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School changes are happening in Pa.

August 09, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

School district officials in Franklin and Fulton counties will learn more about what their districts will have to do to get a piece of the slots' revenue pie for schools.

Other than that, parents and students can expect stricter dress codes in some school districts, while a few schools have received makeovers.

The Chambersburg, Tuscarora and Central Fulton school districts are tightening up the dress codes for students, with changes noted in student handbooks, officials said.

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Central Fulton also has changed its policy concerning in-school suspensions.

Previously, a student who had detentions and committed another wrong got an in-school suspension. Instead of an in-school suspension, in which the student misses class, the student will be given Saturday detention from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., according to McConnellsburg Middle School Principal Dwayne Northcraft and McConnellsburg High School Principal John Heuston.

Those students will be tested to determine the level of their reading and math skills so the students can work on improving those skills during Saturday detention, Northcraft said.

The Chambersburg Area School District has several building projects in the works.

District officials will be looking to buy land for a new high school.

The new $10 million Scotland Elementary School should be ready by the end of Christmas break, and possibly earlier, said Eric Michael, assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction.

The older Scotland Elementary nearby might be used to house students while other schools are renovated or razed, Michael said.

Under a proposed plan, Chambersburg Area Senior High School and Faust Junior High School would become middle schools and Chambersburg Area Middle School would become an elementary school.

Sharpe, King Street, Gordy, Coldbrook, Duffield and Marion elementary schools would close under the proposed plan.

A $3 million renovation at Lurgan Elementary School should be done for the new school year, Michael said. Utility systems were upgraded and every classroom has two computers connected to the Internet.

All of the district's elementary schools now have at least one computer lab, he said.

The School Board is expected to vote this month whether to close Letterkenny Elementary School, Michael said. If that school closes, the 84 students would start their school year at Lurgan Elementary.

The Chambersburg district will be using a new language arts textbook series and starting a program to help ensure all students are reading at grade level, Michael said.

Three math coaches will start at the middle, junior and high schools to help students meet state proficiency levels, Michael said. In addition to their regular math class, some students will get additional math help during study hall or they will be pulled out of an elective such as art, music or family/consumer sciences, he said.

The math coaches are being funded with $690,000 from the state, he said.

In the Tuscarora School District, the $12 million renovation and addition at James Buchanan Middle School is expected to be finished in October 2005, Superintendent Tom Stapleford said. The school is getting 10 more classrooms, a media center, a new music suite, a distance learning lab and a computer lab.

This fall, renovations and additions will begin at Mountain View and Montgomery elementary schools, Stapleford said. In addition to updating heating, plumbing, the electrical system and computer wiring, the schools will be getting new classrooms and space for music programs. The project costs $4 million for each school, both of which are about 45 to 50 years old, Stapleford said.

School officials also are talking about upgrading utility systems at James Buchanan High School, Stapleford said.

Tuscarora has created a ninth-grade dean position, a combination of a disciplinarian and a guidance counselor, to help ninth-graders make the transition to high school, Stapleford said. The ninth-grade academy program also calls for homeroom teachers to act as advisers for freshmen.

Waynesboro Area High School will have four more modular classrooms this year, School Board President Larry Glenn said. Some classes had more than 30 students last school year, but they should get back down to around 25 or 26 this year, he said.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District will continue to deal with growth, both overall and with a population bubble working its way through the high school, Superintendent P. Duff Rearick said.

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