Central Administration Updates, News, and Events
Universal Free Breakfast for 2022-23 School Year!
Last week, the District was made aware that the Commonwealth will have universal free breakfast for the 2022-23 school year. The Universal Free Breakfast Program will go into effect on October 1, 2022 and run through the end of the 2022-23 school year. Stay tuned for more information.
Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.
Watch the video below to learn more.
We Are Better Together!
Many people commented on the powerful demonstration of community spirit last Friday with so many students and staff wearing their red t-shirts. Let’s “paint the town red” every Friday by donning our new t-shirts and, more importantly, a positive “We Are Better Together” outlook! Thank you once again to our generous donor for making this project possible, and thank you to our staff, students and families for supporting it. Let’s remind ourselves and the community that we really ARE better together by wearing our red!
Excellence in Education Awards - Student of the Month Starts in October!
I wanted to make you aware of an exciting new program that will be taking place beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.
The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce has announced a brand-new initiative to recognize in a very big way the excellent work being done by both Indiana County teachers and students. The initiative, in partnership with the Colonial Family of Dealerships, will highlight various students and teachers from each of the seven county public school districts as well as Indiana County Technology Center (ICTC) throughout the school year, and will culminate with the Indiana County Excellence in Education Awards in the spring. One student and one teacher will be selected at this banquet, with each being awarded a brand-new automobile donated by Colonial. Charles “C.J.” Spadafora, owner of Colonial Motor Mart and Colonial Toyota, stated that he had been looking for a way to give back that would help to shape the future members of the community.
“Our company wants to give back to the community and felt as if the next generation and the teachers who are educating them do not get a lot of recognition,” Spadafora explained. “This is our way of saying thank you for allowing our family to be here for over 75 years, and we hope that we will be here for at least 75 more.”
Mark Hilliard, President of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, said that this program will be more than just another awards banquet. It will be a major way to improve the workforce development in the county. “Career Readiness and workforce development are such important elements to the economic future of our area,” Hilliard stated. “I am so excited to again be working with our county schools as well as Colonial to be able to take career readiness and some of the other wonderful things that are happening in our schools to a whole new level.”
The program, which will kick off in the fall of 2022, will see a senior student nominated each month from each school district, with all of those nominees being invited to the awards banquet in the spring with a chance to win the car. In addition to the students, one teacher in each school district, grades Kindergarten through Grade 12, will be chosen as that district’s Teacher of the Year and will be invited to the banquet with an opportunity to win a vehicle of their own.
Hilliard stated that plans for the banquet itself are currently underway, but his team plans on making it a very special event for all of the nominees and one that each one will surely remember. “We plan to have a red carpet, photographers, and more to make each of these nominees truly feel special and to let them know that we appreciate all of the work that is being done,” Hilliard said.
Once the nominees are all chosen by the school districts, an independent panel will review all of the nominations and choose one individual to be Colonial’s Indiana County Student of the Year and one to be Colonial’s Indiana County Teacher of the Year. The panel will not be affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, any of the Indiana County school entities, or Colonial but will instead be comprised of out-of-county educators, human resource directors, and county leaders.
I feel as if this is the perfect time for an event of this magnitude given the challenges the past few years have presented. Our students and staff have experienced an unprecedented amount of stress and disruption over these past few years. Schools are, by nature, placed in the middle of each and every social conflict or political debate. This effort to recognize the hard work, caring, grit, and determination to persevere and succeed is truly appreciated!
To nominate a teacher and/or learn more about the program, click here.
Salute to Heroes Game on Friday, September 23rd
The Indiana Area School District is partnering with Veterans Affairs of Indiana County to conduct a “Salute to Heroes” Night on Friday, September 23rd. On that night, all current and past military service members as well as local first responders are admitted into the game for free. The Indiana Area School District Board of Directors and the entire IASD family are grateful for the dedication, service, and selflessness displayed by these heroes, and this is simply a small token of appreciation.
Our country and community are comprised of everyday heroes who help make Indiana an amazing place to live and raise a family. On behalf of the IASD Board of Directors, I thank you for your dedication to our community and our country, and for bringing that greatness to IASD in a variety of roles - coaching, volunteering, mentoring, teaching, and leading to name a few.
My hope for this evening is to have the community come out (on September 23rd) to honor and pay respect to the service our hometown heroes do each and every day. The past several years have reminded us all of the need to unite and come together. I am hopeful that on Friday, September 23rd we can show our gratitude to those who have given and continue to give so much, because we are better together!
IUP Youth Day - October 22 at 2pm
The District is pleased to announce that we have partnered with the IUP Athletic Department to conduct another Youth Day scheduled for October 22, 2022. On this day, all IASD students in grades K-8 will be admitted into the IUP football game for free. Parents will need to pay for their own admission to the game. Families are encouraged to have their children wear their Indiana apparel to the game to cheer on the Crimson Hawks as they face Seton Hill at 2:00 pm.
Rally Point Drills Scheduled for October
I previously wrote to you earlier this month explaining the District’s intention to conduct threat preparedness assemblies/training. As a follow up, the District has planned a series of rally point drills. In mid to late October, the District will conduct rally point drills led by the District’s Safety and Security Consultant, Mr. Robert Fatula and IASD Safety and Security Coordinator, Mr. Mike Travis.
The purpose of these drills is to make our students aware of the appropriate response in the time of an emergency. This includes responding to an “Active Shooter” scenario. Please make note that no gunshots/blanks will be fired during these drills at any time. We will be practicing our ability to move to a rally point.
As you are aware, the District has taken a variety of steps to increase our preparedness and awareness regarding these types of unfortunate events. The goals of the training drill are to improve our ability to protect students, save lives, and reduce injuries. As part of the District’s plan, I feel it is necessary to conduct these school-wide drills to help staff and students understand the topic as well as be prepared to the best of our ability in the case of an active shooter scenario.
In closing, we are committed to doing everything it takes to keep our students safe. Please be advised that students will be dismissed at the regular time on the day of their building level training. These drills are a part of our overall safety plan. If you do not want your child to participate in the rally point drills, please contact your child’s school to request that they be removed from the drill. Each school will have a location for those students who wish not to be a part of the day’s conversation.
After School Program for Grades K-8 Starts on October 2nd
We are proud to share an exciting opportunity for your family. The ARIN IU28 has been awarded a 21st Century grant to facilitate after school programming for students in the Indiana Area School District. This program will be administered by the Evergreen After School Club in partnership with the ARIN IU28, and hosted by the Indiana Area School District.
Because of this incredible partnership, we will be able to offer after school programming for interested students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade four days/week (Monday - Thursday) from October - May. This program will provide after school care complete with a snack, homework help, crafts, and fun physical activities, as well as targeted skills tutoring once a week.
If you are interested in registering your child, please complete the form found here. Please understand that due to the requirements of the federal grant, the registration form is very detailed. In an effort to serve your child’s academic needs at Evergreen After School Club, we are requesting the release of your child’s education records. This information is kept confidential and is only used to support your child’s special learning needs. Additionally, this information is used for important state/federal reporting that helps us maintain our grant funding. Please fill out and sign the following Authorization to Release Information form. You will need to complete the registration for each student you want to register. Once registered, your child will be added to the list of interested students, and the program staff will contact you with next steps. Please note that because this program is brand new and staff are still being hired by the partnering agencies, seats may be limited. A waiting list will be created on a first-come-first-serve basis, as completed registrations are received.
October is Unity Month
Belonging is a psychological need that all human beings have. We simply cannot operate at our highest levels of potential if we do not feel the comfort and security that comes with belonging. Because we want our students to succeed at their highest levels in the Indiana Area School District, we strive to create a school culture in which all children feel that they truly belong.
Unfortunately bullying remains a problem in all schools across the country. Bullying makes students feel unwelcome and unsafe. Here in Indiana we want to create a culture in which each and every one of our schools is somewhere our students feel not only safe, but valued and respected. October is Unity month; a time when school districts across the country reflect on the things that bring us together, and refocus their efforts to fight the things that make students feel lonely. In a partnership with the Indiana Inclusion Initiative, all of our schools will host a variety of programs and events to stop bullying, to spread kindness, and to make sure that each and everyone of our students feels like they belong here in the greatest community on earth.
We are truly better together!