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January 2018
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Tradition of Excellence Continues

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

BSD Introduces Innovative Approach to Learning

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.

BSD Has the Recipe for a Healthy and Efficient Lunch… Start from Scratch.

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.”

Hillcrest VW Donates Vehicle for DARE Program

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.

BSD Student Receives National Recognition

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.

BSD Introduces Innovative Approach to Learning

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.

Veteran LBPD Officer has new role at BSD

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.

We Have Added to the BSD Family

There are some new faces around the Burrell School District this school year, from Bon Air and Stewart elementary schools to Huston Middle School and the high school. Here’s a look at the staff members who’ve joined the district for the 2014-15 school year.


Allison Heberling

Position: Elementary Art Teacher, Bon Air and Stewart

Hometown: Lower Burrell

Using Games to Learn at BSD

The new school year is right around the corner, and if you ask Dawn Lovic, that means one thing: Let the games begin.

Lovic, who’s taught in the Burrell School District for well over a decade, will be leading a classroom focused on game-based learning for the second year in a row.

What’s game-based learning?

BHS Show Choir — Back by Popular Demand!

Kathy Grabigel spent more than 30 years performing, from community theater productions to one-woman shows, before having a son and taking on her most important role: working mom.

But she may saved her best performance for this past spring, when she stepped in to lead the Burrell High School show choir. In a matter of weeks, Grabigel guided a group of 26 students through four rehearsals that culminated with a rousing performance at the annual Alle-Kiski Show Choir Festival.

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