At the March 8, 2021 Board Workshop meeting, Norwin Superintendent Dr. Jeff Taylor announced that the School District will not increase taxes next school year.
Dr. Taylor noted that District revenues are projected to be strong and that no tax increase would be necessary in June when school districts are required to adopt a final 2021-2022 budget. This would be the first budget since the 2011-2012 school year not to include a tax increase.
Norwin is already one of the lowest-taxing districts in Westmoreland County and delivers an excellent return on investment for residents. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Norwin also has the lowest cost-per-student ratio among southwestern Pennsylvania districts, and is also ranked as the 15th-highest for academic performance out of 105 southwestern Pennsylvania school districts.
Dr. Taylor also noted several examples in which the District is “Doing More With Less” to maintain its quality academic programs and services while increasing revenue through grant funding, donations, partnerships, advertising, and sponsorships.
- To view a digital copy of Dr. Taylor's presentation, click here.
- To view a video of Dr. Taylor's presentation, click here.
Increased In-Person Learning for Students
Dr. Taylor outlined his plan for providing additional in-person learning for Norwin students. As part of this, the Board approved revisions to the District's Health and Safety Plan with a new schedule of additional in-person learning.
Additional in-person learning will follow this schedule:
- Thursday, March 11, 2021: Hillcrest Intermediate School and Norwin Middle School students will begin four days of in-person instruction.
- Friday, March 19, 2021: All K-12 students will return to five days of instruction. This is also the first day of the 4th quarter.
This continues the District’s phased approach to increasing the amount of in-person instruction in a safe and effective manner as local COVID-19 cases decline. Recently, K-4 students and seniors have returned to in-person learning for four days each week. Phases can be accelerated or delayed based on COVID-19 transmission data. The Norwin Online Academy will remain an option for K-12 students.
Free Academic Recovery Summer Camps
Dr. Taylor announced several free academic recovery summer camps that will be available, including:
- K-8 Summer Camps for ELA and Mathematics
- Three sessions – Students can enroll in multiple sessions
- Both half-day and full- day camps available (based on student needs)
- 9-12 Summer Boot Camps
- SAT Boot Camps
- Keystone Exam Boot Camps
Thanks to grant funding, these are available for FREE and at no cost to taxpayers.
2021-2022 Educational Initiatives
Dr. Taylor also outlined several ways in which the School District will improve student learning next school year, including creating a new “STEM and Innovation Lab” at Hillcrest Intermediate School, free academic recovery summer camps, expanding the District’s 1:1 technology initiative, and decreasing class size.
Creating a new “STEM and Innovation Lab”: A new “STEM and Innovation Lab” will be created at Hillcrest Intermediate School. The School District will be converting the large project room into a modern, high-tech STEM and Innovation-focused lab. The costs associated with renovations, equipment, and supplies will paid for completely out of grants, donations, and local partnerships.
Expansion of the 1:1 initiative (1:World): Currently, all K-6 students have an iPad. Next year, the School District plans to expand this to include all K-12 students. There are several academic, logistical, and financial benefits to this expansion. These benefits include:
- Academic Benefits:
- Personalized learning; elimination of the digital divide
- Financial Benefits:
- Significant cost reductions in paper, printer toner, and many paper-based resources, including some textbooks
- Logistical Benefits:
- No More Snow Days (up to 5 per year)
- Flexible Instructional Days application through the Pa. Dept. of Education
Personnel Planning: Dr. Taylor also addressed District planning to decrease class sizes across Norwin K-4 Schools and to increase instructional technology support in 2021-2022.