What SCASD Schools Are Doing To Keep Students Safe

Jun 7, 2018
More than 2,000 students walked into State College Area High School's new south building for the first time on January 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

As the school year draws to a close in State College, teachers and school officials are thinking about the recent school shootings in other cities, and how to keep students here safe. Cindy Simmons talked to some of them for WPSU.   

Penn State Child Study Center director Karen Bierman and SCASD superintendent Bob O’Donnell.
Sarah Khalida / WPSU

Bullying is an issue in K-12 schools across the country. Live on Facebook and armed with questions submitted ahead of time by parents, we talked with a school official and a researcher tackling the issue here in central Pennsylvania.

Bob O’Donnell is superintendent of the State College Area School District and Dr. Karen Bierman is director of the Child Study Center at Penn State and a professor whose 35 years of research focus on prevention programs that promote self-regulation and positive peer relations. 

You can watch the full Facebook Live interview here: 

The State College Area School District's board of directors has approved changes to the school day. The board voted 8-to-1 to lengthen the elementary school day by 44 minutes. The current day length is one of the shortest in the state, and the change is meant to give teachers more time for core instruction. Superintendent Bob O'Donnell called it "a monumental step forward, having a lasting impact on generations of our community’s youth."

The State College Area School District has proposed changes to the school day. The elementary school day would be longer, and middle and high school would start later.

To talk about these proposed changes and some of the research behind these recommendations, I’m joined in the studio by superintendent Bob O’Donnell, and Penn State researchers Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, who studies the effects of sleep on cognitive performance, and Dr. Ed Fuller, who’s Director of the Penn State Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis.    

A white sign that says Corl Street Elementary School in front of school
Talia Cowen / WPSU


 There could be a shake up in State College Area School District’s elementary schools with the new District-Wide Facilities Master Plan. Under the plan, Lemont’s K-2 elementary school will likely be repurposed, while Houserville and Radio Park are being considered for renovation or new construction projects. However, the fate of Corl Street Elementary remains less clear.