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This 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.
4/16/2016
Engineering Club Soars In The Sky
Channel 16 WNEPTV

A club at a high school in Luzerne County is taking flight. Well, at least their project is.
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, “We’re sending something into the edge of our atmosphere. It’s awesome!”
Science teacher Anthony Fleury came up with the idea. He’s 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 don’t want a simulated mission. I want the kids to the do something real that can really get them excited about science and engineering,” said Fleury.
“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.
Alyssa Pertorski, an 11th grade student said, “It’s really good to get hands on experience with science and engineering because a lot of kids don’t understand how important they can be.”
The hands-on experience sent the balloon 95,000 feet in the air.
The club originally planned to launch the weather balloon earlier this year, but ironically the weather didn’t cooperate.
Fleury said, “We actually started this project back in October, but there were very few clear days.”
Before 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 class.
When the balloon finally went up, it took off.
Now, the students wait.
Mr. Fleury will make the trip to pick up the balloon, where ever it lands.
“Somewhere between here and New York City,” said the science teacher.
When Fleury finally tracks the balloon down, the lesson continues.
“We’ve got the camera which will take pictures and the sensor which will gather data,” said Pertorski.
With a success so far, the engineering club in Nanticoke hopes to launch again.
“Absolutely, provided they can find it,” said Fleury.

4/13/2015
Greater Nanticoke Area ballplayers help fight hunger
ggibbons@civitasmedia.com

Greater 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. Faustina’s parish one Wednesday, an idea took root: combine their two passions to benefit the community.
“Seeing 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, Joe’s mother, “they wanted to help.”
A collection for the food bank during the team’s season seemed like a perfect answer.
Jenifer, the baseball team’s booster club secretary, provided vision and support for the boys as they worked to make their vision a reality.
Oncology Clinical Research Coordinator at Wyoming Valley’s Henry Geisinger Center and a clinical nursing instructor at Luzerne County Community College, her heart for service is reflected in her son’s commitment to service.
She credited her co-workers who, upon hearing about the food collection, overwhelmed her with food donations.
“When we help others, it puts our own lives in a proper perspective, when you’re 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.
This 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 items.
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 team’s 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 setting.
“The project also required the boys do research regarding area specific poverty,” said Jenifer. “The numbers made the need a reality.”
Mark Benscoter couldn’t have been prouder of son Josh, both as a baseball player and as a person.
“Josh has been a baseball player since he’s about 7 years old, and we’ve always been proud of his hard work,” said Mark Benscoter. “And we’re 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.
Those 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 ups.

3/23/2015
Students get lesson rich in art and local history
Paul Golias - Citizens Voice

An excited Frank Fernandez applied an iron oxide glaze to a piece of pottery he shaped in a classroom at Nanticoke Elementary Center.
“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 area’s 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.
The 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.
Before 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.
The 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 land.
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 King’s 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.
“Teaching the area’s 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.

3/15/2015
GNA students lauded for efforts in science
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader

Greater Nanticoke Area High School Principal Joseph Long announced at Thursday’s school board meeting the accomplishments of students who participated in the regional meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science at Wilkes University.

The following awards were given:
• First award in engineering as well as the Junior High Excellence award in engineering to Kristofer Seiwell.
• First 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 Castillo.
• 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 Tyler Zaremba.
• Second award in zoology to Lauren McHenry.
• Sherman also received a Perseverance Award for her four years of participation.

Fifteen 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 School’s 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.

1/27/2015
Citizens Voice

The 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.

10/23/2014
Greater Nanticoke Area elementary school receives state grant
Last updated: October 22. 2014 11:47PM - 988 Views
boboyle@civitasmedia.com

Christine Mash played the guitar and students in the K.M. Elementary School’s 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.
“There’s 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 Pennsylvania’s 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 Pennsylvania’s 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.
Mash 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.
“We 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.”

10/23/2014
Nanticoke Area will receive state grant
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice

The 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.
“There’s 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, productive citizens.”
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 Pennsylvania’s 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 delays.

9/14/2014
Schools adjusting for new tests
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice

Area schools are adjusting courses and subject matter taught this year because high school students can’t graduate in 2017 unless they’re proficient on standardized tests.

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.

About 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 couldn’t take a geometry course.

Math experts “felt that geometry and algebra together was one of the more difficult combinations for kids to take,” Kuhl explained to the parents.

“Understand what we are dealing with here. We are dealing with kids who have foundational problems based on the scores of that test,” Kuhl added. “It’s not like we are saying these are any two electives that we don’t want you to take together. We need to do what’s best to get them proficient on that test as soon as possible.”

Kuhl said he doesn’t like the change making the Keystone exam proficiency a graduation requirement.

“I am not a fan of a one-time test, believe me,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t 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 don’t want to be here in two years, telling parents I can’t give your kid a diploma because they weren’t proficient on a test. But that’s 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.

“The project phase has not been fully explained to us yet,” he said.

If 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.

“There 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.”

Greater 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.

“The 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.”

The Wilkes-Barre 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.

The Pittston Area School District established a Keystone remediation section in which a teacher pulls students from study hall to work with them, Superintendent Michael Garzella said.

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.

The 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.

Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he requested that the state Board of Education hold immediate statewide hearings on Pennsylvania’s 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 and schools.

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.

The Pennsylvania 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.

8/17/2014
Nanticoke 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 Thursday’s school board meeting.

The new policies include:
• All staff will now be required to wear ID badges at all times while on the school’s premises.
• Visitors to the school will no longer have access to roam freely around the campus.
• Visitors will have to sign in and wear visitor’s 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.

Grevera 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.
In other matters:
• 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 policies.
• The bus stops for the 2014-2015 school year are listed on the school’s 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.

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