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McKeesport Area School Directors expressed their appreciation for the way teachers and administrators have handled the academic year so far.
At September’s meeting, school board President Joe Lopretto thanked Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. and other district officials for “diligently working to keep this district on track throughout the ups and down since mid-March.”
Lopretto also praised students who participated in the Sept. 18 NBC “Today” show episode that featured McKeesport Area students. During a live broadcast, Comcast, NBC’s parent company, gave away 2,500 laptops as well as Internet access to help students and teachers work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me tell everybody, what you saw on the Today Show segment was real,” Lopretto said. “Nothing was staged. A lot of people like to give McKeesport a bad rap about our community and our school district. I couldn’t be more proud of how our kids handled themselves in the national media spotlight.”
Lopretto discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the district.
“This COVID-19, it came, it's here to stay and hopefully not for long, I can’t say enough about the leadership provided by Dr Holtzman and Dr. Wanzo, both alums of the McKeesport Area School District,” Lopretto said.
“I think residents need to understand the level of leadership in this district,” he said. “We have a great school district, I sent six kids here, I graduated from here, (and) seeing what took place since March, I've known Mark (Holtzman) since we were young kids, I watched him grow up, play football, Dr. Holtzman and his administration are committed to spend their entire careers here in McKeesport.”
Lopretto is looking forward to seeing all students returning to brick-and-mortar classrooms in the next few months. “Recent months have been most challenging, and the efforts of administration, staff and students have not gone unnoticed,” he said. “I assure you, the administration is working tirelessly to ensure our district moves forward no matter what, the administration has worked non-stop with students at the forefront of every decision they make.”
In other business, the board approved the 2020-21 school calendar. The schedule was adjusted due to the postponed start of the school year, Holtzman said.
Richard Finch Jr. is a freelance writer and photographer who covers McKeesport Area School District, White Oak and a variety of other topics for Tube City Almanac. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published October 03, 2020.