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.”
We would like to thank all the parents, guardians, students and staff members that helped make the First Annual Transition night a wonderful success at Ambridge Area High School! We would also like to thank all the agencies and speakers that attended to help contribute to the night! As the night consisted of planning future academic areas and pathways that included our Beaver County Career and Technology Center, Trades, Advance Placement and Dual Enrollment classes, we were thrilled to see the students excited and invested in their futures while learning about their future academic/career curriculums! On behalf of the Ambridge Area School District, we are excited to see where all the wonderful future plans will take your student as we continue to welcome the upcoming class of 2022 to the High School!
For your reference, the 2018 – 2019 Transition Night Presentation, 2018 – 2019 Course Flow Charts and the 2018 – 2019 Course of Studies Book is now listed at: www.ambridge.k12.pa.us > Schools > Senior High School > Left hand side: Guidance Tab > Scheduling. It is also listed under the Course Selection Book tab. The High School team also re-visited the Junior High the following day to answer any follow up questions and referenced this location for all students! Please feel free to use the information as needed for future planning!
In order to continue preparing for the transition to high school for the class of 2022, future upcoming events in the Spring and Summer will include: 8th- 9th grade move-up day: All students will be able to explore the high school as a class and learn about the programs, meet and greet the school counselor and high school staff, and explore what the high school has to offer. Freshman Orientation: Parents and guardians will be able to explore and review expectations at the high school, understand graduation and class requirements in addition meet all high school staff while walking through their student’s schedules. Details on the dates will follow!
We once again would like to thank the parents/guardians, students, community agencies and staff for taking time to explore the High School curriculum as we continue to prepare for a wonderful future of academics and career explorations! Best wishes at this time for a wonderful Holiday break!
Reference: The 2018-2019 Transition Night Presentation, 2018-2019 Course Handouts and Course Catalogue is now listed at: www.ambridge.k12.pa.us > Schools > Senior High School > Left hand side: Guidance Tab > Scheduling.
Above: Student Council Members that assisted with the 2017-2018 Transition Night: (Back from left to right): Niya Ridout, Haley Racioppo, Ryan Racioppo, Ariyana Thomas, Alexis Cain, Aubreyanna Biteler, Marissa Hooks, Joshua Peters, Dimitri Niaros, Jacob Dunlap, (Front) Eric Smith; Taylor Welling, Jenna Kunkel, Logan Erickson
Two Ambridge residents are spreading the holiday cheer this season by paying it forward to students in the Ambridge Area School District.
On Wednesday morning, two residents stopped by the District Food Services offices to pay off lunch balances for all elementary schools and the junior high school. While both men originally requested anonymity, Yurkovac agreed to speak about his donation in the hopes that others in the community would be inspired to step forward and consider doing the same to help those closest to home. The other donor has released information on his social media accounts, but did not authorize the District to release his name at this time.
Yurkovac said he had the idea to pay off lunch balances after he read a story about someone paying off overdue library fines for a student at one of the local libraries. His wife, Tina, agreed it was a great idea, so he contacted the District to make the offer. “Both my wife and I were on the free and reduced lunch program at one time during our time at Ambridge, so we know what that’s like,” he said. “It got me to thinking that at this time of year, everyone is focused on helping as many people as possible, so they think about the big charities in an effort to help as many as they can. But when we do that, sometimes our own neighborhood can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. We wanted to make our donation a little closer to home.”
At the Junior High, 90 students were helped, for a total of $500 in negative lunch balances, according to District Food Services Director Janet Gaffney. At the elementary schools, a total of 215 students were helped for a total of $796 in negative lunch balances. While the negative lunch balances have been paid off at the elementary and junior high schools, Gaffney noted that the Senior High School still carries a negative lunch balance of $1,320.38.
Gaffney said this is the first time in her 25 years as the food services director for the District that anyone has come forward to pay off lunch balances. “I am so moved and grateful to have been a part of this experience of having two of our parents come forward in this giving act of generosity; to see firsthand the spirit of giving is still alive and well in the AASD,” she said.