Throughout the Commonwealth, Intermediate Units are serving their communities and students. Check out recent media stories about IUs:
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On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, a new board member orientation was organized by Schuylkill Intermediate Unit (IU29) and held at the Schuylkill Technology Center (STC) with newly elected board members from the 12 school districts.
The orientation was an idea shared during a superintendent meeting last month. The event included a guest speaker, Joshua Ott, Lead Pastor of Grace Free Church, who shared a message about the value of community service for the benefit of Schuylkill County students. Scott Jacoby, Board President of IU29/STC and Schuylkill Haven Area School District, shared about his experiences over his 38 years as a board member in the county. In addition, Dr. Gregory Koons, IU29 Executive Director, and Shannon Brennan, Director of CTE, provided an overview of the programs and services provided by IU29 and STC. “We are very grateful for our board members who have stepped up to advocate for students throughout Schuylkill County”, said Gregory Koons.
The event provided an opportunity for new board members to learn about their new roles, network with other colleagues, and support a shared vision for student advocacy. The responsibilities of school board directors have become increasingly challenging throughout the pandemic and the participants were complimented on rising to the challenge in front of them.
“This was a great opportunity to network with other school districts and develop relationships with fellow-board members and administrators. Words cannot express the gratitude we should all feel for the men and women willing to volunteer time and energy to serve their neighbors, friends, and most importantly the students within that community. Knowing that every decision made will have a lasting impact on the stakeholders within the hometowns we serve requires a certain bravery and commitment to doing what’s right, even when it’s not popular,” said Dr. Shawn Fitzpatrick, Schuylkill Haven Area School District Superintendent.
The Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) is very excited to open a learning center designed and dedicated to support the growing interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities in Bucks County. The Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) Center is a bright, inviting space centrally located at One Ivybrook Blvd., Suite 150, in Warminster PA. Events and programs being offered use interactive, hands-on experiences with advanced technology equipment and computer science programs that engage attendees of all ages with endless opportunities of fun and enjoyable learning activities.
“We are very excited to be bringing STEAM programs and activities to the broader Bucks County community with the Bucks IU’s Fab Lab Center,” stated Dr. Mark Hoffman, Bucks IU Executive Director. “This amazing learning center represents the Bucks IU’s ongoing commitment to providing innovative educational opportunities for children and adults. I welcome the entire Bucks County community to join us at a future Fab Lab Center event!”
Read more and view pictures....
From Fox 43
Approximately 1,400 children will receive new coats on Monday, the CAIU said.
PERRY COUNTY, Pa. — The Capital Area Intermediate Unit announced this week it has raised $31,500 to purchase new winter coats for approximately 1,400 children in Perry County.
"A staggering number of families and children in the Capital Region live in poverty, making meeting basic needs challenging," the CAIU said in a press release. "The Capital Area Intermediate Unit’s vision of changing lives comes to fruition when given the opportunity to provide a brand new, warm coat to a child in need."
Read more at Fox 43 ...
From The Reading Eagle
Nov. 30—The last 18 months have been hard on education.
The COVID pandemic has closed schools and forced students to learn online. It has thinned already shallow pools of teaching and substitute teaching prospects.
It has forced schools to implement new protocols and invest in new equipment. It has added extra stress for both students and staff.
And dealing with all of that hasn't been cheap.
Officials from the Berks County Intermediate Unit on Tuesday hosted a pair of local state legislators, as well as representatives for three others, at its Learning Center at Lower Alsace to thank them for their financial support during the crisis and show off what that support has helped pay for.
In particular, the BCIU officials spoke about federal COVID relief funding it received through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
Opening December 2021
Building on the success of their Mobile Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory), the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) is excited to announce the opening of a Fab Lab Center in December 2021 for scheduled events and activities.
Located at One Ivybrook Blvd., Suite 150, Warminster PA, the new Fab Lab Center will expand upon the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education programs the Mobile Fab Lab has been bringing to the students of Bucks County since the Fall of 2019. Educators, students, and industry stakeholders will now have a unique location specially designed to support a more in-depth engagement in STEAM learning.
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On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, a kickoff event was held at IU29 with the Schuylkill County Superintendents for a newly created conference room and innovation center called “The Hub”.
The idea was spearheaded by the IU29 Leadership Team as a resource for the member school districts and community members. “The Hub is a centralized think tank promoting the new IU29 tagline of ‘Specializing in Educational Solutions for Lifelong Learners!’”, said Gregory Koons, IU29 Executive Director. “The vision is for teams of educational leaders to utilize the space to brainstorm, create, and launch district leadership efforts for the benefit of students within Schuylkill County and beyond.”
The conference space features five learning stations with wall mounted monitors and an interactive 86-inch touchscreen at the front of the room for presenting and sharing electronic media. The second-floor room, originally utilized for technology storage, was renovated over the past six months with painting of walls, new lighting, buffed floors, and new countertops.
The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit has opened digital literacy centers in three Valley counties to help adults in the region upskill their understanding of technology or just get some one-on-one, free help filling out online applications for employment.
Visitors can visit one of the computer labs to work with the CSIU’s experienced technology coaches or complete an online course.
Read more at The Daily Item...
NORRISTOWN — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey recently paid a visit to the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit's Early Learning Academy.
The academy provides early learning programs and support to hundreds of children through the federal Head Start program in Montgomery County.
Afterward, he spoke about his legislative proposal to boost funding to such centers.
"My legislative proposal to set all American children up to succeed, the Five Freedoms for America’s Children, includes the Freedom To Learn," Casey said in a statement released to the media after his visit.
"This proposal recommends an additional annual investment of $7 billion to expand affordable child care and early learning programs, an additional investment of $18 billion annually to ensure that Head Start can cover all eligible 3- to 5-year-old children and a substantial, permanent expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit which will cover up to half the cost of child care for working families," Casey said.
"Affordable, high-quality child care helps give children the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school and enables parents to work so they can support their families,” said Casey.
View photos and original article in The Mercury...
By Dr. Gregory S. Koons, Executive Director, Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29
(This Spotlight Series article on AESA is a reflective piece about the role ESAs and leaders play during times of adversity, as witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.)
The pandemic has posed numerous challenges on educational leaders, and consequently, the pressures faced have created opportunities for educators to shine brightly.
Pressure is “the application of force to something by something else in direct contact with it” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). As a resident, educator, and educational leader in rural Pennsylvania (PA), it is fitting to reference the significance of coal under pressure being forged into a diamond. In a blog post from COACT, the author states that in order to forge diamonds through fire one must have a high degree of intensity, a lot of pressure, and collective teamwork (COACT, 2021).
The pandemic has inevitably forced educational leaders to handle intense situations, withstand insurmountable pressures, and bond together through collaborative efforts.
School districts across the state could benefit from a survey that collects broadband connectivity data to help determine whether families have sufficient internet access.
The survey was created by the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units and Penn State Extension as a way to help districts across the state, including those in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, have internet-related data readily available for use in grant applications, including those like the upcoming $7.1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund.
“We want to get to the heart of the matter,” said Gregory Koons, executive director of the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit and one of the leads on the project.
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