On behalf of the Bethel Park School Directors, I would like to welcome everyone back to the new school year beginning on Tuesday, August 24th. I have several items of interest to share with you. First of all, under the guidance and leadership of our new Superintendent Dr. James Walsh, we have marched forward with our goal of a Strategic Plan. All summer long, the subcommittees have been meeting to create long-range goals for the district. We plan to have the draft available for the public to view by the early fall. This Strategic Plan is in timely proximity to the Municipality’s Strategic Plan, and we hope to publicize them together as we jointly look forward to a better Bethel Park, one with a longer-range vision than before.
Secondly, as we move forward into our new “normal,” the students return to five day in-person instruction. However, as we all know, COVID has not miraculously gone away. Even as I write this, the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Allegheny Health Department continue to update us about all the strategies that we can employ to safeguard our students, staff, and community from the spread of the new Delta variant. For example, social distancing as much as possible and extra measures of deep cleaning will continue, as will contact tracing and quarantining for positive cases.
We know that last year was not ideal on many fronts and to compensate for any academic loss, this summer, we have held in-class and remote summer learning and provided tutoring opportunities to help remediate students. Addressing learning loss and reviewing the previous year’s concepts will be uppermost in our teachers’ assessments at the beginning of the year.
Regarding personnel moves since last year, we have welcomed our new Director of Communications and Public Relations: Mr. James Cromie, and our new Administrator for Human Resource Services: Mr. Anthony Piscioneri. We have also bid adieu to Mr. Ron Reyer, Technology Director, as he enters the private sector for employment. Up and coming retirements include Dr. Janet O’Rourke, Assistant Superintendent, and Mrs. Lori Sutton, Director of Special Education. We wish all these individuals the best in their future endeavors.
We also welcome two new High School Assistant Principals, Diana Bruno-Fronczek, and Mark Korcinsky. Finally, we have realigned our Security Personnel Plan so that there will be a School Police Officer or a School Security Officer located at every school site in Bethel Park.
We are monitoring class size numbers, high on our list of priorities, as we continue to recognize our fiscal responsibilities to our citizens. Even with the budget increase voted on in June, we are still below the tax rate from the 18-19 school year. Monies garnered from State and Federal COVID relief this year have helped us tremendously to offset costs.
So it is with optimism that we look forward to a better future together, with renewed energy and with a renewed sense of community as we prepare for the 21-22 school year. I wish everyone much success as we begin the new school year.
This message appeared in the August 2021 issue of the Bethel Park Chronicles.