Educational Community & School Climate
New Castle Area School District is an urban public school district located in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, which is located approximately 45 miles north of Pittsburgh. The district serves the city of New Castle and Taylor Township. New Castle Area School District encompasses approximately 13 square miles. The 2010 census found the population declined to 24,286 people which has been steadily declining. The District houses approximately 3,200 students and encompasses four schools: Harry W. Lockley, a K-2 early learning center, George Washington, a grade 3-6 intermediate school, a junior high, grades 7 and 8, and a senior high school, grades 9-12. All District schools are Title I eligible and school-wide. The school district employs 225 educators and 12 administrators.
The City of New Castle represents over 25,000 individuals including the vast majority of the county’s minority population and low income/at-risk families. The poor economic conditions have persisted in the region for over 20 years due to the loss of core manufacturing jobs and its related industry.
Summary of Academic Programs
In kindergarten we use best practices to give our students the building blocks for a strong foundation in literacy and mathematics by utilizing Dibels and Success For All. In grades K-6, we have implemented Success for All (SFA), which is a whole-school reform strategy that features research-proven tools, cooperative learning to engage students and collaborative leadership for continuous improvement. We are committed to ensuring that all of our students are proficient readers. SFA will focus on development in fluency, vocabulary, oral language and written expression. Additionally, we use McGraw-Hill's My Math Program that was built on the Common Core Standards and exceeds your expectations of how challenging and engaging an elementary math program can be. My Math, was carefully constructed to help students meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards. The three components of rigor (Conceptual Understanding, Procedural Skill & Fluency, & Application) are woven throughout the program in equal intensity, allowing students to progress toward a higher level of achievement in meeting the high expectations of the Standards and CCSS Assessments.
Tutoring Program - Beginning in October and extending throughout the end of May, students at the K-6 levels work with tutors to build up reading, writing and math skills. Individual student data from Dibels, SFA and My Math are used to target curricular areas of focus. Students are provided the tutoring service during the school day as well as after school. Using the 21st Century Grant monies, for the next three years we will be offering an after-school tutoring program for 300 students grades K-8. Enrollment will be based on student academic performance data.
Honors Courses offered at New Castle Jr. High School:
· Honors English
· Honors Pre-Algebra
· Honors Algebra 1
· Honors U.S. History
· Honors Integrated Science
· Honors Geometry
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses offered at New Castle Sr. High School:
· AP Calculus
· AP Chemistry
· AP English
· AP U.S. History
· AP Economics
· AP Biology
Tutoring Program - Beginning in October and extending throughout the end of March, students at the junior high school are provided with a tutoring service in PSSA areas of ELA, Math and Science. In addition, students at the senior high school are provided tutoring and remediation in the Keystone Exam areas of Algebra I, Biology and Literature. We use both the 4Sight and Classroom Diagnostic Tools data to drive these tutoring sessions. Students are provided the tutoring service during the school day and will be scheduled from one of their elective or rotation courses on a periodic routine. Using the 21st Century Grant monies, for the next three years we will be offering an after-school tutoring program for 300 students grades K-8. Enrollment will be based on student academic performance data.
PJAS – Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science-PJAS is the State Science fair where individual students (guided by their science teachers) design, experiment and present their independent science research projects to a panel of adult scientists, competing regionally and state-wide. In 2014, nine New Castle Jr. High students completed independent science projects, with seven receiving first place awards and two receiving second place awards, while 76 New Castle Sr. High students completed independent science projects, with 38 receiving first place awards and 38 receiving second place awards at the regional level.
College in High School Program through Seton Hill University - New Castle Sr. High School’s “College in High School Program” is designed to accelerate top students to college-level academic preparation while taking high level high school courses. The program leads to actual college credits earned for freshmen level courses which are required by most universities. Our students can transfer these credits to the college or university of their choice. New Castle Sr. High School is averaging 62 students per year earning college credits through our relationship with Seton Hill.
The Princeton Review – SAT Prep Course -In an effort to provide students the best possible preparation for the SAT exam, the school district developed a partnership with the renowned Princeton Review. The Princeton Review is a premiere SAT Prep program that focuses on learning how to read effectively, improving vocabulary, strengthening writing, and developing problem- solving abilities. To purchase the Princeton Review individually would cost close to $1,000. New Castle Sr. High School provides this impactful program totally FREE to our students.
PSAT - The District pays the registration fees for all 10th grade students to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT) in October. The PSAT is a national exam that measures academic skills that a student will need for college.
Penn State Talent Search - Funded by the US Department of Education and administered by Penn State University, first generation students in grades 7 -12 have the opportunity to participate in the Penn State Talent Search Program. One of only 452 programs in the country, and one of only 10 in the state of Pennsylvania, the Talent Search program provides additional academic, career, and financial counseling to assist students in successfully completing school and attending college. Presently, over 200 students are a part of the program.
Fit4Life - Serving our youth through in-school, after-school, and summer food programming, the FIT4LIFE program has been implemented over several years through a partnership between the New Castle Area School District, LCCAP, and many Lawrence County youth-serving agencies. FIT4LIFE encompasses multiple program elements and requirements, which will include all aspects of health and fitness using the nationally recognized Fitness for Life comprehensive model. Additionally, nutritional and various physical activities are used to inspire and initiate lifetime healthy living for New Castle youth. New to the district is the Fit4Life Program that is implemented at George Washington Intermediate School. Lawrence County Community Action Partnership (LCCAP) has partnered with George Washington in the implementation of Fit4Life, which is a comprehensive physical fitness/education program to benefit our students in making progress toward meeting state standards for physical education.
The Arts - The Arts are an integral component in the curriculum. Students have the opportunity for hands-on instruction in drawing, painting, mosaics, music, vocals, and theater. Students have a chance to enter the world of media through video production, graphic design, and CAD/CAM.
The New Castle Area School District compliments the academic program with an integral athletic program consisting of:
- Twelve varsity athletic programs.
- Four varsity supplemental programs. (Band, Cheerleading, Candy Canes and Flag Line.)
- Eight Junior varsity and junior high athletic teams.
There are over 400 students participating in these programs. The Athletic Budget is approximately $570,000. The Athletic Spending Plan is approximately 1.3% of the District’s over all budget. The District competes in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.
Resources and Financial Data
The New Castle Area School District Board of Directors recently approved a 44.9m spending plan for the 2014-15 school year. Over 70% of the District’s revenue is derived from the Common Wealth of Pennsylvania and the remaining balance from federal and local funds. The District’s assessed value as of June 30, 2014 was $540,000,000 with current millage set at 17.27. As of June 30, 2014 the District has a reserve balance of $14,955,000 of which $3.2m is set aside for capital projects. The District continues to apply for several grants in order to supplement its current spending plan and further supports the resources available for our students.