The Joe Pasquerilla era will soon end at Northgate. The fourth year superintendent was named the next superintendent of the Bethel Park School District at a special board meeting last night.
The coming months will be very important to and very busy for Northgate as the district will look to identify an interim candidate as they begin their search for their next superintendent.
At last Monday’s board meeting the Northgate School Board decided not to pursue the idea of realigning the elementary schools, based on community feedback as well as their own concerns. Instead the board will investigate and try to address current safety concerns that were raised while soliciting feedback on the feasibility discussions.
UPDATE: The meeting scheduled for Monday, January 26th will start at 7:00 PM. I had previously posted an incorrect time.
The Northgate School District is investigating the possibility of reorganizing its two elementary schools, so that one building is used for K-3 students while the other would be used to teach students in grades 4-6. This Monday, January 26th, at 7:00 there will be a meeting at the high school to discuss the feasibility of such an idea. I would like to briefly discuss my thoughts on the matter.
First it seems to me that moving to a K-3, 4-6 model makes a lot of educational sense. Some teachers and administrators have noted that having all teachers of a particular grade teaching together in the same building would enable more collaboration and help with curriculum alignment. Some people have also mentioned that such a move could bring greater unity as a district. Another educational benefit would be the possibility of having smaller class sizes due to being able to evenly distribute students in each grade level. I think this is not only the greatest benefit, but for me, it is the reason why the district needs to continue to pursue this option. For the past two years, elementary class sizes of been considerately higher than many would prefer, and in both years, the district made the decision to hire additional elementary school teachers months into the school year. Several students have had to move back and forth between elementary schools, on occasion more than once, so that class sizes could be made somewhat manageable. I feel that it is imperative that we stop moving children back and forth between elementary schools in such fashion.
Some people have also noted some cons to such a move. The biggest one that comes to mind is that some students that walk to school may now have to walk a greater distance. Families with multiple elementary school aged children could have added complexity in getting there kids to school if they attend two different schools. Safety patrols are comprised of fifth and sixth grade students so they would only exist at one school. Also there would likely be some cost in preparing the buildings for such a transition. I think these issues are significantly outweighed by the education benefits previously discussed. I also think many of them can be solved or worked around.
It is possible that there are other benefits\problems that I did not discuss. If you would like learn more or would like to add to the conversation, please consider attending the meeting this Monday. As I have said, it is my belief that reorganizing the schools would be very beneficial. I would take that a step further and would say the district MUST proceed with such a move unless doing so presents a far greater problem that has not yet been discovered. It is imperative that we stop shuffling students between schools and do what is best for all the elementary school students.
I shared my personal calendar of the major Northgate school board meetings (Committee of the Whole, Regular Committee Meeting, Finance, Student Affairs, and other special meetings as called). Note that this specific calendar is not maintained by the district and therefore changes to meeting dates and times may not necessarily get reflected on this calendar. Please see the Northgate School District website for up to date information: http://www.northgate.k12.pa.us/default.aspx
The calendar is provided below as well as linked here.
Below are the 2015 committee assignments and meeting dates. Please note that as of this posting this information is correct to the best of my knowledge however, it is possible that this information could change at some point in the future and if so, it may not get updated on this blog.
(note that the Athletic Committee meeting time is different from last year)
The Northgate School District administration and school board would like your feedback. There is a parent survey posted on the school district website. The link to the survey is about half way down the page. There is as least one question pertaining to the possibility of refactoring the elementary schools so that one building is responsible for the earlier elementary grades and the other building is responsible for the later elementary grades. Please consider taking the survey and giving us your opnions.
From time to time the subject of grants comes up and people want to know for which grants Northgate applies. In the June committee meeting, the board approved the submission of the following grants:
- Title I
- Title IIA
- Title III
- Accountability Block Grant
- Keystones to Opportunity Grant
- Select Teacher Grants
- Safe Schools
- Make Shop Grant