Blue Ridge enrollment increases
BY STACI WILSON
After years of declining enrollment,Blue Ridgeis seeing an influx of students this school term.
High School-Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski reported, at the Monday, Sept. 10, school board meeting, that the district had gained about 25 students at the secondary education level from the previous school year.
And the enrollment increase carried over to the elementary school.
Elementary Principal Matthew Button said enrollment increased 27 students over 2011-12 numbers.
The roughly 50 new students, enrolled throughout the grade levels in the district, were absorbed into classes without a tremendous impact on class sizes except for one area.
Button said the fourth grade science and social studies classes now have about 28 students in them. Other than those subject areas, fourth grade class size averages about 22 students per class, he said.
Jennifer Parsons gained board approval to work as a long-term substitute as a middle school science teacher, effective Sept. 4 until the start of the fourth marking period, on or about April 5, 2013.
Parsons will be subbing for Elena Jones, who was approved by the board to take uncompensated leave until that time.
The board also acknowledged tenure for three teachers: Janice Johnson, Mandy Miller and Margot Parsons.
Christine Hall and Joan Kerr were hired, effective Aug. 27, as food service employees.
The resignation of Elementary Life Skills teacher Lisa Cataline, eefective Aug. 20, was accepted by the board, with regret.
The board approved the Cosmetology Program agreement withEmpireBeautySchooland Empire Education Group for the 2012-13 school year.
Three students are enrolled in the program at a cost of $9,720.
Superintendent Robert McTiernan said the per student cost remained about the same from last year, but fewer students were accessing the program than in 2011-12.
Although the district had planned to field a girls’ soccer team this season, a team never materialized.
McTiernan said the although 11 students signed up to play, no more than eight showed up for practice on any given day.
“We made the decision not to field a team,” he said. The girls’ soccer players were invited to play on the co-ed team, McTiernan said.
To address the change, the board amended the July 16 list of Co-Curricular approvals by eliminating Melanie Gillespie as the Girls’ Head Coach.
Gillespie was added as the Soccer Boys Assistant/JV Coach.
Nebzydoski told the board he was working on a dual enrollment contract withKeystoneCollege.
The details of the contract will be finalized, he said, and ready to present to the board for consideration at the October business meeting.
The principal said the district had been usingLackawannaCollegefor its dual enrollment classes.
But, he said, Keystone had some options which would even allow sophomores enrolled in advance science classes to take advantage of the dual enrollment offerings.
McTiernan reported the closing on the district’s land purchase was scheduled for Thursday. The board approved the purchase of 1.34 acres of land from Summerville Land Development Inc. for $6,700 at the Aug. 13 meeting.
The acquisition will bring theBlue Ridgetrack fully onto the district’s property.
The superintendent also reported that the district has realized about a 36 percent savings in energy costs from July 2011 to July 2012.
Those savings were attributed to the district-wide energy project and upgrades made last year, as well as the summer shut down of the campus on Fridays while school was out of session.