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2019-2020: What's New at a Glance
There will be a number of new programs, curriculum changes, and buildings and grounds improvements when the Fox Chapel Area School District opens its doors for the 2019-2020 school year.
- The first day of school for students for the 2019-2020 school year is Thursday, August 22, 2019.
- The projected enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year is 3,985 students.
- The district’s Web site is www.fcasd.edu. The district’s phone number is 412/963-9600.
- The Fox Chapel Area School District will be getting a redesigned website. The site will enable better communication with parents/guardians and district residents. The website will be easier to navigate, and pertinent information will be readily available. The site is slated to go live prior to the start of the school year. The athletics website is also being revamped.
- Student lunch prices in the Fox Chapel Area School District for the 2019-2020 school year will be $2.85 daily for secondary students and $2.55 daily for elementary students. Students eligible for a reduced-priced lunch will pay 40 cents daily at both the elementary and secondary levels. Breakfast for elementary and secondary students will be $1.35 daily. Students eligible for a reduced-price breakfast will pay 30 cents daily. The price of milk will be 75 cents.
- The Fox Chapel Area School District Special Education Department will be expanding the Best Buddies program to have an official kindergarten-grade 12 program during the 2019-2020 school year. The district will expand by adding its first elementary chapter at Hartwood Elementary School, and then expand to the other elementary buildings throughout the school year. This program will foster inclusion and understanding of students with different abilities. The district has had a Best Buddies program for 12 years at the high school and six years at Dorseyville Middle School, but will now have an official districtwide chapter.
- The parking lot at O’Hara Elementary School is being repaved and the school is also getting new exterior lighting. O’Hara Elementary and Fox Chapel Area High School are getting new sidewalks.
- Kerr Elementary School students will start the school year in a brand new school. The new Kerr Elementary was built on the same property as the former Kerr and construction began in June of 2018. The new school features innovative learning spaces where students will gather to work on projects, conduct research, collaborate, and plan. This includes a collaboratory that will house the library, a makerspace, a SMALLab learning space, and a computer science robotics lab. The new Kerr will also host the district’s new Pre-Kindergarten program, as well as the new Spanish Immersion pilot program. The cost of the new school will be approximately $21 million.
- The Fox Chapel Area School District is starting a new full-day Pre-Kindergarten program for 4-year-olds to better prepare them for school. The Pre-Kindergarten program will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Kerr Elementary School and will follow the district’s calendar. The five-day-a-week schedule is designed to promote positive approaches to learning, including a supportive classroom environment; strengthening social, emotional, and behavioral skills; and working collaboratively with families. Children enrolled in the program were required to meet income eligibility requirements.
- The district is implementing a new Spanish Immersion pilot program that will be offered to one class of first-graders. The class will include 25 incoming first-graders from throughout the district who will be bused to Kerr Elementary. The students will spend the majority of their school day listening, speaking, and learning core subjects in Spanish as 80 to 100 percent of the instruction will be provided in Spanish. Special classes, such as art, music, and gym will be in English, as will lunch and recess. Once the first-graders enrolled in the initial Spanish Immersion class become second-graders, a new first-grade class will begin, and, eventually, the program will be first grade through fifth grade. The program is the first of its kind in Western Pennsylvania.
- In addition to serving second-grade students throughout the district, this year, the Fox Chapel Area School District’s Mobile Fab Lab will enhance the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum for first-grade students as well. The Mobile Fab Lab aims to increase exposure to STEAM concepts, focusing on engineering concepts and exploratory learning.
- Dorseyville Middle School students in grades six-eight will use a new textbook series for social studies classes with enhanced learning materials. The text includes a digital learning platform that gives the students access to a variety of ways of learning the material.
- Dorseyville Middle School and Fox Chapel Area High School students enrolled in Latin, French, and German classes will use a new textbook series that includes digital materials to enhance student learning.
- Fox Chapel Area High School will launch the new and improved College and Career Essentials course. The course, which is now required for high school juniors, will better adhere to the state college and career readiness standards. The course will expose students to a variety of postsecondary options, teach interviewing skills, and address personal strengths and learning styles to connect students to a career. The postsecondary options include colleges, trades, other careers, and, in general, success after high school.
- Students at the high school have been able to enroll, free of charge, in the Fox Chapel Area Online (FCAO) keyboarding/information processing course. This past year, in addition to keyboarding awareness/typing instruction in computer science class, it was also infused into fifth grade to bolster our students’ typing efficiency. In an effort to enhance these skills, the district is opening the FCAO keyboarding/information processing class to DMS students (also free of charge) to take as a noncredit elective.
- Dorseyville Middle School eighth-grade students interested in computer science will be able to take the new Intro to Python or Python classes. In both courses, students will explore the Python programming language. The curriculum will allow them to enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and build on concepts they learned in the newly renamed CS Game Design (formerly called Computer Science 7), a unified arts course for all seventh-graders.
- Dorseyville Middle School eighth-graders will also be able to take Music Production and Careers 8, a new course that will introduce students to music technology and production, as well as expose them to other non-performance career options.