New Castle News


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
  • Bobby_Ferrara.jpg Ferrara comes home after life in the ring

    Former New Castle resident Bob Ferrara has spent much of his 77 years inside a boxing ring. A Pittsburgh Golden Gloves champion in 1958, Ferrara — who was known then as Bobby Ferry — continued to find success long after leaving his hometown for the sunny skies of Tucson, Ariz.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for allegedly overstepping his legal authority with the way he's handled Obamacare. Good call?

Yes. Obama's been overstepping his authority since day one in office. It's time he pay the piper.
No. The allegations are ridiculous and the law suit is a waste of time and tax payer money.
I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of Obama, but the suit seems a little extreme.
     View Results