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New Superintendent Begins 'Comprehensive Study' of School District

By Mary Shelly
The Tube City Almanac
August 24, 2017
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School District's new superintendent has begun a "comprehensive study" of the system.

At this month's school board meeting, Mark Holtzman Jr. told school directors that he and Tia Wanzo, assistant to the superintendent, are interviewing people in leadership roles, including labor union representatives, central office administrators and building principals.

"We're going to survey all of our teachers and support staff in our district, asking for feedback on some of the major departments, (and) how the schools operate,” said Holtzman, formerly the district's director of secondary education and teacher evaluation, who began his new role July 1.

This process is an effort to gather the core values of every school in the district. From the interviews and surveys, the board will be asked to “generate initiatives for the next five years,” Holtzman said.

The goal of the study is to create a “solid working five-year plan that’s going to lay out what the expectations are, not only for our students but our staff and the new administration,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman said he will report some of the data publicly so that everyone understands the district's direction and focus.

In other business:

  • New courses for the 2017-2018 school year include: a Piano Lab, Intro to Music, a basic business course, and Intro to Computer Science. All four of the courses are offered for one semester as a half credit class.

  • MASD has been awarded a $1.2 million, three-year grant by the state Department of Education for tutoring at Twin Rivers Elementary.  A previously awarded grant will continue to fund afterschool programs at Twin Rivers, in the Sixth Grade Academy, and at Founders’ Hall for the next two years, officials said.

  • School Director Ivan Hampton reported on behalf of the Athletic Committee that the Tiger Band will now sit in  the reserved section seating at football games. Without the need to rent the previously used band bleachers, the district will save at least $500 a month, he said.

  • Building and Grounds improvements include repaving the parking lot at the stadium and repainting handicap stalls and yellow curbs in the high school parking lot. At the request of Board President Joe Lopretto, the district is adding a "veterans only" parking space outside the high school and either one or two similar spaces in the stadium parking lot.

Originally published August 24, 2017.

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