Positioning the District for Success
The Allentown School District is developing new educational avenues that should poise the District for future success despite another year of economic challenges.
It is true that we will face another year of reductions. The District is striving to keep them as minimal as possible, but there will be reductions throughout every level – clerical, faculty, staff and administrators. At this time, NO program will be eliminated due to these reductions. Our academic specials – music, art, physical education and library – will remain as they have been this academic year. The reductions are in response to the reduction in the District’s overall enrollment and are meant to right-size the District in accordance with enrollment reductions. Teacher reductions are in core content areas, as well as intervention specialists. Paraprofessional reductions are through attrition – not filling 10 current vacant positions. Nine district-wide positions, which do not impact the District budget, are a result of the ending of the Gear Up grant.
What is the plan to move the District to meet these challenges? As always, we work with our local legislators who have always been supportive of the District and last year procured a last minute additional $9 million in funding. We know we will not see that great of an influx of funding, but remain hopeful that there will be additional support in a variety of ways. We know that over the next few years we will see an increase in revenue from the City of Allentown as the revitalization of the City continues to draw in new business ventures like the arena and the waterfront projects.
Although these new initiatives will have a positive impact on the District, we are not just sitting and waiting for these changes to transpire. We are launching a new and more responsive cyber option – the ASD Virtual Academy. ASD Virtual Academy provides students online educational opportunities with the emotional and social development support that every ASD student receives. Students (grades 8 – 12) residing in our District may enroll in the program and receive a high-quality cyber experience with a personal touch through our: Full-Time Virtual High School Program with an Allentown School District diploma; Credit Recovery Program; and Virtual Supplemental Courses.
Additionally, our new Professional Career Institute initiative involves the District partnering with the Downtown Development to create Field of Interest (FOI) options in such areas as engineering, leadership and health sciences, to name a few. These FOIs are collaborations with area businesses that will prepare our students, beginning in middle school, for career and/or college. They will address the needs that our area businesses have in the job market – filling their highly-skilled, high-tech positions. You will hear more about these new initiatives in the months ahead.
Together, we can move to a brighter future.
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