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GJSD board honors three ABCD Award winners

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education recently honored three Above and Beyond the Call of Duty, or ABCD Award winners within the district.

Congratulations were extended to: Judy Swatt, high school special education teacher; second-grade teacher Kim Park; and Johnstown Junior-Senior High School Principal Scott Hale.

“On behalf of our entire board, congratulations to all three recipients,” said board President Christopher Tallon. “It is very well deserved.”

It was noted that Swatt’s “kindness and generosity” extends out to the community.

Park was described as a “truly compassionate and caring educator.”

Hale was described as someone who goes out of his way for the welfare of all the school’s students. He also was described as someone who has “an amazing ability to stay positive.”

Swatt told the board she is part of a team that also deserves credit, adding “I’m very honored.”

Park offered congratulations to the other three ABCD Award winners.

“Our passion drives us and its so wonderful to be recognized and it is teamwork,” she said.

Hale said that as a principal it is an “honor” for him to help those in the community.

In another congratulations segment of the meeting, Nicole Panton announced that the grades 6-8 and 9-12 in the Johnstown district were selected for an Amazon Future Engineers School.

She said Johnstown was one of 2,000 school systems nationwide chosen for sponsorship next school year, and Warren Street Elementary School and JJSHS will participate.

“This is a computer science curriculum we’ll be receiving,” Panton said. “Our teachers will be receiving professional development.”

Through this Amazon program, Panton said Johnstown students will be able to earn scholarships, and teachers can earn extra money.

Some of the curriculum will include: grades 6-7: Computer Science Exploration sequence; Computer Science Fundamentals for high schoolers next year; and AP Computer Science Principles; and AP Computer Science.

Panton said some of the program will start in the spring with planning. She said the program will launch officially in September and the program could continue into future years.

“We will be able to continue this as long as we are in compliance with the sponsorships,” Panton said.

She said the Warren Street part of the program may be done during media time, and the JJSHS component may require additional staffing.

“They highly recommend collaboration as much as possible,” Panton said.

Board member Joseph LoDestro commented, “I think this is a tremendous opportunity for the district and the students.”

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