New Castle News

September 14, 2013

School board honors six employees

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Six New Castle Area School District employees were deemed worthy of recognition by the school board this week.

The employees were honored with the district’s Pride and Promise awards, given monthly at school board meetings in recognition of their dedication and leadership.

This month’s recipients are:

Joanna Cochran, Michael Cubellis, Jodi DeSimone and Christa Lombardo, all third-grade teachers, and Cara Florie, reading facilitator, all at West Side Primary School; and Patty West, a personal care assistant at George Washington Intermediate School.

Dr. Carmen Nocera, West Side principal, noted that students of  four third-grade teacher recipients scored 92 percent in math and 85 percent in reading on their Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests this year, far above the state average.

School districts have been notified individually of the 2013 test scores, but the PSSA results statewide have not yet been released publicly.

Nocera said the West Side school has the most at-risk and economically disadvantaged students, with more than 80 percent receiving free or reduced lunches.

Florie pulls those students out, tutors them and gives them instruction in areas covered by the PSSA, he said.

Regarding West, George Washington principal Joseph Anderson commented, “Patty never stops.”

She is assigned to a learning support teacher who has 20 students and has said she will help as many students as she can, he said, telling her, “I appreciate you and the kids appreciate you.”

The Pride and Promise awards were instituted in the district in the mid-2000s by now-retired superintendent George Gabriel and the reigning school board at the time.

“Actually, it was a Pennsylvania School Boards Association initiative for public outreach to go out into the community and your staff and recognize people who have done work beyond the call of duty and done something special,” Gabriel said this week.

The district gives the awardees T-shirts, coffee mugs or some small token of recognition, publicly at board meetings.

In the past, the honorees have included teachers, school staff, custodians community people and students.

“There were more students nominated than any other group,” Gabriel said.