NASA TechRise Winners

NASA Awards Ephrata Middle School Students Flight Opportunity in TechRise Challenge

A group of Ephrata Middle School 7th grade students recently found out that NASA wants to fly their experiment into the stratosphere! NASA selected 60 teams for the TechRise Student Challenge, a nationwide contest designed to engage students in technology, science, and space exploration. Students across the United States gathered for a virtual presentation on Thursday, January 12, which included NASA speakers and concluded with the announcement of the winners.

The Ephrata Middle School team – Nathaniel Cole, Ryan Garman, Blake Manko, and Caplin West – created a winning proposal that aims to measure changes in ultraviolet and thermal radiation and their impact on the ozone layer. The goal of the experiment is to show how much the ozone layer matters to the survival and capability of life on this planet.

The team will receive $1,500 to design, build, and prepare their payload for flight with close guidance from a NASA mentor during regular virtual meetings.  Student experiments will be tested via a high-altitude balloon flight from a commercial provider in either South Dakota or Arizona. “It is an honor for our students to be selected as a NASA TechRise winner. We are ready to work hard to make NASA TechRise and the Ephrata community proud,” shared Ephrata Intermediate/Middle School teacher Mr. Adam Zeni.

Students will experience the same process NASA technologists use before space launches. On flight day, the payloads will gather data as the balloons ascend to an altitude of approximately 70,000 feet, where they will float for at least four hours. During flight, the balloons will be exposed to the unique thermal and atmospheric environment of the stratosphere, providing conditions that cannot be replicated in ground-based tests.

The TechRise Student Challenge was open to students in grades six through 12 at American public, private, and charter schools, including those in U.S. territories. This year, winning teams include about 500 students representing 38 states and territories.

“Through opportunities like the TechRise Student Challenge, young people are deepening their passion in science and technology, preparing to be the future innovators and pioneers who help humanity soar to new heights and unlock more secrets of the universe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“Congratulations to our team of students! What an exciting opportunity for students to learn about high-altitude balloon flights and to engage in the design process with engineers. We are so proud of their hard work to create a winning proposal, and we look forward to seeing them turn their project into a reality,” concluded Dr. Peter Kishpaugh, Ephrata Middle School Principal.

A full list of winning teams and more information on the challenge is available on the TechRise website.

Districtwide Back To School Info


Revisions have been made to the District Health & Safety Plan, which includes the most recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.  In alignment with this guidance, the District will no longer be conducting contact tracing; masking will remain optional.  Families are encouraged to contact their school nurse with any specific questions.



New school meal prices are listed below, as free meals are no longer being provided by the USDA.

  • Elementary:  Breakfast $1.50, Lunch $2.70
  • EIMS:  Breakfast $1.80, Lunch $2.90
  • EHS:  Breakfast $1.80, Lunch $3.25

Additionally, the District will be utilizing a new point-of-sale system, SchoolCafe. Families can deposit money electronically, set up low balance alerts, view transactions, apply for free or reduced meals, and more.  Directions and more information on the new system is available on the District website and have been emailed to families.  Any questions should be directed to Marti Rhoads at or 717-721-1400 X 11302.



Renovations will soon be completed at Ephrata High School, including the construction of a building addition, new tennis courts, and a full HVAC system replacement.  The improvements include increased space for the music and theatre programs and the relocation of Project Build A Better Future, EVA Studio, and the Student Support Services Department.  Students were engaged in design reviews and provided input regarding many of the final finishes, including keyboard-inspired flooring in the music areas.  Lastly, the new HVAC system will utilize higher efficiency equipment at lower energy costs to improve the indoor air quality through increased ventilation and filtration.



For over 10 years, EVA has offered virtual instruction identical to cyber charter programs, including on-demand (asynchronous) instruction and optional scheduled live teacher support.  New this year, the variety and number of virtual course offerings have increased to four different online learning providers.  Additionally, EVA features regular teacher check-ins, live-help via online tutors available during the school day, and weekly teacher office hours. Plus, EVA students also receive:

  • Computer & software
  • Local Contact Person
  • Ephrata High School Diploma
  • Mounts Tech Support
  • Opportunity to participate in EASD electives on-site, sports, music, art, theater, & more
  • Life Ready Graduate Certification Eligibility 
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Lancaster County CTC
  • Special Education Services

 For more information on EVA, please contact Ronald Wales at or 717-721-1150, extension 19505.



When students are absent, parents/guardians are encouraged to send email excuses to improve the efficiency of this communication.  Attendance emails for each school are listed below.



The District is implementing two new positions – Student Engagement Facilitators – who will work cooperatively with various stakeholders to develop, promote, execute, and maintain successful programs and environments that promote student voice, engagement, and belonging.  Through student collaboration, program/environment assessment, curriculum implementation, professional learning, and community outreach, the Student Engagement Facilitators will help create and improve the sense of belonging experienced by ALL students by informing decisions at every level – from classroom to District Office – with the student voice and perspective.



The District continues to grow collaborative, community projects called Cornerstones across every grade level to create real world connections and enhance students’ Life Ready Graduate skills & dispositions. Every thematic unit is unique to the grade level, including second-graders learning about the community, eighth-graders creating their own start-up businesses, and high school students addressing the questions, “What makes me tick” and “How do I design my future?” Many opportunities are available for community involvement. Please contact Caryn Andes for more information at



The EHS Internship & Co-op Program pairs juniors and seniors who wish to participate in a career-related learning experience with area businesses allowing students to learn and apply skills authentically in a real-world setting. For more information or to offer an internship or co-op experience for EHS students, please contact Michele Myers at 717-721-1478, extension 19207 or



Please visit the to view all current employment vacancies.  Additionally, a variety of substitute opportunities are available.



Ephrata Area School District was recently recognized by The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) as one of 13 national Lighthouse school districts.  Lighthouse districts serve as models of positive change in public education and are engaged in learning, networking, and working together to help drive education policy and ultimately improve student learning.  According to AASA, these districts are “exemplary educational systems that serve as beacons of light in key areas of the holistic redesign of American education.” Learn more at


New 2022-23 Meal Prices

2022-2023 Breakfast & Lunch Prices

  Breakfast Lunch
Elementary $1.50 $2.70
Intermediate/Middle $1.80 $2.90
High School $1.80 $3.25
Reduced Price $0.00 $0.40
Milk $0.60 $0.60


CLICK HERE for more information and resources from the EASD Food Service Department.