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GJSD, Cambria County Child Development tie city’s history to new pre-K program
Neighborhood schools will carry names of Johnstown's 19th century industrial leaders Moxham, Morrell
In June, the school district announced it would transfer operation of the pre-K program to Cambria County Child Development Corporation, a move that will enable Greater Johnstown School District to retain $1.6 million over the next five years. No teachers or instructors will be furloughed as a result of the change, and every teacher previously teaching pre-K will be put in positions within the school district in early childhood education, where those teachers are certified.
In the weeks since the announcement, the school district has worked diligently to prepare two buildings that will be used for the pre-K program. The Moxham Neighborhood School will be located at a former parochial school site on Park Avenue in Moxham. The Morrell Neighborhood School will be located on Power Street in Cambria City, also at a former parochial school.
Orientation for the upcoming academic year will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 19, beginning at 2 p.m. at both the Moxham and Morrell locations.
The buildings will use the names of two important men in Johnstown’s history.
Arthur J. Moxham was the president of the Johnson Steel Rail Company, whose rolling mills and iron works were among the most extensive in the country during the 19th century. Daniel J. Morrell was the general manager of Cambria Iron Works, a forerunner to Bethlehem Steel. The Cambria Works was one of the greatest and most important steel and iron manufacturers in the United States during the 19th century.
Moxham and Morrellville, two well-known Johnstown neighborhoods, are named after the two men.
The transfer of operation of the GJSD pre-K program to Cambria County Child Development Corporation will:
· Enable the school district to retain $1.6 million over the next five years, a benefit to the district and the tax payers.
· Entail a relatively seamless transition for parents and children. The district will continue to handle enrollment through next year.
· Decrease the classroom size in foundational grades, which is beneficial to students and their teachers.
The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children details the impact programs such as Pre-Kindergarten have on young students.
“High-quality early learning programs have a social and economic return on investment that goes far beyond a child’s first years,” according to the website www.papartnerships.org. “A growing body of research shows these programs help prepare young children for school success, reduce the need for special and remedial education, increase the likelihood of high school graduation and boost the economy through increased lifetime earnings and a reduced reliance on social services.”
Greater Johnstown School District has worked closely with the CCCDC, Nutrition, Inc. and McIlwain School Bus Lines to plan for transportation.
Students will be bused to the Moxham Neighborhood School and the Morrell Neighborhood School just as they had previously been bused to East Side or West Side elementary schools. Pre-K students who formerly would have attended East Side will now attend the Moxham Neighborhood School. Those pre-K students who formerly would have attended West Side will now attend the Morrell Neighborhood School.
Of most significance, there will be no changes to the high-quality educational program at Greater Johnstown School District. The Success for All reading programs will continue for pre-K through Grade 6.
Also, by absolving the district of operating and staff costs, GJSD will be able to stretch its early childhood education budget, opening the door to a curriculum partnership with Johns Hopkins University and a two-year project researching classroom technology such as Promethean “smart” board screens to replace the traditional slate slabs.
Raymond Arcurio, Director of Federal Programs