New Castle News

New Castle

January 10, 2013

Arts Academy Hearing: New Castle questions school organizers

NEW CASTLE — New Castle school officials got to ask half of their questions last night about a proposed charter school.

The rest will be posed at another public hearing, with time and date to be set within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the New Castle Arts Academy Charter School planning committee has broadened its list of potential sites for the school.

Founder Debra Rice said last night that the Cascade Galleria also is a possible location that surfaced about two weeks ago.

Other sites are the former Day’s Inn and Banquet Center downtown and the former New Castle Regional Ballet building at 20 W. Washington St.

Rice and three other charter school organizers faced the school board and administrators last night for a public hearing on their proposed plans for an arts-infused charter school for students in kindergarten through grade 8. Spanish would be taught in earlier grades as a mandatory course and students who opt out in higher grades would be taught Chinese Mandarin as a culture, Rice said.

A PowerPoint presentation included a video showing how singing, drama, music and art would be interwoven with core curriculum courses.

Fielding the questions was the charter school attorney, Joshua A. Pollak of Philadelphia. Other presenters were Rice, David Thor of Pittsburgh, who discussed the school’s location process, and Gasper Martinez, the group’s financial member.

While they did not readily have certain documents and research that the school officials requested, Pollak assured he could obtain that information before the school board votes on the application.

Terrence Meehan, assistant to the superintendent, drilled the representatives about the importance of reading, particularly to kindergartners and first-graders.

“I’m certainly a proponent of music education, but I’m also a strong believer in the teaching of reading,” he commented. “With your curriculum not fully developed, at what point would you provide us with details of your methodology to teach reading?”

Pollak said he would like three weeks to provide the board with that information.

Superintendent George Gabriel challenged a claim in the application that the charter school would score higher on state assessment tests than the district. He noted that charter schools statewide have scored lower than New Castle’s scores and asked for more substantiation.

School director Dr. Marilyn K. Berkely said she is skeptical about how students would learn required curriculum.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be more worried about the arts than the core courses.”

Pollak explained that arts are infused into the course subjects so that students learn in a different way. For example, they would use their bodies to dance during a geometry lesson or learn reading skills through opera.

“There will be a reading course,” he assured Meehan. As to how it would be taught, “we do not have that today.”

“If you’re going to open in August, you should have that soon,” Berkely commented.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Castle
  • Taggart.jpg Arsonists damage New Castle’s football field

    With the New Castle football team just days away from the start of practice, vandals have hit Taggart Stadium. Someone set fire to artificial turf at the stadium and damaged a blocking sled the team uses in practice.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle hires information technology director

    The New Castle school district has a new information technology director. At its meeting this week the board hired Emily Sanders of Cranberry Township to fill the position, left vacant by the retirement of Beth Barber.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC_Hoops.jpg Former Lady 'Canes stars reunite for tour of Europe

    Ryenn Micaletti and Abby Allen are headed to Europe. Micaletti and Allen — both members of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship team — have joined forces with News Release Basketball to spend nearly three weeks in Germany and Belgium later this summer playing basketball and helping run clinics.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • High school registration scheduled at New Castle

    Registration has been set for new students in grades seven through 12 moving into the New Castle school district.

    July 15, 2014

  • Police.jpg Couple accused of contacting rape victim

    A man accused of raping a woman at gunpoint allegedly tried to get her to drop the charges.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • festival1.jpg Break out the bubbly

    New Castle may be the Fireworks Capital of America, but Friday night bubbles filled the air.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • wampum1.jpg State title ties: Wampum, New Castle teams celebrate incredible success

    Their spectaular success stories are separated by more than a half century. But they sat side-by-side Thursday morning, sharing more than just breakfast at Jata’s Diner, a familiar meeting spot for former Wampum High School players. 

    July 5, 2014 4 Photos

  • Hooker.tiff Male Athlete of the Year: New Castle's Malik Hooker

    Once in a while, an athlete comes along who redefines the very word. Then, there’s Malik Hooker. The New Castle High graduate took athleticism to a level rarely seen before in the area on the basketball court and on the football turf.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District to sell closed schools, contents

    The New Castle school district will advertise for proposals to buy its three just-closed elementary schools.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results