As this will be my final message to the community for the 2016-2017 school year, I thought it would be appropriate for me to take some time to reflect, as this year rapidly draws to a close.
It has been a positive year for the Bethel Park School District on so many levels—in the classroom, on the athletic fields and in the community.
At the beginning of our Regular School Board Meetings, one of our curriculum department administrators shares with the audience a brief snapshot of some of the many good things that have happened in our schools for the month. Sometimes these presentations last a couple of minutes, but for the most part, they can go 10 to 20 minutes—there are that many good things going on in Bethel Park!
These reports talk about all of the academic and athletic accomplishments of our students, including interscholastic competitions; regional, state and national competitions, as well as scholarships and awards. The report also contains news about the kinds of things our students are doing in the classrooms, especially in the area of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), and these activities are quite impressive as well.
Throughout all grade levels, our students are participating in many hands-on STEAM activities that are expanding how they use their minds, beyond just rote memorization and the retelling of facts. Our students are thinking in newer and different ways as they problem-solve real-world issues. We are proud to be preparing our students for the future in this way.
Also included in the monthly “Good News Report,” are numerous examples of how our students are participating in a variety of community service projects—from getting involved with local organizations and charities, to raising awareness for global concerns as well.
As School Board Directors, we are extremely proud that our students are receiving well-rounded educations that not only prepare them for their professional futures, but are also preparing them to be caring adults, who are focused on making their world a better place.
The “Good News Report” also highlights the accomplishments of our talented and dedicated staff, who have been recognized by organizations such as the PA National Teacher of the Year Program and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Our staff also works hard to submit grant applications that bring funds into our schools to provide our students with many meaningful learning experiences, and we greatly appreciate their efforts. We also appreciate their commitment to preparing our students to not only be scholars but also caring individuals. They model the kind of caring and commitment that we want to see in all of our students.
Whether you have school age children or not, as a resident of Bethel Park, it is our hope that you feel that you are a vital and valued part of our educational community, and we hope you share the same sense of pride that we do about our students and staff. All of their accomplishments are a positive reflection on Bethel Park and help to make our community the special place that it is.
As you are reading this, the Board and Administration are diligently working on the budget for the 2017-2018 school year, trying to be cognizant of the taxpayer, while also providing the same quality educational services our students and families expect and deserve.
It looks very favorable that we will once again be able to present the community with a balanced budget that contains no tax increase for the second consecutive year. The vote on the new budget is tentatively scheduled for the May 23 meeting. If the budget is not ready in May, it will be passed at the June 25 meeting.
I am looking forward to being a part of the Bethel Park High School Class of 2017 Commencement Ceremony on June 17. This is a great day of celebration for our students and their families. On behalf of the entire Bethel Park Board of School Directors, I would like to congratulate our graduating seniors, thank them for all of the positive contributions they have made over the years and wish them much success in the future. See you June 17!