Superintendent Glasspool promises changes for PENNCREST

By Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, editor-in-chief and managing editor

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Dr. Timothy Glasspool

Students and staff at PENNCREST can expect to see changes in their schools starting in early October. Over summer break, new superintendent Dr. Timothy Glasspool worked to reduce standardized testing in the elementary and high schools, increase opportunities for students across the district, and work closely with administration and outside sources to modernize PENNCREST.

One of Dr. Glasspool’s initiatives is to decrease the amount of standardized testing in both the elementary and high schools. “We need to reduce the frequency of lengthy standardized assessments in grades K-12 and spend more student instruction time engaged in purposeful teaching and learning,” Dr. Glasspool said. He also suggested the possibility of the district paying for the PSATs, and reimbursing students who receive a 3 or above on their Advanced Placement exams.

One change that may be indicative of the district’s future direction has already been implemented at Saegertown High School. As many students at SHS have noticed, French class is now being taught online by Mr. Nathan Youngblood from Maplewood. Dr. Glasspool plans to expand upon the idea of online classes by working closely with the Virtual Learning Network, one of the largest networks of district-based virtual academies in the United States. By partnering with VLN, students at PENNCREST will be able to take classes not offered inside their buildings.

Dr. Glasspool also plans to improve upon electives and activities already offered at school. In order to increase participation, Dr. Glasspool suggested “school activity buses” to provide students with transportation. This option will be explored.

Another of Dr. Glasspool’s objectives is to balance the budget without raising taxes for the second year in a row. “We can spend the money we have in a better ways,” Dr. Glasspool said. He wants to achieve this without the loss of any teachers or faculty, noting that, “Staff makes the difference at schools.”

Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 44, which created the committee that will develop the criteria to measure school safety, and help administer grants based upon preparedness. At the September work session, the PENNCREST school board revealed that the district received $25,000 towards ALICE training, possible visitor management, exterior door upgrades and portable metal detectors.  Dr. Glasspool and Principal Tom Baker are slated for ALICE training in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24-25 of this year. “I don’t know what to expect,” Mr. Baker said. “But I hope it will be beneficial to not only our school, but the whole district as well.” PENNCREST is also in the process of applying for a competitive grant that would award the district more funds to be put towards security.

The PENNCREST website will also be receiving a makeover. Dr. Glasspool plans to streamline the graphics and increase social media like Facebook and Twitter in order to keep community members up to date. Community members that follow the PENNCREST Facebook page may have already noticed the updated profile picture. More updates will follow. In addition, students may soon be able to receive texts about buses and two-hour delays rather than the traditional phone calls.  

Dr. Glasspool promises to bring new ideas and perspectives to PENNCREST. He will remain a visible figure in the administration and maintain an open line of communication. “Actions will speak louder than words,” Dr. Glasspool said. “And I’m excited to see what students and staff have to say.”

 

 

 

New superintendent outlines plans for PENNCREST

by Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, news editor and sports editor 

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Dr. Timothy Glasspool

On Monday June 4, Dr. Timothy Glasspool was announced as the new PENNCREST superintendent, replacing Mr. Brad Whitman, who filled the position since mid April of 2018. Glasspool, a former superintendent of Plum Borough School District, was chosen by a committee assembled by the IU-5.

Dr. Glasspool attended Gannon University, then went on to receive his masters at Carnegie Mellon in 2003. He then earned his doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. He served at New Kensington-Arnold and Burrell school district, before becoming superintendent of Plum Borough in January 2012.

During a recent interview, Dr. Glasspool shared four areas of focus for PENNCREST: curriculum, communication with stakeholders, school safety, and fiscal stability. He also aims to boost the district’s Future Ready PA Index profile by altering the curriculum and instruction that affect standardized test scores.

School safety is another matter that Dr. Glasspool intends to tackle during his tenure at PENNCREST. He advocates for active shooter preparation (ALICE training) that would better prepare students and staff in the event of a threat. Dr. Glasspool addressed the issue of firearms in school buildings by acknowledging the potential ramifications. “As soon as a firearm is brought into a school, it is a potential weapon for someone to use,” Dr. Glasspool said. “The person armed must know how to use and defend that weapon and must be mentally and physically stable.” He intends to work closely with law enforcement to improve security.

Former superintendent Mr. Whitman was closely involved in the search for the new superintendent through his work at the IU-5. He cites Dr. Glasspool’s leadership style and personable nature as what set him apart. Mr. Whitman will remain at PENNCREST for the next week or two to help Dr. Glasspool transition into the position. “The district is in good hands,” Mr. Whitman said. “It will continue to move forward in a positive direction. The beginning of next school year will be very exciting.”

During his time at PENNCREST, Dr. Glasspool vows to listen, remain visible, and share and exchange thoughts with the community. He plans to add opportunities for students and to work with the board and community as a cohesive unit. “There is not a one size fits all for education,” Dr. Glasspool said. “I believe that the best place to educate a student is in a public school.”

Saegertown welcomes 2018-19 student council officers

By Hillary Twiford, news editor

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Payton Brooks

The 2017-18 student council members are wrapping up their duties and saying goodbye to Saegertown High School. While they will be remembered for organizing many events, it is time for the 2018-19 seniors to take over the helm. “It has been an honor to serve the Saegertown community this year,” outgoing president Payton Brooks said.

In the fall, Saegertown welcomes Mikayla Balog as student council president, Braeden Kantz as vice president, Sheena Byham as secretary, Carlie Schlosser as treasurer, Kassie Boyd as public relations officer, and Gabe DeYoung as historian.

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Mikayla Balog

“I have ideas to help improve the school,” Balog said. “I think I could make a positive change.” Her ideas include ways to boost school spirit and build a positive environment.

This year, the process of electing new members to student council was different. Normally, candidates create different parties and deliver speeches to the student body. Afterward, the student body votes to decide which students will represent them the following school year. However, this year only one group of students ran, resulting in them being named to the positions. Despite the unusual process, the new officers are ready to hit the ground running next year.

 

Ms. Tracy Lobins sees success in her first year

By Jake Reisinger, staff writer

Ms. Lobins

Ms. Tracy Lobins has completed her first year at Saegertown.

Junior high science teacher Tracy Lobins arrived in late October for her first year at Saegertown. In previous years this position was held by Mr. George Nahay, and the position was filled temporarily by Ms. Alicia Weiss at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Ms. Lobins felt that her first year went well. “The kids got to know me, which was nice,” Lobins said. “It was great. The staff is super friendly.”

The events Saegertown had to offer also pleased her. “The building had many fun events like the ice cream social, and the field day for Junior High Students.” While she enjoyed those events, her favorite one from the school year was the lip sync contest in December. “It was fun seeing all the kids join in and dance.” Most will remember that Lobins participated in the amazing junior high teacher lip sync to “YMCA” by the Village people. 

Ms. Lobins plans to get married to Jake Moore in October 2018. Her wedding will take place at a YMCA Camp named Camp Coffman. One of her best friends who also happens to teach at Saegertown, Ms. Kara Bechtel, will be married over this summer as well. “I’m excited for Ms. Bechtel and me both getting married this year,” Lobins said. 

Ms. Lobins did find a few differences from her old school compared to Saegertown. “There is a lot more school spirit here, and it seems that the kids like to be here.” Overall, she has enjoyed her first year at Saegertown. “It was a successful year for me, everything went well.”