Sto-Rox School District Takes a New Approach for 2016 – 2017

Sto-Rox School District is taking a new look at its approach to discipline and grades this year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on August 26.

A group of teachers planned for over the last academic year to right the ship for the students of McKees Rocks and Stowe. The teachers are confident the new direction will help as the teachers were awarded with a pay raise, the article said.

“We’re trying to turn over every stone that we can,” said Carrie Palermo, and vice president of the Sto-Rox Education Association, regarding the new operating procedures spearheaded by the teachers and created in conjunction with administrators, school directors and members of the public, according to the article.

“The restructuring had to be done,” Samantha Levitzki, School Board President for Sto-Rox said. “The restructuring called for reviewing our curriculum and discipline policy and building needs to meet the needs of not only the students, but the staff in order to increase student success and the culture, the same old thing wasn’t working in this district”.

Samantha Levitzki, Sto-Rox School Board President

Samantha Levitzki, Sto-Rox School Board President

This agreement lasts through the 2021 year with retroactive pay for 2013, and salary advancement for this year. It was approved with an unanimous  vote, with Gary Drexler absent.

One of the major changes feature a dean and head teacher installed at the schools. The discipline policy was molded from successful policies in other districts while eyeing the specific needs of Sto-Rox. For example, specific offenses give the principal, the dean and the head teachers options to amend the situation. There are tiered levels to follow based on severity and frequency, the article reported.

It was also reported in the article that the superintendent’s office has moved to the upper elementary to make sure there is an additional administrator on site.

The head teachers are: They are Michelle Dzuba, primary; Heather Johnston, upper elementary; and Chris Captline, junior/senior high. All have principal certification.

Deans are: Pam Clawson, primary; Robin Cato, upper elementary; and Sam Weaver, junior/senior high.

Livitzki added that, though money was tight, the district is still seeking innovative ways to impact the lives and lifestyles of its students.

On August 23rd, Sto Rox Alum celebrated 50 years since the consolidation of the school district. Photo by Taris Vrcek.

On August 23rd, Sto Rox Alum celebrated 50 years since the consolidation of the school district. Photo by Taris Vrcek.

“Money isn’t sometimes needed. We think out of the box here, not out of the pockets. We encourage any kind of idea that will not only enrich the students’ minds but make them better people. That’s what we teach not how to make a living but how to live,” she said.

“We want to involve not only our community, but honor the folks who are who they because of not only the district but our town. This is just one piece of how we are trying to engage more people and create not only partnerships, but true supporters,” Levitzki concluded.

Be sure to look for such Sto-Rox Alumni events coming this fall, with the next one being Friday, September 23rd to honor Sto-Rox Educators past and present prior to the football game at Sto-Rox High School Football Field.