PASD earns PDE praise for 21st Century program

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area School District is among five districts receiving accolades again from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for its successful use and integration of technology in its curriculum.

With the help of Learning Resources Director Gerald Gigliotti, Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe presented three video vignettes filmed by PDE during the school board’s Monday meeting.

Wolfe said that out of Penn-sylvania’s 200 school districts, Punxsy was one of only five chosen for the documentaries about its 21st Century
“We have invested a lot of money in technology,” he said. “And it comes up: ‘Are the students using (the laptops) to play games?’ Yes, some are, but there are also a lot of students using them for the intended reasons. We thought it was important to students to make them available.”
Over the last year-and-a-half, high school students have had access to their own laptop computers for at school and at home. The PDE documentaries highlighted classroom projects; testimonials from students, staff and administration; and how staff have implemented technology into already existing curricula, or used it to created new ideas.

The film showed projects in the classrooms of Karen Lunger and Kim McFetridge (Spanish); Matt Curry (AP English); Louise Maine (biology); Phil Shenkle (social studies); and sentiments from Wolfe, Gigliotti, PAHS Principal David London; Classroom for the Future Coach Melissa Fedigan; and former Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Frantz, under whom the program was initiated.

The films also said students having the laptops at home can bridge gaps among family members who are not computer literate, and could learn some basic skills needed to prepare a resume for a job, as board member Penny Pifer pointed out.

Wolfe said that while students use technology in new ways in the classroom, these activities also help prepare them for skills sought by future employers, such as collaborative skills, whether they use them with colleagues across a hallway or around the world.

The documentaries will soon be available for public viewing on the district’s Web site,

Also Monday, the board:
• Accepted resignations from Andrew Love, pool manager, effective Aug. 23; Cathy Mauk, administrative assistant, effective Aug. 14; and Destiny Pifer, classroom instructional assistant, effective Aug. 4.

• Hired Andrew Tygert, Spanish teacher, at Step 1 $33,005.

• Hired Donna Newcome, administrative assistant, at $13.50 per hour.