Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mobile Ag. Lab

Thanks to the initiative of Mrs. Raubenstrauch the elementary students were able to experience the mobile lab "Agriculture in the classroom" last week.  Mrs. Raubenstrauch, working with the Department of Agriculture, wrote a grant to receive over $2,000 to have the mobile lab come to our elementary school.  Every student spent 50 minutes in the lab learning about different aspects of agriculture and agriculture production.  The grant covered the cost of the mobile lab and an instructor provided by the Department of Agriculture.  I can attest to the quality of learning experience because my oldest daughter constantly tells me about what she learned as she uses the lip balm that the students made from bees wax!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Congratulations to David Klein

One of our seniors, David Klein, was chosen as a Big 30 Academic Award winner.  The Big 30 consists of over 37 school districts in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  The Big 30 revolves around an all-star football game, but the organization also hands out academic scholarship money.  David was one of four high school seniors from the 37 school district to receive the $1,000.00 scholarship.  The scholarship is based on academic performance, community service and school leadership.  Congratulations David, this is a big honor!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Budget Presentation

At the Board meeting last night the school board received a presentation from the Finance Manager, Mr. Rhoads on the latest school district budget. The school Board approved a preliminary budget in February that included a 1 mill tax increase and about $350,000 in spending cuts. As described in a blog post in March, the Governor’s budget cut about an additional $350,000 from the school district’s funding. When all is said and done, the school district is spending at the same level as the 2005-2006 school year. I am proud to report that while the spending of the school district is going down, our achievement scores are rising. This reflects the commitment of the Board and the teachers to raise the level of effective instruction for the school district’s children. While the budget does not include furloughs of employees or cutting of absolutely essential services for the children, there is one area of concern that the school board must be attentive to.

The district and all community members must realize that the budget takes a significant amount of money from “reserves” (i.e. the savings account) to balance the budget. I believe this is a proper use of the reserve funds, but the projections for the reserve fund show that it will be gone after 4 more years. At that time, there will be very difficult decisions to be made regarding personnel and programming. Of course, being an optimist, I hope that the economy improves enough over that time period that the school district’s revenues will make any further cuts unnecessary.

Please feel free to visit the school district’s web site or stop in the district office to review the budget. The budget reflects a conservative financial approach while maintaining vital educational programs and services.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank you to Walmart

WalMart in St. Marys recently donated $250.00 to the Ridgway High School Yearbook.  The Yearbook club used the funds to help support their "Kids Night Out" program that runs throughout the year.  Kids Night Out is a fundraiser that the Yearbook Club uses to help offset the price of the yearbooks for students.  I want to thank Mrs. Buhite (the Yearbook advisor) and all of the students on the yearbook staff for their help and dedication to make sure the yearbook gets produced.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Show Choir at Disney

I apologize for my lack of blogging has been very hectic in the school district as we prepare for the budget, the end of the year, the summer programs we run for teachers and students and planning for the upcoming school year. I will have more information on all of those items in the next few weeks.

I am very proud to tell you that our show choir who had the opportunity to perform in Disney in Florida over the Easter Holiday. Besides the fact the students had the opportunity to get away from the cold rain of northwest Pennsylvania, the students had the opportunity to perform in professional setting and see what life is like for professional entertainers. The following statement is from Mrs. Morley-Palmer, the choir director.
"The Ridgway Show Choir students were Disney cast members for the day on Saturday April 23. They not only performed at Downtown Disney but were lucky enough to spend time with full time Disney cast members for an impromptu Master Class. Students spent about a half hour in a question and answer session and learned the audition process, college credit opportunities, and what a day as a cast member entails."
Congratulations to the students on a great job and thank you to Mrs. Morley-Palmer and all of the adult chaperones.