Giant "Lite Brite" benefits Special Needs Students

October 6, 2017

A new light board promises to make life a little brighter for students with special needs at Penn Hills Elementary School.

 

The lighted rectangular board looks a lot like a giant version of the popular children's toy Lite-Brite. It's 4 feet tall and 8 feet long with holes that light up colored pegs as they are plugged into the board.

Christine Stupakis, the district's occupational therapist, said the students can make shapes, letters and other pictures with the pegs.

 

She called it a welcome addition to the school's sensory space — an area with equipment designed to help students focus. The elementary's sensory space has a trampoline, swing and a desk with a sandbox. “A sensory space in a school is a room for children to go to calm their nervous systems,” Stupakis said. “We have a lot of students that are sensitive to noise, sensitive to light, visual distractions and things like that. We want this space to be a place where they can cool down a little bit and get back to class and be a student.”

 

Penn Hills Elementary has approximately 350 special needs students, and about 100 use the equipment.

 

Kindergartner Alex Nabors, 5, was one of the first students to try the light board. His face lit up with a smile as he moved the pegs on the board. He said his favorite color is green.

 

“We are very excited about the donation of the light board,” said Darren Kennedy, director of special education. “With this equipment, our special needs students at the elementary will have the opportunity to be challenged in a positive way, expanding their abilities and enhancing their overall educational experience.”

 

The board was given to the school by its busing company, Krise Transportation. Owner Tim Krise said he saw the board at a conference a few years ago and purchased one for about $4,000.

 

“I thought it would be a great thing to put into a classroom,” Krise said. “It's something a school would not normally have the money for.”  Krise said he intends to purchase more light boards for the other districts his company serves.

“It's our way of giving back, because schools are strapped for funding right now,” Krise said. “It's all about the kids. Anything we can do to help, we're going to try and do.”

Christmas Donations benefit 45 Families

December 20, 2017

Krise Transportation during the last month collected Christmas gifts to help make the holiday a little merrier for 45 families in the Penn Hills School District.

The inaugural drive was called “Pack a Bus,” because enough toys were collected to fill a school bus. The company, owned by Tim Krise, provides transportation services to the district.

 

The company was able to collect enough toys to provide several gifts to each child in the selected families. Krise also gave money so additional toys could be purchased and the company owner donated turkeys for the families to serve during the holidays.

 

Other donors included: company drivers and staff; teachers and other school district workers; the Fireman's Club in Verona; Chief Devin Cummings and crew at Penn Hills Volunteer Fire Department 221; Trinity Tower United Methodist Church and numerous other members of the community.

School Bus Video on Safe Riding & Loading Practice

September 4, 2017

Watch this  Video on YouTube  for a joint collaboration of the Penn Hills School District and Krise Transportation created for students and parents alike.

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