, and begin to write their own individualized SPM goals.
The Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program is once again teaming up with the staff and teachers of FSG Elementary to offer a supply of nutritious meals and snacks for our students over the weekends and extended breaks, free of charge. The program's goal is to help those children whose families have difficulties providing enough food for the entire month. Bags of food are distributed on the last school day of the week on a rotating basis. This program is run entirely by wonderful volunteers who help with packing and providing the bags of food. Neighbors Feeding Neighbors is sponsored by the Bethlehem Lutheran Church and is funded through generous gifts from donors, grants, and fundraising activities.
New principal Noel Petrosky of the Ridgway Area High/Middle School presented her report to the board. The Ridgway Chamber of Commerce Youth Development Committee, a joint project of the High School and the Ridgway/Elk County Chamber of Commerce, has decided to transition this committee into a more school-based program for the community. Those students actively involved on boards will continue, Adria Magnusson represents students on the Ridgway Borough Council, and Julie Peterson is the student representative to the School Board. The School board member will transition every year, and the position will be filled by the Student Council President.RAHS is currently working with the Student Council, the Entrepreneurship Class, and DECA to build a community stewardship program with the Chamber's support.
The Middle-High School will implement a system of continuous identification for at-risk youth. This process will encompass a multi-criteria system and includes; Attendance, where students absent more than 85% of the day's courses meet will be identified; Discipline, where Students that have three or more discipline referrals in a nine will be identified; and Academics where Students that are maintaining two or more course grades below a 70% in one nine weeks period are identified. "Kid Talk" meetings will be held two times a quarter with grade-level teams. Review of students and potential support for identified areas of concern will be addressed. High school intervention support plans will be developed for the identified students. Middle school parents will be contacted, and informal student plans are discussed. Supports include but are not limited to SAP, ADAS, CSBBH, DCI, Homework Club, Campus Center, Truancy Prevention, CYS.
For the Middle School Academic Goal: At the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year, grade level student proficiency will increase at least 40% from the baseline to the final assessment on the school-administered benchmarking program, Study Island, in ELA and math for grades 6-8 and science in grade 8. Benchmarks are completed four times a school year. Data is reviewed, student proficiency is monitored, growth areas are identified, and goals are set. A review of this
information will happen after each assessment. For the High School Academic Goal, at the conclusion of the 2022 school year, the high school will attain a graduation pathway success rate of 95% for all students identified in August 2021 as on track to graduate (53 identified students).
Other activities at the Middle and High School included: The Signs of Suicide prevention program was presented to all seventh and eleventh-grade students. The Rotary Student of the Month was recognized: Adria Magnusson. All of the student School Pictures were completed. Team meetings for identifying at-risk students have been held at every grade level. RASD is implementing a new intervention system where identified students will meet with the school counselor to develop a plan to address the concerns identified and set goals. This plan will be reviewed with students during the common period by homeroom teachers
and reviewed at the next team meeting. High School English and Biology classes will be taking the CDT this month. This data will help them to identify areas of need as they move towards the Keystone exams
St. Marys Police Officer Mike Shaffer brought his dog to the school for a routine drug search, with no areas of concern noted
Conferences and field trips approved by the School Board include a fantastic opportunity for RASD High School Students to attend an open-heart surgery in a Pittsburgh Hospital chaperoned by Ms.Buhite. All of these conferences were approved. Financial reports and expenses showed nothing unusual and were approved unanimously.
The RASD School Board's next meeting will be a Policy Meeting on Wednesday, October 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Elementary Library. A Work Session will be held on Tuesday, November 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Elementary Cafeteria. The full Board Meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Elementary Cafeteria. Board meetings are open to the public, with masks required for anyone entering the school.