Hamburg administrators introduce STEM initiatives, directors vote on new Tilden principal

Hamburg Area administrators introduced school directors to the district’s STEM initiatives for the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 11, .

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

By focusing on these subjects, students will be better prepared to succeed as part of the workforce of the future, according to high school Principal Chris Spohn.

Statistics show a significant increase in jobs in these areas.

Dr. Elizabeth Lambi told school directors that Pennsylvania is ranked seventh in the country for STEM jobs and that at least 8.6 million STEM jobs will exist in the country by 2018.

With science labs being built for the district’s two elementary schools, students in those schools will be introduced to more science concepts than in previous years.

“Practices start in kindergarten for science and engineering,” Lambi said. “It sounds far-fetched, but (first graders) can learn and understand terminology.”

In middle school, students will study robotics and will sketch, design and build wind vehicles, Lambi said.

In high school, an environmental science course with a focus on Appalachian forest ecology and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary will be introduced.

“We want to capitalize in the field, getting out to do research,” Lambi said. “Things not traditionally taught in science class.”

Spohn told school directors about the Engineer Design Academy which has 48 ninth-grade students enrolled.

Plans also include contacting local businesses for ideas and real-world problems to work on, which may lead to job opportunities or internships for students, Spohn said.

In other news, School directors voted, 5-0, to hire Lacie Cucciuffo as principal at Tilden Elementary Center at a salary of $101,000 at a date to be determined.

Cucciuffo previously was the elementary principal at Schuylkill Valley, according to Superintendent Steven Keifer.

In other news, school directors agreed to put the former Upper Bern elementary school up for auction at a date to be determined.

There has been no interest and an agreement with the township never came to fruition, according to Keifer.

The next meeting of school directors is Monday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the James A. Gilmartin Community Room.