NEW CASTLE —
Young eyes were wide with wonder.
Four- and 5-year-olds bundled in winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens got off school buses Wednesday morning and walked single file into a brand new school.
New Castle students got a late start Wednesday because of the unusually cold weather and kindergartners arrived at the new Lockley Early Learning Center just before lunchtime for their first day of school there.
Excited was an understatement.
“I want to stay here for the rest of my life,” one boy remarked as he, his teacher and classmates took a walking tour of the building.
Some children were happy to have lockers for their belongings.
They entered classrooms that have brightly colored furniture. Smartboards were turned on to show the weather forecast.
Before Christmas, the students were attending kindergarten at the former St. Joseph school on the East Side while the learning center was being completed.
Elementary principal Debbie DeBlasio oversaw Wednesday’s transition, which she said had surpassed her expectations.
“I’m so happy for our children.”
She also said she is proud of her brother, school board member George Gabriel, who had spearheaded the project when he was superintendent.
John Sarandrea, hired after Gabriel’s retirement, is overseeing the project to its finish.
Children in first and second grades will start classes in the building in September.
“It’s more than I expected,” said DeBlasio, whose office is inside the main entrance. The building was designed by Eckles Architecture.
“It’s very open, bright and the classrooms are very conducive to learning,” she said, adding, “No more tutoring in the stairwells.”
She was referring to a lack of space in the other elementary schools, which are to be closed later this year.
“It’s like a dream,” commented Lockley’s reading teacher, Lori Doran. “It really doesn’t seem real yet. It was a real thrill when the kids got here and you saw the looks on their faces.”
“This is beyond what I could ever imagine what a school would look like,” said kindergarten teacher Vicki Bober. “I’m extremely thankful to the former superintendent, the school board and Mr. Sarandrea for making this all happen.”
In the cafeteria, students were given a choice of chicken wraps or a sandwich. Fruit, salad and milk also were part of the menu.
Wooden trees that trimmed the cafeteria walls have colored knobs to represent fruit and serve as hooks for children’s coats as they enter school in the morning for breakfast.
Renae Cotelesse had her students seated in a circle on the floor at the front of her classroom for a reading lesson. They passed along a stone as each said in a full sentence what he or she liked about the new school. One girl liked the purple tables. Several liked their new lockers.
“The lockers are a big hit here,” DeBlasio commented.
NEW CASTLE —
Young eyes were wide with wonder.
New Castle Schools: Leave with pay was superintendent’s call
When a New Castle school district employee is placed on administrative leave, it typically is the superintendent’s decision. District solicitor Charles Sapienza said in an email last week that the district has no policy governing when and why an employee is placed on administrative leave or whether he or she should be paid during that leave.
Agreement allows nonresident students at Laurel
Five Laurel teachers who live outside the Laurel School District have enrolled their children in the district. They are taking advantage of a memorandum of agreement between the district and the Laurel Education Association that took effect at the beginning of the current school year.
Allegations result in principal on leave
New Castle Junior High School principal Robert Razzano is on administrative leave with pay. Meanwhile, New Castle police said they are investigating a reported incident at the junior high involving an employee.
Shenango board set to fill vacancy
The Shenango Area School Board is expected to appoint Dean Owrey on Monday to fill a vacancy on the board. Owrey, chief financial officer of the University of PittsburghMC’s information services division, was selected from among 16 people who expressed interest in the position.
Hearing set on school building’s future
A hearing Wednesday will determine the future of an abandoned school building. The Pulaski Township supervisors will meet at 7 p.m. at the municipal building to determine whether the former New Bedford school on Schoolhouse Road violates the township dangerous buildings ordinance.
School money split under scrutiny
Pennsylvania spreads $10 billion in education dollars using a ragged method that is prone to political influence, according to legislators and groups who are calling for reform.
In The Schools: New Castle staffers heading to San Diego
New Castle school district personnel are heading to California to continue improving their approach in teaching students to read. The school board Monday gave permission to George Washington Intermediate School principal Joseph Anderson, elementary principal Debra DeBlasio and district facilitators Shelly Bucci and Andrea Martin to attend the Success For All reading conference Feb. 5 to 9 in San Diego.
Arts academy to appeal after board says no to charter school
The New Castle Arts Academy Charter School plans to contest the New Castle school board’s denial of its charter. The board voted 9-0 Monday to reject the academy’s application to open an arts-infused charter school in the former Days Inn. The action came after a public hearing and public board discussion about the application.
Emergency substitute teacher course offered
Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV is offering a training program to qualify college graduates as emergency substitute teachers.
Photo Gallery, Story: Kindergartners have first day at new Lockley
Young eyes were wide with wonder. Four- and 5-year-olds bundled in winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens got off school buses Wednesday morning and walked single file into a brand new school.
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- New Castle Schools: Leave with pay was superintendent’s call