Below is a record of our district wide communications to parents and guardians
Aug. 5, 2022
SCASD Food Services - Back to School News
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I hope that you and your family are well and that your child is looking forward to the new school year.
This message includes information to help you take full advantage of the services offered by the district's Food Service Department. I encourage you visit our webpage for additional information including:
- Meal Prices
- Free & Reduced-Price Meals Application & Information
- Cafeteria Procedures
- Nutrient Facts
- Allergy & Special Diets Accommodations
- Contact Information
- Birthday Baskets
Breakfast: Starting the day with breakfast, either at home or at school, is important for student success. Breakfast is available every morning in our schools for all students. Students who receive free or reduced-price lunch are also able to get breakfast at the same approved rate. Breakfast is available when students enter the building at the beginning of the day. Students who would like a school breakfast should pick it up when they arrive at school and take it to the classroom to eat.
Menus: An updated menu will be emailed to families before the start of each month. Menus can be found on our webpage or on the SCASD App.
A la Carte Sales: Students are able to purchase snack or extra food items at school so long as funds are available in their account to pay for the purchase. Parents can request account restrictions to limit unwanted purchases. To request an account restriction, please email email@example.com and include your child's name, school, parent/guardian's name, phone number, and requested restriction.
Paying for School Meals: Payments to your child’s lunch account can be made on-line a www.myschoolbucks.com. There is a $2.75 convenience fee for electronic payments.
If you prefer not to pay online, Middle School, High School, or Delta students can present cash or checks to a cafeteria cashier for the purpose of depositing the full amount into the student's cafeteria account. -Change will not be given.
Payments are not collected in our elementary schools. Payments sent to an elementary school with a student will be sent back home. Checks can be mailed to the Food Services Office for elementary students and for students in any grade level.
Mail checks to the SCASD Food Service Office at 653 Westerly Parkway, State College, PA 16801. Make checks payable to SCASD FSD and include the name of the student(s) for whom the payment is intended, the school(s) they attend, and a phone number for questions.
We will never deny a student a school meal for lack of funds. However, students are not allowed to charge a la carte items such as bottled water, snacks, or extra entrees. IOU emails are sent to parents each week, but we also encourage you to sign up for low balance email alerts at www.myschoolbucks.com. There is no fee for receiving low balance emails or for viewing your child's account activity on the MySchoolBucks website.
Free & Reduced-Price Meals: If your family could use help paying for school meals, please consider applying for free or reduced-price school meals. Current income of $4,279 per month will qualify a family of 4 for some assistance. Visit our webpage for additional information.
Allergies & Special Diets: If your child has an allergy or special dietary need, please review our procedures for providing safe meals at school. Some requests will require that a Medical Plan of Care be completed by your physician. Soy milk can be requested for any student as a substitute for the milk served with school meals by simply submitting a Milk Substitute Request Form. Both forms can be found on our webpage.
Birthday Baskets are back! SCASD Food Services can help make celebrating a birthday extra special for your elementary school student and extra easy for you. Learn more and order birthday treats on our webpage.
We wish all of our students the very best for the year ahead and hope that the healthy and delicious meals served in our schools help to fuel them to succeed!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Megan Schaper, SNS
Food Service Director
State College Area School District
Aug. 4, 2022
Subject: Call for Crossing Guards, Bus Drivers and more
Dear SCASD Community,
The State College Borough Police Department has several crossing guard job openings for the upcoming school year and no pending applications to fill the positions. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in this important position, please visit the borough employment website for more information or to apply. Just so you are aware, crossing guards are not SCASD employees, they are employed by the respective borough or township where a school is located.
Along the same line, the district currently has more bus driver positions open than applicants. So we ask you as well, if you, or anyone you know, would like to be a bus driver, please visit our SCASD employment website for more information or to apply. On that site you will see many other open positions for teachers, coaches, custodians, CEEL support staff, food services workers, paraprofessionals and more.
We need to fill as many of these positions as possible as we are quickly approaching the first day of school on Aug. 23. These jobs are incredibly rewarding as they benefit our students directly, and are critical for our operations. Thank you for your consideration and please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in working for the borough or SCASD.
Have a great day!
Media and Communications Manager
Aug. 2, 2022
Subject: Superintendent Search: Stakeholder Engagement
Dear SCASD Community Member,
With the superintendent search underway, we are entering the stakeholder engagement phase. We will be reaching out to various groups throughout the community to solicit opinions on the challenges, issues and needs facing the district. As part of that process, we will be asking community members what they feel are the essential leadership skills needed by the next superintendent to successfully steer the district in reaching our strategic goals.
The Board of School Directors is tasked to represent our community’s priorities regarding how our schools are run. In order to do that, it is important we solicit your thoughts, opinions and ideas about the State College Area School District. This is crucial to providing the Board with an understanding of a broad swath of community input as we plan the next phases of the search process, assess candidates and develop the future goals for the district. It also gives the community a genuine ‘voice’ in the process.
Although the final decision on selecting a new superintendent rests solely with the Board, our decision will be informed by the input from stakeholder groups. In order to provide an environment where all stakeholders can comfortably share their thoughts and concerns, our search consultant, Tom Templeton, will be facilitating the focus groups and conducting the surveys and will compile the input for the Board.
If you have an interest in participating in a focus group discussion and/or providing your thoughts in writing, we would welcome your involvement. Please complete this brief form to provide your contact information, and we will be back in touch soon with further details. And please also feel free to share this letter with other community members who you think may be interested, but who may not currently have students enrolled in SCASD.
As always, you can view our superintendent search website for more information. Thank you for any way in which you may be interested in participating in this process; we value your involvement!
State College Area School District
July 21, 2022
Subject: Incorrect Middle School Schedules in ParentVue
Dear Middle School Parents and Guardians:
As some of you may have seen, some of the schedule information for our middle school students is showing up in ParentVue. Please know, we have not finalized the middle school schedules and this information may not be accurate. The information is being displayed because of a glitch on the platform.
When the middle school schedules are complete, you will receive an email from your building principal letting you know they are done. We expect the schedules to be finalized around Aug. 15. Until then, the information is subject to change and schedules should not be viewed as final.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
Media and Communications Manager
July 21, 2022
Subject: SCASD updates for the new school year
Dear SCASD Community:
Following Monday night’s Board of Directors meeting, I would like to provide you with several updates related to the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
For those of you who may not know, the Board appointed me as interim superintendent while the search for a permanent replacement for Dr. O’Donnell is conducted. Monday’s meeting was my first in this new role. For the past few years, I have been the SCASD assistant superintendent for secondary education and before that, State High principal. I’m grateful to the Board for entrusting me to lead the district and know that we are going to have a great year because I am surrounded by an incredible team of faculty, staff and administrators. Christine Merritt, our director of secondary curriculum, will serve in the role as interim assistant superintendent for secondary education while the superintendent search continues.
At the meeting, our updated Health and Safety Plan was shared with the Board. This plan was derived with input for the Health and Safety Team which consists of an epidemiologist, pediatricians, nurses and district administrators. It also considers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. The updated plan is very similar to our previous versions in that it is layered to provide multiple safety measures and flexibility. The objective is to maximize in-person learning opportunities for all students in the most supportive environment possible.
Having been part of the Health and Safety Team for the past two years, I’m confident in this plan because of the team of local experts who assist us and monitor our district and community every day. Additionally, it gives us the ability to make adjustments quickly should conditions in our schools or community at-large change.
When it comes to masking, we have updated our indoor protocols for each of the CDC’s Community Levels.
- When Centre County is at Low or Medium Community Levels, masks are optional.
- When Centre County is at High Level, masks will be highly recommended.
District wide mask mandates will only be considered if also enacted by local municipalities. However, there could be special circumstances like large gatherings where masks could be mandatory at certain Levels.
As always, we will closely monitor possible transmission at the classroom, grade, or school levels. If three or more COVID positive cases that are connected as close contacts in time and space occur in the same classroom, grade, or school, we would consider temporary mandatory masking on a case-by-case basis. Masks will be optional outdoors at all community levels. Additionally, we will provide opportunities for students to eat lunch and have class outdoors whenever possible, maximize airflow in all of our buildings and continue reporting of COVID-19 cases.
Another important item to note is that the board approved a motion for public review of the final updated 2021-2024 Strategic and Comprehensive Plans. Through numerous meetings with stakeholders consisting of Board members, administrators, teachers, other district personnel, students, parents, and representatives from business and the community, the district has completed updating the strategic plans. The plans consist of:
- Vision of a SCASD graduate
- Goals for Student Success
- Measures of Student Progress
- Four Pillars to accomplish our goals for student success
- Using professional practices — teaching, leadership, and organization
- Strategic mapping — setting priorities and key actions
These plans will guide the district forward using the goals and related actions to meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) “Comprehensive Planning” requirements. Per PDE requirements, the documents will be posted for public review before the plan is on the board agenda for final approval on Aug. 29. More information can be found on our strategic planning website.
As we continue our planning this summer, one thing is for sure, we can’t wait to welcome back our students on the first day of school, Aug. 23.
July 18, 2022
Student Initiative for Family Safety
Dear SCASD community,
I’m reaching out to bring you some important safety information as we all enjoy summer break with our families. Over the past year, a group of SCASD high school students has worked to build a public awareness campaign regarding the importance of safely storing firearms, particularly in homes where children or teens are present.
Below is a story about their efforts, their success involving various government officials and community members, and the important information they seek to share with the community. Please read the letter we have attached from these students to the community as well. We are so impressed with their dedication, persistence, and care for our community.
Recently, the Centre County Commissioners unanimously approved a Proclamation on Safe and Secure Firearm Storage, with the goal of sharing this information throughout our community. “As much as we cherish our right to possess guns, we also have the responsibility to keep everybody safe and one of the simplest ways is to make sure they [firearms] are secure,” Commissioner Steve Dershem said.
Additionally, local law enforcement police chiefs and Centre County Sheriff Bryan Sampsel have shared with our school leaders how families can help keep kids safe from firearm injury or death by taking simple steps to store firearms safely.
As local school leaders, we are so grateful for the advocacy of SCASD students to raise awareness about the importance of safe firearm storage, including their work to bring together community leaders, law enforcement, and health care providers throughout the region to share what they know about this issue.
State College Area School District
SCASD Students Advocate for Safe Gun Storage
One afternoon in May, a notable collection of individuals gathered at State High.
Local police chiefs and school district superintendents joined two Centre County Commissioners, the Centre County coroner, State College Area School District administrators, and the school board leadership — all there because of one student committee’s efforts to protect children from gun violence.
Started by Delta Program high school students, the State College Area School District chapter of the national Students Demand Action organization discussed its initiative to share safe firearm storage practices with district families via a letter and an informational graphic. Their presentation met with approval from the audience members, who offered encouragement and suggestions. Everyone in attendance agreed on the importance of ensuring all families in Centre County understand how to store firearms safely, and the group committed to working together to communicate safe storage practices.
Weeks later, the county commissioners formally signed on to the cause by issuing a proclamation urging safe firearm storage in homes.
“I was very proud of the work we were able to do, and all the people in the community who worked to make this a reality,” said junior Lilly Frank, the chapter’s co-president with Grace Myersmith.
Troubling statistics spurred them and chapter members Lorelai Radzanowski and Maya Dombroskie to act. Each year, 350 children under 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year, and almost 700 children annually die by gun suicide.
On the other hand, safe firearm storage practices have been shown to reduce the risk of self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries by up to 85 percent.
“You see, at the state and national level, there’s a huge risk of not only unintentional shootings, but also teen suicides,” Frank said. “Having secure firearm storage is really important for child safety at home.”
Other facts that make this such a critical issue for our community:
Firearms are a leading cause of death for children in the US under the age of 18.
Accidental child shootings and suicides by firearm are a significant risk for children and teens, and such tragic events are most likely to occur when children are home, such as summer or school holidays.
Children are usually the victims of unintentional shootings by children — in 91% of unintentional shootings by children, another child is the victim.
Sadly, SCASD’s Students Demand Action chapter notes, our community has experienced the realities of these statistics. Chapter members endorse the gun safety recommendations from the national Be Smart for Kids organization:
Unload: Remove all ammunition from the firearm, including removing any chambered rounds.
Lock: Secure guns with a firearm locking device, such as a jacket lock, or in a locked location, like a safe or lockbox.
Separate: Store ammunition in a secure location separate from the firearm.
Free gun locks and safety kits are available at local law enforcement offices (including State College, Patton Township, and Ferguson Township police departments), VFWs, American Legions, senior centers, gun stores, and the county sheriff’s office.
“If anyone needs one, stop by,” Centre County Sheriff Bryan Sampsel said.
Frank's interest in firearm safety began in eighth grade and was inspired by the occurrence of school shootings. In particular, the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida prompted her to look into starting a Students Demand Action chapter. But once she learned only high school students could do so, she had to wait. The pandemic delayed her further in ninth grade, but by March of 2021, the chapter finally began with English teacher Amy Allison as its advisor.
After discussing approaches toward sharing safe firearm storage practices as a community service, the students decided a letter to district families would be the best way to reach parents and guardians. Last year, they made presentations at school and to the SCASD Board of Directors, steadily gaining traction and supportive allies within the community.
Frank hopes that, eventually, families will receive the chapter’s safe storage letter before the school year starts as a reminder.
“It’s important that we build a legacy with this resolution that will go beyond our high school experience, that we make sure it’s sent out every year and isn’t pushed to the back burner,” she said. “This can do a lot of good in the community and really decrease the rate of firearm injuries and deaths.”
By Chris Rosenblum, SCASD Director of Communications
July 5, 2022
Subject: SCASD Equity Update Newsletter
Dear SCASD Community,
As our school district has closed out the 2021-2022 school year and is currently preparing for the fall, we would like to share an update about our Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) efforts to date.
As educators, our role includes so many important responsibilities with caring for and educating students. Our school district desires for all students to have what they need for future success.
Our DEI efforts over the past year, summarized in the 2021-2022 Equity Update Newsletter, have fit squarely into our strategic priorities for providing meaningful learning experiences and welcoming environments for all students, but we must do much more.
Our hope in providing this comprehensive equity update is to continue to work collaboratively with you, our community, in these efforts. We want to ensure that a SCASD student’s identity and circumstances do not dictate their potential for success.
In the coming year, our equity efforts will be embedded in our strategic plan. We look forward to a new school year and wish you the best for the remainder of the summer.
Seria Chatters, Director of Equity and Inclusivity
Bob O’Donnell, Superintendent of Schools