Monessen School District is ushering in the start of the 2019-2020 school year with several new initiatives.

During the monthly meeting of the Monessen school board on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Leanne Spazak gave an overview of what students can expect in the coming months.

According to Dr. Spazak, the district will be partnering with Seneca Valley School District this year to bring a cyber program to Monessen students. She said the district will achieve a substantial cost savings by partnering with Seneca Valley for the cyber program.

In addition, Monessen School District’s STEM program will introduce a gaming class this coming year.

“In previous years, we rolled out robotics and coding courses, which were all well received by the students,” said Dr. Spazak. “We’re expecting an equally great response for the gaming class. We are grateful to Arcelor Mittal, which has donated more than $50,000 to our district for STEM-related initiatives.”

The district also hired Ryan Caldwell as middle school/high school Spanish teacher, K. Adam Kmetz as elementary guidance counselor, Ashley Dreistadt as middle school language arts learning support teacher and Christian Sirnic as middle school/high school science teacher.

“We are fortunate to be bringing in such a dedicated group of staff,” said Dr. Spazak. “What struck me is how excited these individuals are to be joining our district.”

Monessen will begin the school year on Aug. 29. The school year will end on June 11, with graduation slated for June 12. Signup for kindergarten will take place 5-7 p.m. Aug. 20 and 21.

In other business, the council:

= Accepted the resignation of Bailey DeTesta as middle school/high school Spanish teacher, Jennifer Costanza as elementary school guidance counselor, Carlee Wickstrom as middle school language arts learning support teacher, Amy Ashiq as a classroom aide and William Teets as middle school/high school science teacher.

= Accepted a one-year proposal from Snapshot 47 to provide photography services for the district.

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