Category: Armstrong School District

9/11 Difficult Topic for Armstrong Teachers

Dayton Elementary fifth-grade students (L-R) Katrina Renfro, Martina Houser, Kiera Good, Rachel McDivitt and Katie Muth sang the National Anthem during the morning announcements Thursday.

by Jonathan Weaver


Teaching students about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks is becoming more of a challenge to some educators.


A group of fifth-grade students at Dayton Elementary learned a little of what the day symbolized by singing the national anthem during the morning announcements shortly after 7:30AM Thursday.


Lora Strayer is in her first year teaching music at Dayton Elementary, but has been teaching in the Armstrong School District since 2003.


“That was a very special thing we did specifically for 9/11 today – it’s not something we do all the time,” Strayer said. “When Mrs. Reiter came up to us and asked what sort of things we could do to make this 9/11 commemorative and special so the kids remember and learn about it, I had offered to have a small group sing.”


General Music students auditioned last week during class. Ironically, the five girls selected are all both in the school band and school chorus.


“They did wonderfully – as a professional trained with a musical ear, I felt like they sang perfectly on-pitch (with) really good tone qualities and pretty independent, too,” Strayer said. “They’re all new to me and I’m new to them, but I think they did a nice job working well together as a small group.”


Department concerts are normally held only twice per year, but Strayer said chorus students often perform during special assemblies – such as during Veterans’ Day in November.


The mini-musical “Frosty’s First Adventure” – a twist on the classic story – is slated to be the winter concert while the concert band performs some traditional holiday music with rhythmic differences.


The terrorist attacks 13 years ago were also not living history for West Shamokin High School History Teacher Michael Cornetti’s freshman class. His students would have been in diapers during the events.


“It’s becoming closer-and-closer to something that’s just printed in the book rather than something kids have lived through,” Cornetti said. “Every generation of people has those prominent times when the world stops – their grandparents are going to know where they were when (U.S. President John F. Kennedy) was killed, their parents are going to know where they were when the Challenger (space shuttle) exploded and my generation knows where they were during 9/11.”


Cornetti was a freshman student at Slippery Rock University in the university dining hall eating cereal when the news spread. He didn’t go to his remaining classes that day after being glued to the news coverage.


Cornetti’s students will discuss more of the War on Terror at the end of the school year as they progress through history.

ASD Construction Budget Reduced after State Grant Funding


Traffic at the intersection with Buffington Drive in Manor Township will be changed before the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School is complete, but school board directors won’t have to worry about the financial impact as much due to a nearly $750,000 State grant received Tuesday.

by Jonathan Weaver

A highway intersection widening to support the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School construction in Manor Township is receiving State aid.

Armstrong School District was awarded a $745,500 Multimodal Transportation Fund Program grant by the Commonwealth Financing Authority – both part of the Department of Community and Economic Development – effective yesterday.

Several turning lanes are scheduled to be added onto Buffington Drive and Business Route 422 in both directions to facilitate traffic at a new traffic signal. Several traffic cones already indicate where portions of the hillside were already cut out to form a turning lane.

Buffington Drive will also be widened to allow for increased traffic on its way to the school site.

“This is good news on several levels for residents of the Armstrong School District. This grant helps relieve some of the major costs associated with the high school construction project, providing a direct benefit to the local taxpayer,” Senator White said.

“There is also a crucial public safety element to this project. The consolidation of three schools into one new building will increase the traffic volume for that intersection. The improvements funded by this grant are absolutely essential to handle the school buses and associated school traffic and improve overall safety for children, their families and the general motoring public.”

Board President Joseph Close and Superintendent Stan Chapp received the good news this afternoon from L.R Kimball engineers

“We’re very grateful – we had to budget for that project at those intersections and now (the grant) greatly decreases the impact on the budget for the building,” Close said. “That’s a significant amount of money – I think we initially budged around $800,000, so (the grant) pretty-much cleared that.”

Close said permits through PennDOT have been approved and work will begin soon.

The school is to be open in August for the 2015-16 school year.