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The middle school has received a $20,000 STEAM grant to use in an engineering, technology and arts-focused education project.
With funding provided by the Grable and Benedum foundations, the grants are being awarded through The Center for Creativity, Arts and Technology.
Grants are designed to assist schools in "building and advancing school-community STEAM partnerships."
In a news release, the district said the money will be used to "improve learning and generate student interest in engineering and computer science fields of study, which align with the growing depth of learning and career readiness pathways," technology director Ed McKaveney said.
Hampton will partner with Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and PPG Industry employees living in the district, as well as those working at the PPG Coatings Innovation Center.
School board members voted 9-0 May 30 to approve fact-finder Mark Winters' recommendations for contracts with the district's teachers and support staff.
Representatives of the Mars Area Education Association and Mars Area Education Support Professionals said members rejected the report in earlier votes.
"Given the difficult economic environment, we found this to be a fair report," board President J. Dayle Ferguson said. "By definition, fact-finding is supposed to be a compromise."
The board will take a second vote at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today. The two unions also must vote a second time.
Mr. Winters recommended a two-year agreement. Under the plan, teachers would move up one step on the salary schedule each year.
Current teacher salaries range from $38,532 to $72,712. Teachers would also pay an increased deductible and co-pays for health insurance under the recommendation, and five minutes would be added to the work day.
Contracts with both unions will end June 30. Last May, the board approved a two-year contract recommended by Mr. Winters while the teachers rejected it. But the teachers came back to the board in August with a proposal to adopt the provisions of the first year of the report, including salary and step movement freezes.
• Advanced high school art students would like to have access to art rooms on the day they do not have class.
One of the cuts in the 2012-13 budget was reducing art classes at the high school to four days per week.
But that is not enough time for students who are "truly passionate" about art and need to put together a portfolio for post-secondary art education, student Andrea Dean told school board members May 30.
"I understand the actions being taken right now," Ms. Dean said. "But taking away high school education is not the way."
Ms. Dean said students need to put together a portfolio of 10 to 20 pieces of art for admission to art schools. If the cut is going to remain, "then you need to allow just the advanced art students to have access to the supplies," she said.
Instead, she suggested allowing the advanced art students to have study hall in the art room on the day they do not have art class. This would allow them to work on projects even if their teacher is not present.
Although art has been cut to four days per week, it will carry a full credit, board President J. Dayle Ferguson said. Students previously had been told that the class would only carry half of a credit.
The senior high school has been named one of "America's Best High Schools" by Newsweek Magazine.
To be considered for inclusion, public high schools had to complete a survey to provide data from the 2010-11 academic year. More than 2,300 schools were assessed to produce the final list of the top 1,000 public high schools in the nation.
The rankings are determined by a formula that considers these weighted components -- graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent) and AP Courses offered per student (5 percent).
Also, the senior high school has been listed among the nation's best schools by the Washington Post. North Allegheny ranked 14th in Pennsylvania on the list.
These changes have been approved by school directors to the 2012-13 school calendar:
• Oct. 17 will be a testing day. The PSAT will be administered to students in grades 10 and 11. Students in grade 12 will report at 11 a.m. that day.
• Due to the elimination of the grade 11 PSSA exams, the April 9 and 10 testing days have been canceled and classes will be held on both days.
The change will extend spring break one day for secondary students.
First Published June 7, 2012 5:56 am