Widener Student Critical But Stable After Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lockdown has been lifted at Widener University, where a gunman last night shot a student who was sitting in a car near the Chester campus’  athletic facility.

The injured student remains in critical but stable condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center this morning, university spokesman Dan Hanson said. Hanson declined to release further information about the student or his injuries today, saying the family asked for privacy.

The student was ambushed about 8:40 p.m. as he sat in a car near the Schwartz Athletic Center, prompting campus officials to urge students to “seek shelter and remain indoors.” That alert ended and classes continued as scheduled this morning.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/delco/Widener-student-critical-but-stable-after-shooting.html#9uEGvwv25YsmgAaQ.99

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Healthy Ways To fight Truancy In Reading Aired

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are students in the Reading School District who accrue 10 absence excuses from a parent and 40 from doctors in one school year.

So health care officials were urged Friday to be on the lookout for such students and not to feel pressured to issue them absence excuses.

Students are allowed to return to school without such notices, but the absences will be recorded as unexcused, said Anne Fisher, supervisor of the school district’s nurses.

“They don’t need a note to come back,” she said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=509416

Job/Volunteer Fair – Steel River Playhouse In Pottstown

Picture 577Steel River Playhouse, is holding a Job and Volunteer Fair on Sunday, July 28th from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Monday, July 29th from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM.  Interested candidates will have the opportunity to learn about open positions, meet with Steel River’s leadership, and tour the facility.

Paid and stipend positions include Education Coordinator, Music Coordinator, Tech Director, Concessions/Retail Manager, Stage and Music Directors, Production Designers (e.g., sets, costumes, lighting, sound, props, hair and makeup), and Stage Managers. Instructors of music, voice, and acting are also encouraged to apply for future positions that are expected to become available.  Adults and students from middle school age on up can explore a host of volunteer learning and social opportunities in virtually every area of the performing arts center.  High school and college students are also eligible to sign up for internship opportunities to satisfy their volunteer or external learning requirements. Some examples of volunteer opportunities include:

Technical theater (set construction and painting, costuming, lighting and sound operation, props, hair and make-up)

Stage management and backstage run crew

Production Assistants

House management and ushers

Music support, especially piano accompaniment

Riser moves, maintenance and repairs

Administrative support (such as receptionist, phone support, filing, photocopying)

Software and data entry/utilization

Concession and retail sales

Box office

Education support/teacher aides

Event planning and hosting

Fundraising

Marketing and public relations (including social media)

Graphic design

Literary analysis and dramaturgy

Candidates for paid and stipend positions may sign up for initial interview slots ahead of time by contacting marta@steelriver.org or are welcome to request an interview slot on the day of their visit. Additional interviews may be scheduled at other times for those who are not available during the Job and Volunteer Fair.  Department representatives will also be on hand to meet with volunteer candidates to provide information and answer questions.

Steel River also welcomes area performers to visit during the Job and Volunteer Fair to learn more about Steel River’s mission and facilities.  A variety of audition opportunities and instrumental openings are available for the upcoming season.  Come learn about sharing your talent with the community.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS:

Concessions & Retail Manager

Education Coordinator

Music Coordinator

technical director

For At Least 20 Years, Interlocking Problems Have Plagued Wilkinsburg Schools

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Wilkinsburg School District, almost half of students don’t graduate.

A third of students have been involved in incidents that threatened school safety.  On state tests, 86.4 percent of 11th graders aren’t proficient in math and 68.3 percent aren’t proficient in reading.

The district is hemorrhaging students to charter schools.  It borrowed $3 million for general operating expenses and has furloughed about 80 teachers in the past three years.

Some residents are taken aback when asked for their assessment of the district, seeing it as self-evident that the district has already fallen off the cliff.

“Honestly, it’s too far gone,” said Wilkinsburg resident Stephanie Shea.  “Code blue happened a while ago.  At this point, it needs to be totally dismantled.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/for-at-least-20-years-interlocking-problems-have-plagued-wilkinsburg-schools-691087/#ixzz2VpYDUujs

Edgewood ‘Family’ Says Goodbye In Heartfelt Closing Ceremony

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — The end of 44 years of educational tradition was marked Friday afternoon with closing ceremonies held at Edgewood Elementary School.

Students, teachers, staff, retirees, parents, administrators and school board members all gathered in the building’s steaming all-purpose room to say goodbye to the school they have called home for so many years, and to the people they have called “family” for just as long.

“This is a place that has welcomed every child as family,” Superintendent Jeff Sparagana told the assembly. “This is a school community that greets anyone who walks through the door as their own.”

He praised the work done at the school saying “never let anyone say our staff does not take the work they do seriously. If anyone in this region says the work we do here is not done well, I invite them to come here and visit and see for themselves.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130601/NEWS01/130539783/edgewood-family-says-goodbye-in-heartfelt-closing-ceremony#full_story

Three Free Summer Art Programs Offered At ArtFusion 19464

Picture 578Pottstown, PA –  The mission of non-profit ArtFusion 19464 is to make the arts accessible to everyone in the greater Pottstown community.  As part of their ongoing efforts to live that mission, ArtFusion will be offering three free art programs this summer for children ages 7-12.

Two of these fun and engaging programs are sponsored by the Greater Pottstown Foundation.  Kids Art Academy is a general arts exploration class, where students explore two- and three-dimensional arts. Students in Clay Academy delve into all aspects of creating with clay.  Participants will work on handbuilding and also have a chance to work on a pottery wheel.

Local young artists will also have a chance to expand their drawing skills while learning about a new language.  Drawing with Hebrew Letters, sponsored by Sager and Sager and The Jewish Women’s League of Congregation Mercy and Truth, will introduce students to drawing using a creative language of letters and shapes.  This free program is open to artists of all faiths.  No prior drawing experience or knowledge of the language is required, just a desire to learn and create. Students will create with ink, paper and color, learning to express with their hands what their imaginations see.

Applications can be picked up at ArtFusion’s 254 E. High St. location or downloaded from their website at artfusion19464.org/classes/scholarshipsprograms/.  Applications are due by May 31. While preference is given to those students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, all students are strongly encouraged to apply.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center.  The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence.  ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

New Free Program At ArtFusion 19464

cropped-picture-578.jpg

Local young artists will soon get a chance to expand their drawing skills while learning about a new language. Drawing with Hebrew Letters, sponsored by Sager and Sager and The Jewish Women’s League of Congregation Mercy and Truth, will introduce students to drawing using a creative language of letters and shapes.  The graphic quality of the Hebrew alphabet is the perfect inspiration for teaching language through art.  Students will create with ink, paper and color, learning to express with their hands what their imaginations see.

This free program is open to artists of all faiths.  No prior drawing experience or knowledge of the language is required, just a desire to learn and create. Applications can be picked up at ArtFusion’s 254 E. High St. location or downloaded from their website at artfusion19464.org.  Applications are due by March 31.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center.  The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence.  ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

OJR School Enrollments Predicted Down Over Next 10 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SOUTH COVENTRY — Enrollments in the Owen J. Roberts School District are expected to remain flat or even decrease over the next ten years, according to new enrollment projections presented to the board at a recent committee of the whole meeting.

Projections show the overall student population rising slightly through 2016, from the current 5,121 students to 5,240. If the projections prove true, the numbers will begin dropping in 2017, when 5,233 students are expected to be registered, rising and falling in some years, but hitting 5,218 students in 2022.

Those predictions, presented by Director of Pupil Services Holly W. Acosta, are based on a new study by Decision Insite, an enrollment impact firm which looks at kindergarten enrollments, planned residential developments, and student cohorts through each grade level.

The numbers are a far cry from the steady growth the district had been experiencing in the past, with district wide enrollments climbing by over 1,000 students in 10 years, from 4,050 in 2002 to 5,121 in 2012.  That’s a reflection of the economy and the dip in the housing market which has put a number of large scale development projects on hold, according to Superintendent Michael Christian.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130118/NEWS01/130119426/ojr-school-enrollments-predicted-down-over-next-10-years-#full_story

Allentown Students To Wear Uniforms Next School Year

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Allentown is the fourth largest school system in the state with nearly 18,000 students.

All Allentown students will be required to wear uniforms next school year under a plan the school board Education Committee approved Thursday.

The committee voted 8-1 for uniforms after hearing a presentation from Superintendent Russ Mayo, staff and students.  The board will formalize the committee’s decision at its Jan. 24 meeting.

The colors and styles of the shirts, pants, belts and shoes have not been decided for students.  Nor has the administration worked out the consequences for students who do not adhere to the uniform.

Those rules will be presented to the committee on Feb. 14 with a board vote to follow later that month.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-school-uniforms-20130111,0,6512385.story

Many Skip School At Brandywine Heights High Over Social Media Rumor

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Given recent events, can you blame parents for keeping their children home!

Despite assurances from the school district there was nothing to be concerned about, 40 percent of Brandywine Heights High School students stayed home Wednesday in light of rumors a student was planning to bring a gun to school.

Dr. Martin D. Handler, superintendent, said rumors began circulating through Facebook, email and other venues over winter break that a student planned to bring a gun to school Wednesday.

District officials alerted state police, who interviewed the student and his mother and determined there was no threat.

Just to be on the safe side, Handler said, state police were on hand at the start of school Wednesday.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=440746

Many Wilson Students Will Go To Different Buildings

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When classes resume Monday in Wilson School District, many students will find themselves in new surroundings.

Students at the now-closed Lincoln Park and West Wyomissing elementary schools will move to other buildings.

In addition, a redistricting effort impacts students at two more elementary schools and both middle schools.

To ease the transition for about 600 students, Wilson has scheduled open houses, tours, orientations and demo bus rides.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411361

Reading Area Community College Likely To Raise Tuition Nearly 6%

Students at Reading Area Community College could see a 5.84 percent tuition increase this fall.

The $28.77 million budget proposed for 2012-13 calls for raising the cost per credit $8, to $145 from $137, for part-time students.

For full-time Berks County students, tuition would rise to $2,175 per semester from $2,055.

RACC’s president, Dr. Anna D. Weitz, said the proposed increase is a response to several factors, including a 5 percent decrease in state funding, increased expenses and a decline in full-time enrollment at community colleges across the state.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=391115

Free Summer Program Application Deadline Is June 8

The Gallery School of Pottstown is excited to offer three free summer programs for students ages 8-12.  Kids Art Academy is a general arts exploration class, where students will explore two and three-dimensional arts.  Students in Clay Academy will delve into all aspects of creating with clay, including using a pottery wheel.  The third class, Asian Arts, will take students on a journey through the art traditions of many Asian countries.
 
Art Academy and Clay academy begin in June, while Asian Arts starts in July.  Applications must be received by June 8, 2012 for all three programs.  Applications can be found online at http://www.galleryonhigh.com/programs.html,
or in person at the school at 254 E. High St.
 
All three programs are funded by the Greater Pottstown Foundation and are free for the students, with the exception of a small registration fee.  While preference is given to those students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students who do not qualify are also encouraged to apply.  Questions can be emailed to info@galleryonhigh.com, or asked over the phone at 610-326-2506.
 
The Gallery School of Pottstown is a 501c3 non-profit community art school and gallery.  The School offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence.  The Gallery on High hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The Gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The Gallery on High is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am – 4:30pm and Saturday 10am – 3pm.  The Gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

$10,000 Art Scholarship Deadline Extended For Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship For The Arts

Pottstown, PAThe application deadline for the 3rd annual Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship for the Arts has been extended until March 10, 2012.  This $10,000 scholarship is designed to financially assist a qualified applicant in pursuing their further education in the arts. The program is open to any Pottstown, Pottsgrove, Hill School or Owen J. Roberts High School senior.  The scholarship is awarded based on two criteria: artistic performance as displayed at the Greater Pottstown Foundation Senior High School Art Exhibit at the Gallery School of Pottstown, and an essay on why an applicant wants to continue their education in the arts.  The applicant’s intended field of study must include a major in an arts related field.

In addition to submitting a completed application form and essay, each student must also participate in the art exhibit at the Gallery School of Pottstown.  Students must create pieces of art from three of four categories: watercolor or pastel; pencil, charcoal or ink; oil or acrylic; and sculpture, which include pottery, stone, glass, metal, fiber or wood. The application and essay must be received by March 10. Artwork does not need to be completed until the art show in May. 

Students can email info@galleryonhigh.com to receive an application, or stop by the Gallery School at 254 E. High St. in Pottstown.
 
The Gallery School of Pottstown is a 501c3 non-profit community art school and gallery. The School offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. The Gallery on High hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The Gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items. The Gallery on High is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-4:30pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The Gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.
 
The Gallery School of Pottstown
@Gallery on High
254 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
610-326-2506
www.galleryonhigh.org

NEPA Higher Education Institutions Prosper Despite Economic Uncertainly

Brennan Hall, University of Scranton, at Scran...

Image via Wikipedia

Institutions of higher learning in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Metropolitan Area are thriving.  Even during hard economic times.

The University of Scranton set an all-time undergraduate enrollment record this fall with 1,059 students enrolled.  The university received 9,045 applicants – the largest pool of applicants in the school’s history!

King’s College saw a record number of new students enrolling for the fall semester.  The school’s full-time enrollment of 2,025 sets a record as well as receiving a record number of applicants (2565).

Wilkes University will welcome 570 freshmen this fall, up from 497 last year.  The enrollment this fall will tie for the second highest number of students in the school’s history.

Keystone College will welcome 1400 full-time and 400 part-time students this fall.  The highest enrollment since the school’s founding.  330 new freshmen will swell the student body.  Over 500 students will be living on campus this year, a record number.

Marywood University will have 1,100 students living on campus this year after constructing three new dormitories. This is the most students to have ever lived on campus.

Misericordia University set a record for applications received.  This year’s 2,011 applications represent a 24 percent increase over last year’s record number.

Lincoln Elementary School Second Graders Learn About Pottstown

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

It is always great to read stories like this.  Some of Pottstown’s second grade students learned about two import resources in their town – the Pottstown Regional Public Library (PRPL) and the Gallery School on High.  Both businesses are found on Pottstown’s main street, a few blocks apart, and both businesses can help Pottstown’s children learn and succeed.

Three teachers from Lincoln Elementary School Jill Bolonski, Heather Kurtz and Leslie Swartz took their students on an all day field trip to the PRPL and the Gallery School.  To read about what all the students did, click here:

http://pottstownschools.com/pottstown/In%20the%20Spotlight/LINCOLN%20ELEMENTARY%20STUDENTS%20EXPLORE%20%93IN%20TOWN%20CLASSROOM%94/

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to those awesome teachers at Lincoln!

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to the Pottstown Regional Public Library and the Gallery School for being incredibly welcoming and tremendous educational assets in Pottstown.

Links to the PRPL and Gallery School are found on the homepage of this blog under the category Important Pottstown Sites on the right side of your screen.

More Secret Pottstown Meetings? Do We Ever Learn?

Hand with thumbs down

Image via Wikipedia

I just read an article, on a local online media outlet, about the Pottstown School Board having an Executive Session that appears to have violated the Sunshine Law.  The board discussed cutting art and music behind closed doors after being told by taxpayers this was not their will.

As a student of history I feel it is incumbent upon us to study the past to learn from our mistakes.  Making the same poor decision repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

I feel there are other areas that could yield cost savings that we are not considering.  Certain groups are considered “untouchable”.  Art and music are always the first thing a school board looks at cutting to save money.

If we look at the number of students involved with the music program in the PSD, we see a large group.  Not only do many students take part in the music program but our high school band and some other ensembles are award-winners and recognized for excellence.  They are a source of pride for our community.

Clearly, this decision is not supported by taxpayers based on the turn out at public meetings where this subject has been discussed.  Sneaking around behind closed doors is childish behavior and violates the LAW in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  But yet organizations in this town continue to engage in this counterproductive behavior.  How are we supposed to trust any of you???

Shame, shame, shame!  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs DOWN for this poor decision and the even poorer way it was handled.

MCCC West Campus: FREE Making College Adordable Information Session

Montgomery County Community College is proud to present a FREE!

MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE information session.

PA State Treasurer Rob McCord will be on hand to discuss the state’s 529 Savings and Investment Plans

This information session will also feature information on filling out a FAFSA and the financial aid process.

Childcare for children ages 2-11 will be available during session.

Monday, April 18, 2011 * 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Community Room, South Hall • 101 College Drive • Pottstown

For more information and to register, visit:

mc3.edu/admissions/affordability.aspx

or email admissions@mc3.edu

Rutgers Students Pay It Forward On The Mean Streets Of North Camden

Camden

Image via Wikipedia

A joint effort between Rutgers University students, the Camden District Council Collaborative Board and Angel Osorio, community justice director in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is aimed at cleaning up and improving pubic safety in one of Camden’s most notorious neighborhoods. 

North Camden is a crime-ridden neighborhood that needs a lot of help.  Rutgers students have enrolled themselves in a class to replace burnt out street lights, remove graffiti and clean up 23 alleys.  This is not a class for the faint of heart.  Checking the street lights means driving around one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the county looking for burnt out street lights, in the dark.

In a twelve block area, 16 out of 47 street lights were out.  Lighting up Camden will reduce crime.  PSE&G is notified of the broken lights and tries to fix them as quickly as possible.  The lighting project also includes finding funding so that residents can install and pay for porch lights (Fifth Ward Councilor Dan Weand has suggested this very idea for Pottstown).  Unfortunately in Camden, street lights are vandalized according to PSE&G.

This class came about as a result of Rutgers officials working with community members who are trying to carry out the North Camden Neighborhood Plan.  The class’s instructor, Lt. Daniel Howard, is a 24-year veteran of the Mount Laurel police department.  Rutgers-Camden’s new chancellor, Wendell Pritchett, wants his campus to be a national model for a civically engaged university.

Rutgers new director of civic engagement, Andrew Seligshon stated Rutgers sees itself as an anchor institution in Camden.  The university wants to attract good students and faculty members.  North Camden residents want a safer, more attractive neighborhood and better schools.  By partnering together, everybody wins! 

I wish I had more than two thumbs to put up!  Talk about teaching social responsibility!  Awesome program and kudos to all involved.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Becomes A Destination – Kings And Wilkes Play Large Roll

Location of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropol...

Image via Wikipedia

In 2001, downtown Wilkes-Barre hit bottom.  There was no reason to go there and the merchants who remained wanted out.  Kings College and Wilkes University tried to keep students on campus and played down their downtown Wilkes-Barre locations.  Now, on the verge of 2011, things are reversed.  Businesses are relocating downtown, Wilkes and Kings proudly show prospective students downtown Wilkes-Barre and the downtown is now viewed as a “destination” by Wyoming Valley residents.

How did this miraculous transformation occur?  Four community meetings were held which drew 1,000 people.  These meetings spawned Diamond City Partnership, a public-private alliance for downtown revitalization http://www.wbdcp.com/about.htm.  After years of hard work and “seed planting” center city Wilkes-Barre is “the place to be” again.

King’s College and Wilkes University have invested over $30 million dollars in downtown Wilkes-Barre by expanding and renovating their campuses.  There are 6,500 students between both schools.  With the abundance of clubs, bars, restaurants, stores, coffee shops, the Kirby Center and a 14-screen Cineplex, downtown Wilkes-Barre is a draw for students and residents alike.  This renaissance is helping the recruitment efforts of both colleges and is attracting new downtown residents who are looking for city-living in a “walk to everything” environment.  More residents downtown will help spur more economic development.

I think this line sums it up.  A visitor at the Kirby Center was overheard saying “Wilkes-Barre?” “Who knew?”