Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem Area School District notes new initiatives for 2014-15 school year

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Bethlehem Area School District is announcing a number of initiatives in support of its Roadmap to Educational Excellence.

The initiatives reflect the district's "commitment to educating the whole child through rigorous and relevant courses, student engagement and community partnerships," states a release from school district officials.

School officials outlined these initiatives as follows:

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education - Our rapidly changing, technology based world puts a premium on high school graduates possessing strong STEM skills. BASD is taking the lead in response to our nation's STEM needs with several initiatives:
? Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an internationally recognized pre-engineering curriculum, is now offered to Liberty and Freedom High School students. In our newly remodeled and equipped engineering labs, students will learn design principles and problem-solving skills in pursuit of solving real engineering challenges.
? The Envision Mathematics program strengthens the fundamental math skills of 4th and 5th graders while using rigorous mathematical problems to promote creativity and problem-solving skills.
? The Precision Machining lab at the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School
(BAVTS) is a model of STEM education and now provides state-of-the-art CNC and
CAD equipment to prepare 50 students a year for high demand manufacturing careers. The precision machining students are joined by highly skilled welders, HVAC specialists, masons and carpenters to meet the STEM needs of Lehigh Valley employers.
? BASD's Information Technology Department is undergoing significant restructuring to support the educational mission of the district. During the 2014-2015 school year, changes will be implemented to upgrade our wireless infrastructure and initiate an IT Call Center for customer service. Additionally, we will reorganize our instructional technology efforts with a focus on the seamless integration of technology and instruction to encourage higher order student learning.

Student Engagement and Family Involvement are key ingredients to academic success. BASD continues to invest resources to ensure these ingredients are embedded in our schools:
? Small Elementary Classes allow our teachers to truly know our students and their
families. BASD's overall elementary class size of 21 students per class is one of the best in the region, if not the entire state.
? 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teaming is now back and more effective than ever at our four middle schools. Teaming builds relationships, encourages students to stretch
themselves academically and allows teachers to present interdisciplinary learning
opportunities to students.
? BASD is implementing College and Career Pathways to engage and help students
identify areas of interest and to help students more purposefully choose the courses they take.
? BASD students and parents will now have access to Naviance- a college and career
readiness online tool that connects academic achievement with post high school plans. Many elite private secondary schools have used this tool to give their students an advantage in the college admissions process - now, BASD students will be able to
access the same Naviance tools.
? Through innovative partnerships with Family Answers, the Colonial Intermediate Unit and the Children's Home of Reading, BASD will provide greater access to community-based social service and mental health resources for students and
families in need.
? Recognizing that student engagement extends beyond the classroom, Boys and Girls Lacrosse formally become school sponsored, PIAA varsity sports this school year. Additionally, the BASD mini-THON, a student initiated and student led group,
is primed to carry out many fundraising and awareness raising events this year in the fight against pediatric cancer.

One of the defining characteristics of BASD is our close connection to the community-
? Only in BASD will you find high school business marketing classes working with a major non-profit (ArtsQuest) to book, market and present musical acts at one of the largest open air music festivals in the world.
? The United Way of the Lehigh Valley's Community School model brings schools,
parents, higher education, and corporate partners together to support the academic and social needs of students at five BASD elementary schools. This year, Moravian College becomes the lead higher education partner for William Penn Elementary School - joining Lehigh University and Northampton Community College as community school higher education partners along with corporate partners Just Born, Inc., Air Products, Inc. and Community in Schools.
? The Bethlehem Area Education Foundation will offer grants to BASD teachers to fund innovative projects that connect students with the community.
? BASD's innovative Community Service Program will expand its reach both within the community with new partners and within our classrooms with a renewed focus on service learning projects. Amazingly, BASD's 2014 graduates performed over 120,000 hours of service in their community.
? BASD's commitment to all children is reflected in the district's membership this year in the Delaware Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence (DVCEE). The DVCEE brings together successful districts from eastern Pennsylvania with a focus on diversity, equity, and closing achievement gaps.

School Climate and School Safety - BASD is pleased to take several steps forward in buildling upon our commitment to safe schools and positive learning climates for students.
? In partnership with the City of Bethlehem, we are pleased to announce the addition of five School Resource Officers (SROs). SROs are specially trained City of Bethlehem police officers assigned full time to our schools. Each BASD midle school willwelcome a new SRO and a second SRO will join the officer currently assigned at Liberty High School. Bethlehem Township police provide an SROs at Freedom High School and at the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School.
? With the start of the 2014-2015 school year, all 22 schools are equipped with card
access readers at key school entrances. This technology improves school safety by
more closely controlling access to our schools.

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