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Pa. school district to purchase emergency notification system

February 16, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@heraldmail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — The Greencastle-Antrim School District has needed a districtwide emergency notification system for several years but that need moved to the top of the list following a December accident involving one of the district’s school buses, school officials said.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said last year’s school bus accident did not get to everyone in the district at the same time.

Having a districtwide system would have helped get the word out to more people, he said.

On Dec. 5, 2011, a pickup truck rear-ended a district school bus, filled with 30 students, on Williamsport Pike, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Two students and the driver of the pickup truck were treated at Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital for minor injuries.

After investigating a number of systems, Bob Crider, the district’s director of educational operations, recommended that the district purchase the School Messenger emergency notification system.

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The system would provide phone and email notification to parents and guardians of students in the district regarding any type of districtwide emergency, Crider said.

The system will cost the district about $3,800 a year, he said.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the School Messenger system.

The system will be ordered and installed immediately with the funds to be taken out of next year’s budget, Crider said.

Also during the meeting, the school board approved the Greencastle-Antrim High School’s 2012-13 Program of Studies.

That means starting next year students will see changes to their math and English curriculum that is intended to help boost their math scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests as well as better prepare them in English Composition on the Keystone Exams.

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course tests designed to assess proficiency in a large number of subject areas. They are one component of Pennsylvania’s new system of high school graduation requirements.

New to the Program of Studies is Earned Senior Privilege, which allows students to seek further opportunities within their post-graduation goals, according to high school Principal Edward Rife.

“Seniors who are on track to graduate on time have earned the opportunity to attend classes for less than the standard four blocks per day for an entire school year,” Rife said.

To be eligible, students must need fewer than eight credits in order to fulfill graduation requirements and have met all Pennsylvania proficiency requirements on standardized tests. An application must be completed.

The next board meeting is Thursday, March 1 at 6 p.m. in the middle school library.

A preliminary district budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year is scheduled to be presented at the March 15 board meeting, according to business manager Dick Lipella.

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