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is a reminder to parents whose children are attending GNA.
We do not carry
medical insurance on students, but do provide parents with the opportunity to
select a primary excess group insurance plan for students.
you for making recent basket raffle a huge success
Letter to Editor
- Citizens Voice
We would like to take this opportunity
to express our sincerest gratitude and thanks for making our recent basket raffle
to benefit Mrs. Barbara Piontkowski a huge success. First, thanks to all who donated
baskets, gift cards, money, or other gifts to make this a remarkable event. Next,
we truly appreciate all who came out and purchased tickets for this fundraiser.
A huge thank you also goes out to your newspaper for publicizing this event. Finally,
thanks to the Greater Nanticoke Area School District administration, faculty,
staff, and students for all of your help. Because of everyones support,
Barb is in better spirits knowing that so many in our community care so much about
her. Barb thanks everyone from the bottom of her heart.
Club Soars In The Sky
Channel 16 WNEPTV
club at a high school in Luzerne County is taking flight. Well, at least their
The engineering club at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School
launched a weather balloon as part of a class project.
Caitlyn Bigos, a freshman
at the high School said, Were sending something into the edge of our
atmosphere. Its awesome!
Science teacher Anthony Fleury came up
with the idea. Hes done a launch in the past, but this is the first time
the students are in charge, which he said is much better than reading about it
in a textbook.
There are all sorts of simulated things that you can do,
but I dont want a simulated mission. I want the kids to the do something
real that can really get them excited about science and engineering, said
We were figuring out how this would work on our own and we just
learn so much more when you do it like that, said Bigos.
an 11th grade student said, Its really good to get hands on experience
with science and engineering because a lot of kids dont understand how important
they can be.
The hands-on experience sent the balloon 95,000 feet in
The club originally planned to launch the weather balloon earlier
this year, but ironically the weather didnt cooperate.
Fleury said, We
actually started this project back in October, but there were very few clear days.
the students sent the balloon into the sky, they had to blow it up to a diameter
of about five and a half feet, or about the average height of a student in the
When the balloon finally went up, it took off.
Now, the students
Mr. Fleury will make the trip to pick up the balloon, where ever it lands.
between here and New York City, said the science teacher.
finally tracks the balloon down, the lesson continues.
the camera which will take pictures and the sensor which will gather data,
With a success so far, the engineering club in Nanticoke hopes
to launch again.
Absolutely, provided they can find it, said Fleury.
Nanticoke Area ballplayers help fight hunger
Nanticoke Area High School senior baseball players Joe Jobo Olszyk
and Josh Benscoter wanted to make their senior project count.
The two have
shared a long term friendship based on a mutual love of the game, as well as helping
others. Passing the Nanticoke Community Food Bank at St. Faustinas parish
one Wednesday, an idea took root: combine their two passions to benefit the community.
people waiting in line to receive food, the boys realized there were people in
the community who had true need, who had to choose between food and medicine,
said Jenifer Olszyk, Joes mother, they wanted to help.
collection for the food bank during the teams season seemed like a perfect
Jenifer, the baseball teams booster club secretary, provided
vision and support for the boys as they worked to make their vision a reality.
Clinical Research Coordinator at Wyoming Valleys Henry Geisinger Center
and a clinical nursing instructor at Luzerne County Community College, her heart
for service is reflected in her sons commitment to service.
her co-workers who, upon hearing about the food collection, overwhelmed her with
When we help others, it puts our own lives in a proper
perspective, when youre having a bad day and you realize there are people
struggling with poverty and illness, she said, you gain gratitude
for your own blessings.
Both boys said senior adviser David Prushinski
was totally supportive of the project, providing direction and support.
year, seniors were directed to focus their projects on benefiting the community,
and this effort certainly fulfilled that requirement.
At the Trojan Classic
tournament on Sunday, the spirit of competition on the field yielded to a spirit
of cooperation and goodwill on the sidelines, as a steady stream of players from
other teams quietly brought cans of soup and vegetables, dry goods, and other
And although the Nanticoke Trojans won their game Sunday against the
Dallas Mountaineers in overtime, another quieter victory was won against hunger
in the local area.
The teams coach Dean Myers made success possible,
always willing to take time to share information about the project with others,
communicating with parents, encouraging his players to be their best in every
The project also required the boys do research regarding area
specific poverty, said Jenifer. The numbers made the need a reality.
Benscoter couldnt have been prouder of son Josh, both as a baseball player
and as a person.
Josh has been a baseball player since hes about
7 years old, and weve always been proud of his hard work, said Mark
Benscoter. And were now very proud that he has a heart to give back
to the community.
The response has been overwhelming and heartwarming,
said Jenifer, I had to set aside an area of my house for the collection
of food items.
Both boys will be heading off to college in September,
with Olszyk majoring in criminal justice in hopes of joining the State Police
or the National Guard. Benscoter is set on earning a degree in engineering.
wanting to contribute to this project can drop off any can goods and non-perishable
foods at Nanticoke home games or practices throughout the season. They can also
contact Jenifer Olszyk at 570-332-4391 for more information and to request pick
get lesson rich in art and local history
Paul Golias - Citizens
An excited Frank Fernandez applied
an iron oxide glaze to a piece of pottery he shaped in a classroom at Nanticoke
I never did anything like this before, the 10-year-old
said Tuesday morning, as 29 students of art teacher Michelle Kordek gathered to
continue a multi-faceted project.
They were making pottery, but they also were
gaining knowledge of the areas anthracite mining history and one of its
legacies polluted water runoff from abandoned mines. The iron oxide used
to make the glaze came from a site dubbed Red Lake, a former strip mine pit and
municipal landfill in Newport Township, near the former Glen-Nan Colliery.
children had previously made pinch pots out of clay. The pots were baked and,
following application of the iron oxide glaze on Tuesday, they were fired again.
the classroom project, the fourth grade and fifth grade students took field tours
of abandoned mine sites like Red Lake. The 20-acre site is typical of abandoned
mine drainage problems in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The lake bubbles and gurgles
as water rushes in from seeps and old mine gangways. Acid mine water runs into
the Honey Pot discharge from an abandoned air shaft of Susquehanna No. 7 Colliery.
The merged flow is about 2,000 gallons per minute, according to Bob Hughes, executive
director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.
The high-iron load eventually reaches Newport Creek and the Susquehanna River.
coalition received a $3,000 grant through the state Department of Environmental
Protection to purchase two pottery wheels, clay and other supplies to carry out
the project. Cooperating were Greater Nanticoke Area School District, Wilkes University,
Misericordia University and Earth Conservancy, which works to reclaim mine-ravaged
Joining teacher Kordek were Gabby Zawacki, watershed outreach specialist
at the coalition, and two coalition interns, environmental studies students Amanda
Hamstra and Jessica Johnson of Kings College.
The children used brushes
to paint the iron oxide glaze on the pots, being careful to leave the bottoms
free of glaze. Kordek said this was necessary to prevent the pots from cracking
as they were fired.
Dominic Milazzo of Alden said his great-great grandfather
worked in the Susquehanna Coal Company mines. He said the project was lots
of fun. He joined classmates in watching a pottery wheel demonstration by
a clay-splattered Zawacki.
Kordek, a teacher for seven years and an art instructor
for the last two years, said it is exciting that students can recycle materials
from our back yard to create art. The students visited sites that, while
close to their homes, they had never visited before.
Visiting Red Lake
was a learning adventure in their home town, she said.
Kordek, of Ashley,
also comes from a mining family. Her grandfather worked at the Huber Colliery.
the areas mining legacy is important, Kordek said. It is great
to see the kids interest.
Hughes said Pennsylvania has 5,500 miles
of streams polluted by acid mine drainage. In visiting mine sites and in making
pottery from iron oxide, the students gain an awareness of a long-standing pollution
problem, he said.
students lauded for efforts in science
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Nanticoke Area High School Principal Joseph Long announced at Thursdays
school board meeting the accomplishments of students who participated in the regional
meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science at Wilkes University.
following awards were given:
First award in engineering as well as the
Junior High Excellence award in engineering to Kristofer Seiwell.
award in math to Kaitlyn Bigos and Evan Stecco.
Second award in math
to Ben Sersen.
First award in microbiology to Megen Banas and Carlos
First award in physics to Sarah Adkins, Emily Brzozowski,
Emily Ehrensperger, Andrea Grey, Riley Klepadlo, David Mash, Aaron Miller, Alyssa
Petroski, Kassandra Rinker, Emily Scott, Lexi Seery and Katie Sherman.
Second awards in physics to Matthew Daniels, Ashlee Pryzwara, Andi Roberts and
Second award in zoology to Lauren McHenry.
Sherman also received a Perseverance Award for her four years of participation.
GNA students participated in the Science Olympiad competition. Sherman and Derek
Fisher placed first in Protein Modeling. Sherman and Liz Kanjorski placed first
in Disease Detectives.
The Elementary Schools Jump Rope for Heart Fundraiser
raised over $4,000. Fourth-grade students Kendra Titus and Lauren Rudawski and
second-grade student Joseph Jacobs were the top three students to raise donations
for the event.
The board approved the adoption of the McGraw Hill Wonders Reading
Program for grades K through fifth.
Board President Ryan Verazin said that
the program is the top of the line and the first new reading program
brought into the school in over a decade.
We want to make sure our students
are keeping up with the standards Verazin added.
The Board also approved
the operation of a summer school program from grades 9 through 12. The program
will start this summer for those students who do not pass certain courses during
the regular school year, so that they will be given the opportunity to catch up
with their grade level for the new school year.
In another action, the board
approved the establishment of an Athletic Recognition Committee from various members
of the community who have participated in athletics in the past.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District, at the Jan. 15 school board meeting, received
a gold medal from the Nanticoke Historical Society commemorating the 1926 State
Championship Boys Basketball Team and the team's 52 point scorer, David Price.
The medal was in possession of Roger Gilbert, who donated the medal to the historical
society. The board of directors at the Nanticoke Historical Society felt the school
district should receive the medal to be placed in the trophy case at Greater Nanticoke
High School to accompany the 1926 trophy. From left, are Dr. Ronald Grevera, superintendent;
Megan Tennesen, ceremony organizer and school director; Ken James, school director
and chairman of the athletic committee; Chester Zaremba, vice president of the
Nanticoke Historical Society; Roger Gilbert, donor of the medal; Chet Beggs, school
director and athletic committee member; John Beggs, boys head basketball coach
and Ken Bartuska, athletic director.
Nanticoke Area elementary school receives state grant
October 22. 2014 11:47PM - 988 Views
Mash played the guitar and students in the K.M. Elementary Schools early
education program sang their favorite Halloween songs.
It was sort of a celebration
of the school being one of 12 statewide selected to receive an Early Childhood
Education Community Innovation Zone grant that will be used to connect early childhood
providers, families and schools.
The Early Childhood Education Community Innovation
Zone Grants, awarded by the state to expand local programs that bridge the achievement
gap for at-risk young children. Barbara G. Minzenberg, Ph.D., deputy secretary
at the state Department of Education and Public Welfare, was at the school Wednesday
to announce the grant award.
Minzenberg said the K.M. Smith school program
will receive $27,738 over three years. She said the grant will provide communities
with much-needed funding to expand the program and ensure children are entering
kindergarten ready to learn.
She said preparing students for school success
requires collaboration of the family, school and community.
State Rep. Gerald
Mullery, D-Newport Township, is a graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area and he attended
K.M. Smith Elementary School.
There is not a dollar spent in this commonwealth
that brings a better return than those dollars spent on early education,
Mullery said. We have seen such great outcomes. Students do better throughout
their school years, getting better grades.
Mullery said the Early Childhood
Education Community Innovation Zone Grant is a wise investment.
a great amount of research about the benefits of early childhood education,
he said. Conservatively, it shows that every dollar invested in early childhood
education and care returns $10. The return on investment comes when children who
are in danger of failing or getting into trouble succeed in school and become
healthy, productive citizens.
GNA Superintendent Ron Grevera said the
grant will better prepare pre-kindergarten students.
The earlier we can
expose children to early education, the better they will be in their development
and the better they will achieve, Grevera said.
Minzenberg said the Early
Childhood Education Community Innovation Zone Grants are part of Pennsylvanias
Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant.
She said in December 2013,
Pennsylvania was awarded the $51.7 million grant from the federal government.
She said the grant builds upon Pennsylvanias successes to provide high-quality
early learning opportunities to close the achievement gap for at-risk children
such as those in low-income families, English language learners, children with
disabilities and developmental delays, and children experiencing homelessness.
said there are 38 children in the program and 50 families participating in the
Parents As Teachers program. She said the pre-K students and their
families will participate in educational, social, athletic and recreational events.
are honored to have been selected for this grant, Mash said. We will
offer well-rounded experiences for the children and their families, encouraging
family engagement and community connections.
Area will receive state grant
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
Greater Nanticoke Area School District will receive $27,738 from a state grant
to expand its early childhood education program, according to a news release from
state Rep. Gerald Mullery.
Theres a great amount of research about
the benefits of early childhood education, said Mullery, D-Newport Township.
Conservatively, it shows that every dollar invested in early childhood education
and care returns $10. The return on investment comes when children who are in
danger of failing or getting into trouble succeed in school and become healthy,
The grant will help the school district ensure that
at-risk young children starting kindergarten at the K.M. Smith and Kennedy elementary
schools are ready to learn. The Greater Nanticoke Area School District was just
one of 12 recipients of these grants.
The Early Childhood Education Community
Innovation Zone Grants are part of Pennsylvanias Race to the Top Early Learning
Challenge Grant. In December 2013, Pennsylvania was awarded a $51.7 million grant
to close the achievement gap for at-risk children, such as those in low-income
families, English language learners and children with disabilities and developmental
adjusting for new tests
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
schools are adjusting courses and subject matter taught this year because high
school students cant graduate in 2017 unless theyre proficient on
Current 10th graders, the class
of 2016-17, must obtain proficiency on three Keystone Exams Algebra I,
biology and literature in order to graduate. The new Pennsylvania graduation
requirement is a result of the Common Core movement to establish consistent educational
standards across the U.S.
The Hanover Area School
District has added two courses to deal with the new state mandate. Those courses
function as Biology 1B and Algebra 1B to help students learn content tested on
the Keystone Exam, Superintendent Andrew Kuhl said.
60 students are enrolled in each course, and some of the students already failed
to reach the proficient score level on a Keystone exam, Kuhl said. During a school
board work session earlier this month, Kuhl addressed two parents, who were disturbed
their daughter learned on the first day of school she was placed in the new algebra
course and couldnt take a geometry course.
experts felt that geometry and algebra together was one of the more difficult
combinations for kids to take, Kuhl explained to the parents.
what we are dealing with here. We are dealing with kids who have foundational
problems based on the scores of that test, Kuhl added. Its not
like we are saying these are any two electives that we dont want you to
take together. We need to do whats best to get them proficient on that test
as soon as possible.
Kuhl said he doesnt
like the change making the Keystone exam proficiency a graduation requirement.
am not a fan of a one-time test, believe me, he said. I dont
think its fair. I dont think having this as a graduation requirement
in a one-time test is fair to the kids. But these are the cards that we are dealt.
Believe me, I dont want to be here in two years, telling parents I cant
give your kid a diploma because they werent proficient on a test. But thats
what the law says.
School districts have been
scrambling to deal with the new Keystone proficiency requirement as they get implementation
directives from the state, Kuhl said.
phase has not been fully explained to us yet, he said.
a student cannot achieve proficiency on a Keystone Exam after two attempts, the
student can complete a project-based assessment to demonstrate proficiency in
a subject area. The Hanover Area School District plans to administer the project
phase to designated students in 11th grade, Kuhl said.
is not a great reception to this statewide, Kuhl said. You are talking
about a one-time test that determines what you are doing with kids. This is a
result of a belief that all kids should know certain things.
Nanticoke Area High School students will take the Keystone Exam in biology at
the end of 10th grade, and the high school has moved away from teaching earth
and space science in ninth grade to shift the emphasis on life science in ninth
grade and biology in 10th grade, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
shift in ninth grade is an attempt to teach students those key concepts early
to prepare them for biology and prepare them for the Keystone Exam, Grevera
said. Giving the exam in 10th grade is early enough for those students not
scoring proficient ample time to retake the exam and score proficient. Similarly,
introducing key concepts in algebra earlier in the curriculum is preparing students
to take the Keystone Exam in Algebra I and affording students enough time for
retakes ensuring proficiency.
Area School District has adjusted the curriculum by creating two new courses,
Keystone Acceleration I & Keystone Acceleration II, Director of Secondary
Education Brian Costello said.
A student who has
not demonstrated proficiency on a Keystone Exam after one attempt will be placed
in Keystone Acceleration I, which will provide supplemental instruction to reinforce
the required concepts and content needed, Costello said. Students will be placed
in Keystone Acceleration II if they are unable to demonstrate proficiency after
two attempts on a Keystone Exam, Costello said.
Pittston Area School District established a Keystone remediation section in which
a teacher pulls students from study hall to work with them, Superintendent Michael
Pittston Area also has started to
offer Algebra I with a one-year course, a two-year course and a course for a year
and a half, Garzella said, adding the district is using a specific matrix to determine
student placement in those Algebra I courses.
Crestwood School District has not created any new courses to address the
end of course Keystone Exams but has worked to align current courses
with the new PA Core Standards, Assistant Superintendent Brian Waite said.
week, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he requested that the state Board of Education
hold immediate statewide hearings on Pennsylvanias academic content in the
English language arts and mathematics standards. Corbett said he wants to roll
back the national Common Core plan adopted by his predecessor, Gov. Ed Rendell,
in July 2010 and wants standards that are specific to Pennsylvania, its students
In September 2013, the state Board of
Education began the formal process of replacing the national Common Core Standards
with the Pennsylvania-specific standards, Corbett said. The governor also reduced
the number of Keystone Exams from 10 tests to three in algebra, biology and literature.
Those changes went into effect last March.
State Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, issued a
statement in May 2013 opposing the conversation of Keystone Exams into graduation
tests. PSEA President Mike Crossey said the state Board of Education had no authority
to make the change because state law does not authorize using Keystone Exams as
graduation requirements and because it interferes with local school boards
power to make graduation decisions.
makes security changes for school year
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Recently appointed Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent
Ron Grevera announced several changes to increase safety at the high school that
will be implemented this school year at Thursdays school board meeting.
new policies include:
All staff will now be required to wear ID badges
at all times while on the schools premises.
Visitors to the school
will no longer have access to roam freely around the campus.
will have to sign in and wear visitors badges.
Parents or others
wishing to enter any of the offices will be escorted by a member of staff.
There will be locking vestibule in the high school lobby.
is also asking for parents cooperation with the new safety and security
measures. He is also hoping to get approval for the installation of additional
cameras and door alarms.
Grevera also discussed the inclusion of classroom
diagnostic tools being incorporated into the curriculum. The tests are a way of
identifying issues and problems at an early stage and are in correlation with
the PSSA tests.
I know that our kids can do better stated Grevera.
The board approved the establishment of a Policy Committee
within the school board. The committee is comprised of Wendy Kotsko-Wiaterowski,
Megan Tennesen and Chairperson Tony Prushinski. The committee replaces the Planning
Committee and will make decisions on matters such as safety, education and athletics
The bus stops for the 2014-2015 school year are listed on
the schools website http://www.gnasd.com.
The first day of classes
will be Aug. 25.
The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.