November 2, 2018
South Butler Families,
It is hard to believe, but we are at the end of the first nine weeks of the school year, and we are moving toward the Thanksgiving break. Hopefully, your children have had a great first quarter. There are a few key items that I believe we must all be aware of throughout the District.
South Butler County School District Comprehensive Planning
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires that all Pennsylvania School Districts develop a three-year Comprehensive Plan that charts the future direction of the District. The PDE Comprehensive Planning framework is designed to create opportunities to reflect upon the needs of our student population and community. The comprehensive planning process includes several layers of effective organizational and educational practices that will lead to improved student performance. The South Butler County School District Comprehensive Plan provides a blueprint for the students, staff, and community members to provide a clear focus on the goal of supporting the unique learning needs of each student within the South Butler County School District.
The South Butler County School District has utilized the strategic planning process as an opportunity to engage our community in a discussion to chart the path for the future of the District. Discussion with the SBCSD School Board began in February of 2018, and the District began to solicit staff and community participation in March of 2018. A posting on the District website and Facebook page was created to engage staff and community participation. Nearly 50 community members expressed interest in being a part of the Comprehensive Planning Committee. All interested parties were asked to join the Steering Committee and become active members of the Subcommittees.
The South Butler County School District held a Steering Committee Comprehensive Planning meeting on April 17, 2018. This meeting involved participation of all members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee. The framework for discussion was built around the need to create subcommittees to focus on specific aspects of the strategic planning process. At the April 17th meeting an introduction to strategic planning was provided, and committee members were grouped based upon areas of interest and expertise. The entire Steering Committee discussed and agreed upon the purpose of the subcommittee structure, expectations for the group, and time frames for completion of the work. Throughout the process of developing various components of the Comprehensive Plan, the South Butler County School District Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee members were updated via email.
The April 17, 2018 committee meeting began with an overview of the process and by focusing on the vision and mission of the South Butler County School District. All committee members provided input and representatives of administration, teaching staff, parental and community volunteers collaborated for the development of a meaningful plan. District administration representation also provided oversight for leading the work of the small subcommittees. The six subcommittees were Academic Achievement, Budget and Fiscal Affairs, Operational Services, Special Education, Staff Services, and Student Services.
Subcommittees met periodically between the April 17th meeting and early September prior to the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Also, on September 27, 2018 an elementary group of teacher volunteers met in the morning and a secondary group met in the afternoon to discuss the specific components of the plan and the need for resources to meet the goals and expectations presented both within the PDE Comprehensive Plan framework and the local goals and action steps within the local plan. Upon completion of the work within each of the subcommittees, a presentation was given at the October 3, 2018 Board Meeting. Representatives from each of the six subcommittees discussed the process of reaching the goals and action steps.
Our District plan has been months in the making, and I am pleased to report that the plan has been accepted by PDE. I would encourage all South Butler stakeholders to take time to review the plan at:
If you have any questions regarding the development and contents of the plan, I would encourage you to contact me at email@example.com.
Keystone Graduation Requirements
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has altered graduation requirements and has modified the need for all students to reach the proficiency threshold on the Keystones Exams in Algebra, Biology and English Language Arts. The House, Senate and Governor have passed a Bill with the following modifications to Keystone Assessments and graduation requirements. The highlights of the Bill and alternatives for students are listed below:
- Attain a proficient or advanced score on the three Keystone Exams in Algebra I, biology and literature.
- Attain a proficient score on at least one of the Keystone Exams and at least a basic on the other two and have the combined scores of these exams meet or exceed a state-specified score determined to be acceptable.
- Meet or exceed local grade requirements in areas tested in the Keystone Exams and one of the following: attain at least a state-specified passing score on the SAT, PSAT, ACT, Advanced Placement exam in any subject area, international baccalaureate exam in any subject area, earn a gold or platinum score on a Work Keys certificate exam that determines career readiness, pass the military entrance exam, complete a dual enrollment course in any subject area, complete a pre-apprenticeship program, or gain acceptance into a four-year higher education institution and show evidence of the ability to handle college-level work.
- Meet or exceed local grade requirements in areas tested in the Keystone Exams and obtain an industry-based competency certification related to the career and technical education student's program of study or demonstrates a likelihood of success in an industry-based competency exam.
- Meet or exceed local grade requirements in areas tested in the Keystone Exams and three pieces of evidence demonstrating "readiness for meaningful postsecondary engagement" consistent with the career plan that students, starting this year are required to develop. The evidence must include one of the following: a silver score on the Work Keys exam, a state-specified acceptable score on the SAT, acceptance into community college or postsecondary institution other than a four-year college and proof of ability to handle college-level work, attaining an industry-recognized credential, attaining at least a state-set score on an Advanced Placement exam or international baccalaureate exam, or completing a dual enrollment course. Additionally, this option allows for the following to be evidence of graduation readiness: completion of a pre-approved service learning project, attaining a proficient or advanced score on a Keystone Exam, a letter guaranteeing full-time employment, completion of an internship/externship/cooperative education program, attaining at least a 2.0 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's core courses for college-bound student athletes, or meeting or exceeding local grade requirements in any science, technology, environment and ecology course.
- Satisfactory completion of the program developed by an individualized education program team in the case of a student with disabilities.
The South Butler County School District utilizes the BoardDocs system to build agendas for our public meetings which allows for transparency throughout the District. BoardDocs is an interactive system that is very intuitive and user-friendly for both internal and external stakeholders of the District. The system allows for attachments including presentations to be uploaded for public view. BoardDocs allows all South Butler County School District stakeholders to view meeting agendas and related documents.
I would encourage all South Butler Families to view our BoardDocs page at:
New Faces at South Butler
Last but certainly not least, we proudly introduce the newest members of the District Staff:
Kim Fitzgerald has begun her tenure as the new Knoch Middle School Assistant Principal. Mrs. Fitzgerald is a graduate of Penn State University where she obtained her B.A. degree in Sociology. She attended Lehigh University where she obtained her master’s degree in education along with a reading specialist’s degree. She was a reading teacher for three years at Northampton Junior High School and worked for six years as a literacy and assessment coordinator at the Lehigh Valley Academy. After relocating to the Pittsburgh, PA area, Mrs. Fitzgerald worked for two years as a director of curriculum and four years as a reading teacher/coach for the Urban Pathways Public Charter School. Since 2014, Mrs. Fitzgerald has been the principal and chief academic officer at the Urban Pathways College Charter School in Pittsburgh, PA.
Rachel Altman a new Central Office Secretary/Receptionist. Rachel is a 2017 graduate of Knoch High School and currently resides in Cabot, PA. She earned a welding certificate from the Butler County Vo-Tech School. Since graduating from high school, Rachel has held various jobs including two years at Concordia Lutheran Ministries in Cabot, PA as a dietary server. Rachel also worked for five months at the Bayer Medical Diagnostic Imaging Center as an assembler located on Victory Road Park, Saxonburg, PA. Since November, 2017, Rachel has been employed at Filmtronics, Inc. in Saxonburg, PA as a quality control inspector.
Billie Jo Rudy is now working within the District as an Instructional Aide. Ms. Rudy is a graduate of the University of Phoenix where she has earned an Associate Arts Degree in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with a concentration in family and child services. Prior to coming to South Butler, Ms. Rudy worked as an aide for the Riverside Horizons Organization.
Holly Quinn has been hired by the District to work as an Instructional Aide. Mrs. Quinn is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she earned Bachelor of Science in Education. In addition to substitute teaching, she has worked as a lead teacher at a local Preschool and as a Therapeutic Staff support (TSS) with Butler County Wraparound. She has worked in school volunteering positions such as Girls on the Run program and Cross Country building parent chaperone.
David Foley, Ed.D.
South Butler County School District