Eye on manufacturing: Students win awards for videos

Eighth-grade students from eight local school districts created videos about local manufacturing companies to submit entries for the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest, and an awards reception was held at the Trade and Transit Centre II to highlight the videos.

Eye on manufacturing award presentation
MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Michael J. Konopski, vice president for enrollment management at Lycoming College, presents the Cool Creativity Award to Hughesville High School students, from left, Kenneth Draper, Michaella Briggs and Chase Michael during the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video awards and reception at the Trade and Transit II Centre on Tuesday night. Eighth-grade students from eight area school districts toured manufacturing facilities, interviewed employees, filmed the sites and narrated the videos that they created for the contest, which was sponsored by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, WVIA, the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming College.

The participating students toured local manufacturing facilities, and their goal was to create a documentary video about the businesses.

They interviewed employees, filmed at the facilities, narrated videos with voiceovers, used green screens, added special effects, used scene transitions

and did everything else involved with the production of their videos.

“This reception is a celebration of a first-year project here in our community that’s focusing on introducing younger students … to the possibilities of manufacturing careers here in our region,” said Jason Fink, Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce executive vice president. “We were excited about this program because unlike others, it focuses earlier in the formative years on the students here in our local schools toward rewarding, family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing sector.”

For several decades, Fink said, students have been encouraged to get degrees for high-paying, white-collar jobs in an office setting.

“Meanwhile, manufacturing has been looked down upon for dirty … low-paying jobs,” he said. “Today’s manufacturers are rewarding careers that offer a variety of challenges with good, family-sustaining wages.”

Many companies are dealing with retiring employees and need a new labor force to keep their businesses operational, he said.

“It’s cool that people came here and supported the project … It’s important to get yourself out of the classroom, get yourself into the community,” said Kris Hendrickson, director and producer of WVIA. “You have no idea how important that’s going to be in the years ahead.”

During the ceremony, four schools were acknowledged for their standout performances and received awards.

The Best Videography Award went to Montgomery Area School District, which visited M-B Cos. in Montgomery.

East Lycoming School District won the Cool Creativity Award for its video on Ralph S. Alberts Co. in Montoursville.

The People’s Choice Award had an online poll that received over 24,000 votes in a 72-hour period. The winner chosen was Sullivan County School District for its video about Dwight Lewis Lumber in Hillsgrove.

The Best Overall Award went to Montoursville Area School District, which visited Savoy Contract Furniture in Montoursville.

Additionally, four other schools participated: Williamsport Area School District visited Overhead Door Corp. in Williamsport; St. John Neumann Regional Academy visited M&M Sheet Metal in Williamsport; Jersey Shore Area School District visited PMF Industries in Williamsport; and Compass Academy visited Wirerope Works in Williamsport.

“This was very exciting for the kids. It was a lot of work. They spent every study period for about three months working on the video, so they spent a lot of time together,” said Jennifer Breneisen, the Montoursville Area School District’s adviser. “I think they developed a lot of great friendships.”

She said she was “super proud” of the students.

“It was a big learning experience for them. They had a lot to learn and a little bit of time to do that,”she said.

It was a great opportunity for students to go out and learn about what manufacturing actually is, according to David Lentz, Sullivan County School District’s adviser.

“They got to go out and see manufacturing industry and get right in there. They learned about the industry … They also learned how to produce a video. It was the first time we’ve ever done that,” he said.

He said he especially enjoyed the experience because two of the manufacturing employees the students interviewed were his former students.

“I think the students got the appreciation for the possibilities of manufacturing careers, and they got to see some older students who are currently employed in the industry,” he said. “Plus, they learned how to produce a video.”

The event was presented by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, WVIA, Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming College.

For more information, visit www.whatssocool.org/contests/central-pa/ to see the student videos.


original Article:


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STEM team’s SafeCar wins first place in competition

On Feb. 6, the Williamsport Area High School STEM team competed in the 2018 Governor’s Regional STEM Competition hosted by Penn College. Here they presented their invention called the SafeCar.


The SafeCar is a prototype vehicle the students constructed out of plywood and then painted to look like a real car. The concept of the car is to equip it with sensors to help protect children and pets from being trapped in vehicles. The temperature, pressure and infrared motion sensors are able to detect if someone is in the car. The purpose of this detection system is to be able to alert parents or pet owners if their child or pet has been left in the unsafe conditions of a hot car.

“We were definitely inspired by the all too common tragedies that you hear about in the news in relation to this issue,” explained Nina Schapell. The sensors have set conditions. If motion, sound and a temperature of greater than 95 degrees Fahrenheit is detected in the vehicle, the alert is triggered. When the sensors detect the unsafe conditions, an alert is sent to the owner’s cell phone via text message. The alert received by the owner will say, “We’ve detected high temperature, an occupant and motion in your car. Did you forget someone?” This alert is paired with the license plate of the vehicle it is being sent from so the owner knows to which car, if they own multiple, the alert pertains.

In a real-life situation, if the first alert does not result in immediate action, a second alert is sent out to the local police department along with the location of the vehicle so that a rescue team can assist. In addition to presenting their SafeCar, the team had to participate in an on-site invention task. They were given a box of materials and had to create a PowerPoint paired with a research paper with the evidence of their reasoning for their invention. “We decided to create a car that can move horizontally without human intervention,” explained Caleb Hunter. After showing excellence in all categories, the judges awarded Williamsport the first place trophy. With this win, the team advances to the state competition in Lancaster in May.

This page was created by Billtown Banner students at Williamsport Area High School

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2018 IU17 Regional Computer Fair

2018 IU17 Regional Computer Fair

The Pennsylvania Computer Fair is an annual event that highlights Pennsylvania students’ application skills and computer knowledge. Students are able to unleash their creativity, learn how to convey information more dynamically, and enhance the learning process.

This year’s regional computer fair is scheduled for May 3rd, 2018 from 8am – 3pm at Penn College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. For information on the projects, categories, rules, and times of the competition, visit our website at: www.iu17.org/technology/computer-fair/

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Today’s Weather

clear sky
15% humidity
wind: 5m/s SW
H 64 • L 63
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BLaST is proud to offer students across our area the opportunity to participate in fun, exciting and challenging STEM programs throughout the year.

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2018 STEM Design Challenge Featuring K’Nex Regional Competition

BLaST IU17 is excited to announce this years STEM Design Challenge featuring K’NEX. Click here for information, dates and registration.

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Today’s Events

Today’s Events

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Welcome to BLaST

Welcome to BLaST

Thank you for visiting IU17!

We are a group of educators and staff that are passionate about supporting the public and private schools in Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties. Take a look around and get to known us.

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Governor talks about state budget during stop at Mansfield school


MANSFIELD — Gov. Tom Wolf spoke about the budget stalemate during a visit with elementary students in the Southern Tioga School District in Mansfield on Thursday.

Incoming IU17 Executive Director, Christina Steinbacher-Reed, meets Governor Tom Wolf during his visit to the Warren L. Miller Elementary School in Mansfield.

In his visit of the area, Wolf toured Warren L. Miller Elementary School as part of a tour across the northern tier.

As for the budget, the governor gave a latest update on the stalemate while meeting in the library of the school.

“The Senate yesterday passed nonconcurrence with the House closing, so that means they’re both going to get together and work out whatever differences they have,” Wolf said. “I think we’re moving toward an agreement.”

He said he was not sure what the biggest issue was.

“The House Republicans didn’t seem to like it,” he said. “There was some disagreement there, and I think there was some concern in making sure we pay for the budget that everybody agreed to.”

He said it was important not to be too taxing to the state citizens.

“Unfortunately, what happened was by taking so long to come to the conclusion, we got a credit downgrade, which means the interest we pay on debt, school districts like this, municipalities, counties, the state … all going to pay higher interest rate,” Wolf said. “Over time, that’s going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The delayed cost is tax increase.”

He said that it involves loans.

Gov. Tom Wolf, center, shakes hands with Ashley Smith, sixth grade math teacher, during his visit to Warren L. Miller Elementary school in Mansfield on Thursday. Behind the governor, his wife, Frances Wolf, shakes hands with Nan Wilcox, reading specialist, left.

“Everybody has to borrow money, to do improvement to a school or something … if they ever have to borrow money, it’s just like personal. If your score goes down, you have to pay a higher interest rate,”he said. “That’s the same way with all these public agencies.”

As far as a resolution, Wolf said that there needs to be more attention to key issues.

“We ought to be paying attention to a lot of things. Education is key among those things,” he said. “I laid out my budget on time back in February … (I laid out) what I thought we ought to do, we ought to focus on our education, focus on our seniors, … focus on jobs, creating jobs and the opioid epidemic.”

He said it’s about finding a balance.

“I understand government can’t do too much, should not be intrusive, but it cannot do too little, either. People need things like schools,” he said. “So, the key is to figure out what that balance is. That’s what I support.”

Agreement on a budget would make things easier, according to Wolf.

“I think I’m paying attention to it, and I think most of the people in Harrisburg are paying attention …” he said. “I will manage as I have to, to make sure that we do everything we can to continue to pay attention to those things, but it would be a lot easier if we had an agreement on a budget.”

He said that there are consequences to irresponsible behaviors.

“There’s all kinds of room for debate and disagreement … but you can’t do irresponsible things,” he said.

He said he’s hoping for an agreed-on budget.

“I can manage with the assumption that we’re going to get to a budget up to Oct. 1,” he said.

As of now, he’s working under the assumption that an agreement will happen by then, and he is “hopeful and optimistic” that it will happen.

“Whatever it is, I’m going to manage the situation,” he said. “I will do the best I can to address the priorities that I think all Pennsylvanians have. Education, protecting education … protecting the options for seniors, protecting our job creation record … and finally, … to combat the opioid epidemic.”

Sam Rotella, Southern Tioga School District superintendent, said that the governor met with students in four classrooms and visited around the school.

“I think it’s humbling, and I think it’s inspiring,” Rotella said. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity not only for Southern Tioga School District and specifically this elementary school … but for our region.”

He said it was great to have the governor meet with the students and speak with them about what they were doing in class.

“There are a lot of amazing things happening, a lot of quality education happening, and it’s an opportunity to be exposed,” Rotella said.

Rotella said the students had a great time meeting with the governor.

“Some of them were in awe, and some of them are so innocent that it’s just another person visiting them,” Rotella said. “It was pretty neat.”

He said that the elementary students got a chance to feel special.

“We try to do a lot of the same things in our district, and for an elementary school, it shows us the that it is the foundational piece to education,” he said. “Kids make a lot of social, emotional decisions in this grade level, and they’re also inspired in elementary school. I think giving credence to elementary education is so important.”

The governor also visited Rynone Manufacturing, Sayre, for a discussion with Bradford County business leaders; Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport; and Embassy Powdered Metals, Emporium.

Wolf said he was also stopping to have lunch in Wellsboro on Thursday and was looking forward to seeing that area as well.

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Special Education Programs – Fiscal Training




July 10, 2017



School District Superintendents

School District Special Education Directors

Intermediate Unit Executive Directors

Intermediate Unit Special Education Directors

Charter Schools Chief Executive Officers

Charter Schools Special Education Directors



Ann Hinkson-Herrmann, Director

Bureau of Special Education


SUBJECT:      Training in Response to Recent Changes by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs


The federal Office of Special Education Programs has oversight of states’ compliance with federal special education regulations and requirements.  The Office of Special Education Programs has incorporated a component of its compliance monitoring verification visits to include a fiscal verification review.  Some components of its fiscal verification review will include a review of the use of funds for coordinated early intervening services, maintenance of effort, and general use of federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (IDEA-B) funds.


To assist the local educational agencies in working with these components of the federal on-site visits, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is providing training to familiarize special education directors and business administrators with clarifying information.  This training will address three topics:  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Fiscal Programming, Contingency Funding, and Approved Private School Electronic Management System (New Enrollment System for Approved Private Schools/Chartered Schools for the Blind and Deaf).


It is required that each school district and charter school sends participants to this training.  Because the training is highlighting the fiscal program data verifications associated with the IDEA-B fiscal reporting requirements, it is strongly recommended that the participants whom you send to this training be your special education director and business administrator.  Also, if a school district or charter school contracts for business services, its contracted business representative should attend.


Additionally, beginning November 20, 2017, PDE will accept applications for Special Education Contingency Funds for Extraordinary Expenses.  Interested local educational agencies will have until January 5, 2018 to submit applications to PDE.  The application and review process for the 2017-2018 school year will be similar to the process that has been used in previous years.  Local educational agencies are urged to send personnel who are new to the process to training at one of the sites.


Applications for the Special Education Contingency Funds are to be submitted electronically through the contingency funds request system website at https://apps.leaderservices.com/cfunds/index.asp.


Local educational agencies that have not previously used the system may request a password from Leader Services by emailing cfunds@leaderservices.com.  The local educational agency’s address will be verified and a password will be issued, along with the information regarding the primary account.


This training will be held at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) offices as well as Intermediate Units 6, 17, 24 and 26.


August 10, 2017 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Philadelphia School District (IU 26)
August 25, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon PaTTAN – Harrisburg
September 7, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon PaTTAN – East
September 14, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon Riverview IU 6
September 21, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon BLaST IU 17
October 6, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon PaTTAN – Pittsburgh
October 25, 2017 9:30 a.m. – Noon Chester County IU 24


Please register at the following link:



Any questions regarding the fiscal training should be directed to Sue Leonard, Chief, Division of Analysis & Financial Reporting, at 717.772.1114 or mleonard@pa.gov.  Questions regarding Special Education Contingency Funds for Extraordinary Expenses should be directed to Dr. Ronald O. Wells, Special Education Adviser, at 717.783.6882 or ronwells@pa.gov. Any question regarding the APSEM System should be directed to Holly Fan, at 717.346.9644, or zfan@pa.gov.   Any questions about registration should be directed to Sharon Kennedy at PaTTAN-Harrisburg, 717.901.2265, 800.360.7282 (in PA only), or skennedy@pattan.net.


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2017 PA State Computer Fair

It’s been a great two days at the 19th annual State Computer Fair at Dickinson College in beautiful Carlisle, Pennsylvania! The high school and middle school winners from our regional fair competed against students from across the state in the Digital Movie, Graphic Design, Web Page Design, Computer Fair Logo, Animation, and Programming categories. Congratulations to everyone involved!

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Everyone loves ice cream!

On Wednesday July 19, 2017, ESY concluded the program with an ice cream social! All of the students, staff, related service providers, administrators, and outside agencies enjoyed ice cream sundaes and socialization. Thank you to Wegmans, Giant Food Stores and Weis Markets for their generous donations to help us provide the ice cream, and thank you to everyone that helped make ESY a great success this summer!

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New Website Launch

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 is proud to launch it’s new website. This new format offers updated news and information, easier navigation, secure employee sections, responsive and mobile support and much more!

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a happy thanksgiving from all of us here at IU 17. Stay safe!

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The Chances Technology Can Give

The Chances Technology Can Give

Meet Abbi, a Kindergarten student from the Wyalusing School District. Abbi’ s medical needs prevent her from going to school with her sisters and attending a regular classroom. With the support of her parents, Christopher and Delicia Brown, and the Wyalusing School District, IU 17 is providing Abbi with assistive technology that allows her to experience her class from her home setting. Through the use of a Double Robotics telepresence robot, which uses iPads, an app specific to the robot, and Bluetooth & Wi-Fi connectivity, Abbi was able to attend her kindergarten orientation on Monday and join her class on the first day of school. Abbi is able to see the class, interact with her teachers and peers, and move around the room using the robot. We are so excited that we were able to help Abbi get connected to her classroom! To find out more about IU 17’s robot lease program, contact Dana Vermilya at dvermilya@iu17.org

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Welcome To IU 17

Welcome To IU 17

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Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities

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Parents & Students

We offer a wide range of services and programs for students including Early Intervention, Alternative Education, and more.

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School Districts

We offer a wide range of services for the schools we support. These include professional learning, technology, and curriculum services and more.

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