We are going through an unprecedented time in our country--and in public education, in particular--with the government-mandated closure of all Pennsylvania schools to stem the spread of the Coronavirus.
During these uncertain times, the Bethel Park School District took every step possible to ensure that education, activities, athletics, and educational trips remained as safe as possible. Unfortunately, that also meant cancelling all events to ensure everyone’s continued health and safety. I would like to commend all of our administrators, teachers, support staff, and all district employees—whatever their role--for coming together and working as a unified team during this difficult time, to not only make the difficult decisions, but to also keep our education program going via virtual instruction throughout the closure.
I also would like to thank our families for their continued patience and support as we created a Continuity of Education Program that had never been implemented in Bethel Park prior to the closure. Together, we have worked to overcome the initial bumps in the road and make adjustments to allow our students to continue learning. This doesn’t happen without a spirit of cooperation between our educators and families. We thank you for your willingness to participate in this venture. Our administration has consistently shared as much information as possible with our families and communities, providing updates about this constantly evolving situation--no matter the time of day.
We know our families may still have questions, and unfortunately, many of these questions cannot be answered yet. We are working through several issues, mostly involving how to honor our Class of 2020 graduates in as celebratory manner as possible, while ensuring everyone’s health and safety. As soon as we are able to provide definitive answers to these important questions, we will share those details through our numerous communications channels. With the Governor closing all Pennsylvania schools through the end of the school year and not knowing exactly when it will be safe to be together in large groups again, it poses quite a challenge for our administrators and everyone who is involved with planning these end of the school year traditions.
Aside from transitioning the District through the closure period, we are also in a state of transition administratively. We recently hired Dr. Joseph Dimperio as our Interim Superintendent, to not only lead our district educationally, but also to lead our search for a new Superintendent. You have our assurance that Dr. Dimperio will not operate in a vacuum during the search process. We plan to involve all stakeholders—parents, community leaders, residents, staff and students—in this search to ensure that our next superintendent is the right leader for Bethel Park.
Recently, we hired Nick Fierst as our new Director of Facilities and Services. Mr. Fierst’s first weeks coincided with the initial closure of schools, so he was immediately tasked with the difficult task of devising a plan to thoroughly sanitize all of our buildings to ensure a safe and clean environment during this unique time. We appreciate his leadership in this important area.
Additionally, the Board will be replacing two vital positions on our Administrative Team—Leonard Corazzi, our Director of Finance and Operations, as well as Vicki Flotta, our Director of Public Relations—who both will be retiring at the end of June after many years of faithful service to the District.
As the School Board moves forward with a renewed dedication to and focus on our community, we continue to work toward greater transparency, more involvement and fiscal responsibility. To that end, we are committed to developing a long-range plan that will serve as a road map that will not only be shared with the community, but will also guide us as we work together to strengthen our educational programs, facilities, finances and future.
We are conducting our meetings during the closure virtually, and we hope you have had the opportunity to watch the meetings on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/bethel.park.52
. We also thank Dave Cable
at BPTV for videotaping the meetings and rebroadcasting them on the cable channel, as well the station’s YouTube channel.
I would also like to thank Food Service Director Joe Consolmagno and his staff for their outstanding efforts to provide breakfasts and lunches on a daily basis to children 18 years and younger who need them during the closure. Your efforts are much appreciated!
As you can see, even though our schools are closed to the public, important work in the Bethel Park School District continues on a daily basis. Again, we thank everyone who works in the District for their efforts to keep things moving, and we also thank our community, our students and families for their patience and support of our efforts to try and restore some sense of normalcy within our school district community.
Bethel Park has shown great strength and resiliency as a school district and community during this unprecedented time of adversity. I know we will continue get through all of this by supporting and looking out for one another, showing care and compassion for our neighbors, and continuing to demonstrate that special Bethel Park spirit.
On behalf of the Bethel Park Board of School Directors, we hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe. We look forward to your continued involvement in our school district. Great days are ahead.