Return to Headlines

Press briefing: Regular meeting of the Board of School Directors — April 18, 2016


April 15, 2016


Chris Rosenblum

SCASD Director of Communications


SCASD Board of School Directors to Vote On District Policies;

State High Project Change Order

On Monday, April 18, the State College Area School District Board of School Directors will vote on adopting three district policies and eliminating two, and on renewing and possibly adopting a State High Project change order that would trim $69,550 from the project construction budget.

Additionally, the Board will vote on approving the Central Intermediate Unit #10’s 2016-2017 budget and on approving award bids for replacing Mount Nittany Middle School’s roof.

Policy 819 — Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Response

The Board will vote to adopt Policy 819 — Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Response, a revision of the former Policy 819 — Management of Traumatic Events.

The district Citizens Advisory Council on Safe Schools, the district’s K-12 Counseling Department, Student Assistance Program teams and the Board Policy Committee reviewed the state-mandated policy. The policy is required by the 2014 Act 71 of the Public School Code of 1949 — Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Child Exploitation Awareness Education.

The most recent Policy 819 revisions were made March 31.

According to Policy 819’s statement of purpose, the Board would adopt the policy “in acknowledgment of the District’s commitment to maintaining a safe school environment; to protect the health, safety and welfare of its students; to promote healthy development and to safeguard against the threat or attempt of suicide among school-aged youth.”

Furthermore, the policy states: “The impact of students mental health on their academic performance and the effect of mental health issues and suicide on students and the entire school community are significant. Therefore, in order to ensure the safety and welfare of students, the school entity will work to educate school personnel and students on the actions and resources necessary to prevent suicide and promote mental well-being.”

The policy will apply “in any situation where a student is expressing suicidal thoughts or intentions of self-harm on school property, at any school-sponsored activity, or on any public vehicle providing transportation to or from a school-sponsored activity.”

Moreover, it also will apply “following a student’s suicide threat or attempt that does not occur on school grounds or during a school-sponsored activity, but that is reported or becomes known by any school personnel.”

Policy 819 includes administration protocols for age-appropriate student education:

  • The importance of safe and healthy choices

  • Coping strategies

  • How to recognize risk factors and warning signs

  • Help-seeking strategies for self and other, including how to engage school resources and refer friends for help

Policy 819 also includes administration protocols for employee education about risk factors, warning signs, response procedures, referrals and resources for youth suicide prevention.

As part of the district’s professional development plan, educators in school buildings serving grades 6-12 will participate in four hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention training every five years. Some school personnel will receive additional training in risk assessment and crisis intervention.

Under Policy 819, the district commits to providing parents/guardians with information about health promotion, suicide risk (including characteristics and warning signs) and local behavioral/mental health resources.

Policy 819 includes comprehensive prevention/intervention guidelines, “best practices for administrators and qualified school personnel to follow when they suspect that a student is at risk for suicide.”

Policy 105 — Curriculum

The Board will vote on adopting a refined version of Policy 105 — Curriculum.

Since a Board discussion on June 8, 2015, the policy update has been under review, most recently by the Board Culture, Climate and Learning Committee on Feb. 24.

Policy 105 affirms the Board’s responsibility “to provide for the educational program in district schools” and the “importance of curriculum in preparing district students for lifelong success through excellence in education.”

The policy also establishes “a common understanding of what curriculum is” and the “responsibilities by which the district’s curriculum is developed, implemented, evaluated, and updated.”

Policy 108 — Textbooks/Electronic Equivalent

The Board will vote on adopting a refined version of Policy 108 — Textbooks/Electronic Equivalent.

Since a June 8, 2015 Board discussion, the policy update underwent a final review Feb. 24 by the Board Culture, Climate and Learning Committee.

Policy 108 stipulates that the Board is responsible for adopting “all textbooks or electronic equivalents used as part of the educational program of this district.”

The policy defines a textbook or electronic equivalent as a “medium containing a presentation or a significant illustration of the principles of a subject” that is “used by the teacher as a basis of planned instruction.”

The Board must adopt textbooks between April and August with a two-thirds vote. Board adoption is not required for resource and supplemental materials.

Additionally, the policy states that the district superintendent “or designee” is responsible for developing administrative guidelines for selecting and recommending textbooks or electronic equivalents.

Policy 106 — Guides for Planned Instruction and Policy 107 — Adoption of Planned Instruction

The Board will vote on accepting a district administration recommendation to eliminate curriculum Policies 106 and 107 due to the comprehensive nature of Policy 105.

State High Project change order

The Board first will vote on whether to renew a State High Project change order that would substitute Ground-Face CMU block for some of the stone veneer in the front of the future South Building.

The so-called “value engineering change order” failed to gain Board approval at the March 14 and March 28 meetings. If the motion to renew the change order passes, the Board then will vote to accept it.

Approval would cut at least $69,550 from the high school construction cost in the form of a credit to Lobar, Inc. It also would boost the savings so far from value-engineering change orders to $1,739,020.

Mount Nittany Middle School roof replacement

The Board will vote on accepting a district administration recommendation to award a bid largely for completing a 3-year phased re-roofing of Mount Nittany Middle School.

David M. Maines Associates, Inc. was the low bidder at $494,493, under budget, for the summer project, which will include a small section of the State High North Building over the natatorium.

The work is budgeted within the Physical Plant’s 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Central Intermediate Unit #10 2016-2017 budget

The Board will vote on approving the Central Intermediate Unit #10 2016-2017 General Operating Budget of $2,094,437.

CIU #10 is regional education service agency established in 1970. Its budget is a collection of program budgets providing administrative and management services, business services and operations, curriculum and staff development, building and grounds expenditures, technology services and the Galaxy-The Arts in Education Program to 12 school districts, including SCASD, in Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties.

SCASD Superintendent Bob O’Donnell sits on CIU #10’s Superintendents Advisory Council, which advises Executive Director J. Hugh Dwyer.

SCASD Board members Dan Duffy and Scott Fozard serve on CIU #10’s Board of Directors. SCASD Solicitor Scott Etter serves the same role for CIU #10.


Board members will hear updates on: