Parents in the Burrell School District have a new online communication tool at their disposal this year. It’s called “Skyward,” and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Matthew Conner is impressed, to say the least.
“It’s slick. We’re excited about it,” Conner says.
So what is it, exactly? Conner describes the online portal – which can be accessed through a mobile app – as a “one-stop shop” for parents.
There are some new faces around the Burrell School District this school year, with teachers joining the staffs at both the high school and Huston Middle School. Superintendent Dr. Shannon Wagner says the district uses the hiring process to identify teachers who raise curiosity, introduce new knowledge and encourage students to develop their own ideas.
“These candidates stood out from the rest,” Wagner says of the new hires. “I look forward to seeing the awesome work they will do with our children.”
New ideas and innovation are what drive the world forward, and education is the engine that powers performance and relentless progress. Today, we are experiencing technological revolutions that will change the world tomorrow – with some of them taking place in our own backyard, like the 3D printing research & development initiatives at Alcoa. Other smaller scale, but equally significant, revolutions are happening right here in the Burrell School District.
As educators and coaches here at Burrell, we take great pride in the academic, athletic, and artistic achievements of our talented students. Continuing a tradition of excellence in diverse areas, we are pleased to be able to share with parents and the community the accomplishments of our students.
BHS Senior Earns Eastern Choral Honor
Walking into the Burrell High School library, you won’t see any stark white walls or hard tables and chairs. Instead, there are bright, colorful lounge chairs, moveable modern-looking tables, and splashes of color on the walls—a scene that for most faculty and parents is vastly different from their own memories of school. And the truth is, the school our children show up to every day is not the same school that we attended ten, twenty, thirty years ago. It can’t be.
When Juliana Freese was hired as food service director for the Burrell School District, she faced a formidable challenge: declining participation among students in the lunch program and, consequently, declining revenue.
So she decided to start from scratch.
“My generation grew up on scratch foods,” says Freese, a 1974 Burrell High School graduate. “Today’s generation has not been getting that opportunity. I think scratch cooking is healthier and more efficient.”
As the school resource officer for the Burrell School District, Lower Burrell Det. John Marhefka believes that everyone has a role in keeping the community safe. And one local business is proving that to be true in a really big way.
Hillcrest Volkswagen has provided Marhefka with a vehicle – a Volkswagen Passat – that allows him to travel between schools, attend trainings and appear at court proceedings throughout the course of the day.
Emma Hough isn’t exactly one in a million.
But statistically speaking, she’s pretty close.
The Burrell High School senior was recently named a Commended Student as part of the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. She earned the distinction by scoring among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the 2014 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, making her eligible for scholarships from businesses and corporations that are affiliated with the program.
As K-12 education evolves, the Burrell School District continues to embrace innovative approaches to learning, from a state-of-the-art adventure simulation lab at Stewart Elementary and robots at Huston Middle School to game-based learning in the high school.
Even gym class is different than it was 20 years ago.
As an officer with the Lower Burrell Police Department, Det. John Marhefka has served the community for almost two decades. This year, however, is his first in the role of School Resource Officer for the district – and he says that his job description has changed a bit.
“The School Resource Officer role requires me to wear a variety of hats – counselor, teacher, police officer and priest. It’s a job that I truly enjoy,” he says.