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McCleary Says Safety a ‘Priority’ at Union School District

Friday, August 10, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

Union High SchoolRIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Improving and maintaining the safety of its students and staff is one of the top priorities in the Union School District as it heads into the 2018-19 school year.

“School safety is our top priority,” said Union superintendent Jean McCleary. “The most recent tragedies have heightened the focus on school safety even more.”

According to McCleary, Union has reviewed its crisis plan and made revisions.

“Each year, we are always looking for areas to improve our school and employee safety,” said McCleary.

One of the ways the district is doing that is by hiring four school police officers who will be ready to start their official duties by August 27, according to McCleary. Three new officers have been hired, Mike Boltz, Alan Carmichael, and James Shaftic.

“We are also investing in metal detectors at each school building and improving the high school door entry with magnetic locks.”

The district has also applied for two Pennsylvania Safe School Grant, one for the maximum of $25,000.00 that would be focused on safety equipment and the second for the Safe Schools Grant for Programs in the amount of $20,000.00 that would focus on School-Wide Positive Behavior and Intervention Program (SWPBIS).

“We won’t be notified of the grant awards until September 2018. We are keeping our fingers crossed we receive both Pennsylvania Safe School Grants.”

School safety isn’t the only item on the agenda for the school district.

“We have been planning and are prepared for the addition of the Pre-K County program at Sligo Elementary School,”

“We are confident housing the Pre-K Counts program at Sligo Elementary School will benefit our students with the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten,” added McCleary.

With Pre-K coming into Sligo, third grade will now be housed at Rimersburg Elementary School, which will now have grades three through six.

Meanwhile, at the elementary level, the district is looking to “progress from the Industrial Age model of schooling to the Informational Age,” according to elementary principal Thomas Minick.

“We are excited to share and begin building a framework for our Performance-Based System,” Minich said. “The system will focus on four topics for our learners: 1. Allow for student pacing 2. Performance-Based Grading rubric system 3. Personalization 4. Learning life skills – graded rubric.”

On the construction front, the district has replaced exterior doors at both Sligo Elementary School and the high school.

“Paving and sealing projects occurred at Sligo Elementary, Rimersburg Elementary, and the high school,” McCleary said. “This will prolong the longevity of the building parking lots.”

Resurfacing also took place at the outside basketball courts at Rimersburg Elementary School and was funded by the Eccles-Lesher Foundation.

“An additional chain fence was also installed at Sligo Elementary School,” McCleary said. “This provides a physical barrier for students who are at the playground.”

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