Armstrong School District Newsletter 1Q24


Armstrong Students Excel In Service Through the State's Largest Leo Club

Armstrong School District students have earned a special reputation for their drive to serve and lead through the Armstrong River Hawks Leo Club, a youth service organization sponsored by the Lions Club.

More than 250 Armstrong Junior/Senior High School students serve in the Leo Club, the largest in Pennsylvania. Many of the Leo members hosted the school's annual Magical Night With Santa in December, the third year for the popular holiday event created by the club. Leos set up and operated more than a dozen drive-through stations around the school for families to visit in their cars. Each station features a treat, toy, craft, or performance for the families, with a visit from Santa through the car window serving as the final stop.

There is no charge to attend the event, although families are asked to bring an unwrapped gift for the annual Salvation Army Toy Drive. This year, the school collected more than 1,000 toys.

The Leo Club is part of the Lions International organization, offering resources, mentoring, and learning opportunities to the youth clubs. Gregg Hedglin, an AHS teacher and Ford City Lions Club member, is a co-sponsor of the AHS club, along with Erin Burkett, a 9th-grade English teacher who has served as an advisor since the club was established in 2015.

"The club is a good fit for many types of students," Burkett said. "We focus on being inclusive and understand that our members often have many other obligations." 

Students appreciate the no-pressure environment of the club, she said. "Most members find that they really enjoy serving and therefore continue to sign up to participate with opportunities. We have excellent student leaders in our officer roles, which is also a big reason why so many students want to join," Burkett said.

The AHS club has earned high praise, including having six students identified as "Leo of the Year" in the district and receiving the prized Leo Club Excellence Award in 2017. 

The AHS club also supports a number of other events and activities, including the fundraiser talent show known as the River Hawk Revue, a school-wide food drive with Life Skills classes, Thanksgiving Meal Prep/Distribution with Christmas for Kids Foundation, an annual egg hunt for local families each Spring, and an annual yearbook for four Life Skills classes at AHS.

"Many of our Leo members work one-on-one with students in these classes and participate in many of their activities/elective classes with them," Burkett said.

Armstrong School

District Audit Update

We are pleased to announce that the auditing firm of Hosac, Specht, Muetzel & Wood LLP has successfully completed the local audit for the fiscal year ending June 30. Throughout the auditing process, the financial records and internal controls of the district were thoroughly examined. 

A comprehensive analysis was completed to ensure the accuracy and fairness of the financial statements. We take this opportunity to inform the public that the audit was executed in strict accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and complied with all relevant legislation and regulations.

The General Fund, which had initially budgeted revenues of $104,617,536, exceeded expectations by collecting $108,013,641 in revenue. This positive difference of $3,396,105 can be attributed to more state revenues being collected than anticipated. Specifically, the district received higher amounts from basic education and special education subsidies and retirement contributions reimbursement. Additionally, the district continued to receive funding through ESSER Grants, further boosting revenue.

Also, the district experienced a significant increase in investment income compared to the previous year. The investment income rose by $817,719, with a total of $929,634 generated through the timely investment of district funds. This increase in investment income can be attributed to the rise in interest rates during the fiscal year.

On the expenditure side, the General Fund had initially budgeted $105,835,971 for expenditures. However, the actual expenditures for the year amounted to $107,846,557, resulting in the district overspending its budget by $2,010,586. The primary reason for this overspending was a one-time transfer of $2,500,000 to the construction fund. This transfer aimed to fund a portion of the West Hills Primary Renovation Project. Had this transfer not been made, the district would have remained under budget by $489,414. It is important to note that the district also incurred expenses related to the utilization of ESSER Grants, which must be fully utilized by June 30, 2024.

Despite the overspending, the General Fund's Fund Balance showed a positive increase of $167,084 compared to the previous year. At the end of the fiscal year, the Fund Balance amounted to $18,194,828, exceeding the projected balance of $16,809,309 by $1,385,519.

This audit report reflects the Armstrong School District's commitment to financial management and transparency. By surpassing revenue expectations and effectively managing expenses, the district has demonstrated its ability to navigate financial challenges while still maintaining a healthy Fund Balance. These positive financial results bode well for the district's ability to continue providing high-quality education to its students.

Looking ahead, the Armstrong School District will continue to prioritize fiscal responsibility and identify opportunities for revenue growth while carefully managing expenditures. As the district moves forward, it will remain mindful of the need to utilize the remaining ESSER Grants by their designated deadline fully.

In conclusion, the Armstrong School District has reported a positive audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023. With revenues surpassing expectations and an increase in the Fund Balance, the district has demonstrated its ability to manage its finances effectively. By remaining committed to financial planning and management, the Armstrong School District is well-positioned for continued success in providing an excellent education for its students.

The Armstrong School District Free Community Holiday Meal: Spreading Joy and Goodwill

The holiday season is a time of joy, giving, and coming together as a community. In December, the Armstrong School District organized a remarkable event that perfectly embodied these sentiments - the Free Community Holiday Meal. This initiative, spearheaded by Meredith Bailey, the Food Service Director, and Jennifer Lentz, the Food & Nutrition Administrative Assistant, aimed to bring holiday cheer and a delicious meal to community members in need.

The Armstrong School District has always been committed to developing strong relationships with its community. Ms. Bailey and Ms. Lentz, along with a team of dedicated staff members and volunteers, worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event. 

The Free Community Holiday Meal was so much more than just a gathering for a meal. It was an opportunity for individuals and families to connect with one another and forge new friendships. The district went above and beyond to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone felt a sense of belonging.

One of the highlights of the Free Community Holiday Meal was the spirit of generosity that permeated the event. The Armstrong School District collaborated with local businesses and organizations to provide attendees with additional gifts and giveaways. From holiday gift baskets to supermarket vouchers, the community rallied to ensure that everyone felt the season's true spirit.

The Free Community Holiday Meal organized by the Armstrong School District was an embodiment of the true spirit of the holiday season. It brought together individuals of all backgrounds, providing them with a memorable experience and a sense of community. Through dedication and generosity, the event showcased the power of coming together and spreading joy when needed the most.

Kindergarten Registration

Dates are Set

Kindergarten registration is just around the corner, and it's time to start planning for your child's educational journey. To help you get started, we have provided the registration dates for each school building. Please click on the links below for more information on your specific building's registration process and to get your child registered for kindergarten. Don't miss out on securing a spot for your child in their local school. Act now to ensure a smooth transition into kindergarten!


For more information on Kindergarten 2024 Registration, click the link below for your school:

Lenape Elementary — February 20-22

West Hills Primary — February 27-29

Elderton Elementary — February 28

Dayton Elementary — March 5

Shannock Elementary — March 7

Armstrong HS is Named a

WPIAL Community Champion!

Congratulations to Armstrong for being the top contributor to the WPIAL Food Drive in Class 5A and earning the title of a 2023 WPIAL Community Champion! Their tremendous efforts resulted in a remarkable total of 10,193 meals raised through both physical and monetary donations, surpassing all other participants. As a Community Champion,

Armstrong will be honored and presented with a banner at the 2024 WPIAL Basketball Championships held at Petersen Events Center. We invite you to join us in celebrating this outstanding achievement and supporting our winning schools during halftime of the games. Further details regarding game times will be provided in the near future.

ASD’s Mental Health & Community Resource Guide

Mental health disorders in children and adolescents are described as serious changes in how children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day. It is estimated that approximately 30% of school-aged children will experience a behavioral, mental, or developmental condition in any given year.

Our Mental Health & Community Resource Guide contains resources for parents, educators, and professionals serving children and youth in school and community settings. 

Source PA Department of Education


181 Heritage Park Drive, Suite 2

Kittanning, PA 16201

Phone: (724) 548-7200