Back to School Cocalico School board and administration talk about what’s new for the 2013-14 year

By on August 21, 2013



, Staff Writer

While students enjoyed a summer of fun in the sun, administration and staff, along with the school board at Cocalico School District, worked diligently to improve technology and safety measures for the district.

Cocalico School District welcomes back its students on Monday, Aug. 26.

New faces will also be seen at the district as the board approved new administration and staff positions during the Aug. 19 meeting.

Kent Sweigart, director of technology services at Cocalico noted that summer was the technology department’s busiest time during a presentation to the board. They updated hardware and software, replaced laptops for the staff and added more security cameras. The department also updated Blackboard, an emergency notification system to the latest version. Powerschool, a student, parent and teacher information site that staff utilizes for grade recording and attendance, was also given an overhaul.

The technology department added a new staff member to help with handheld devices, projectors, replacements and new additions.

"The technology staff are the experts that made all this possible," said Sweigart commending the department for the work completed over the summer.

Dave Lutz, head of the department of transportation also gave a report on this year’s changes in transportation. Lutz acknowledged the Brightbill company, who replaced the district’s older buses. Fifteen of the 46 buses are brand new, making all the buses 2012 or newer, a 32 percent increase from last year. Seven digital cameras were also installed into buses. Some routes were reduced and three positions were eliminated – all of which were substitute positions that were not refilled this year.

"The department of transportation and Mr. Lutz do a nice job all year long," said Bruce Sensenig, superintendent. "We have a great busing and transportation system."

Sensenig asked the principals of each school to report on improvements and accomplishments that were made at their school for the new year.

Tabitha Haldeman, principal at Reamstown Elementary recognized the return of the Pre-K Counts program as her school’s biggest accomplishment. The grant was awarded to Reamstown in July.

"Kudos to Mrs. Musser and Allison Ohline, who worked hard to enroll students," said Haldeman.

Denver principal Angela Marley talked about the new staff, including assistant principal Crystal Loose. The school will also introduce a new math program that was approved by the board a few months ago.

The security cameras were the biggest upgrades at the middle school, according to principal Stephen Melnick. The advisory team, summer programs and meet and greets for new students were also among the school’s biggest accomplishments.

Chris Irvine, Cocalico’s high school principal was proud of both his students and staff for Keystone exam scores.

"The kids did great and the teachers worked hard," added Irvine. Irvine also welcomed two new high school assistant principals, Christine Gehring and Anthony DiMatteo and recognized Whitney Seltzer, the school’s newly appointed athletic director and assistant principal.

"She is doing a fantastic job. I couldn’t be happier," he said. He also touched on the addition of cameras and renovations that took place this summer. Irvine was also pleased with the summer school programs, and new reading and math programs and new laptops.

"It was a busy summer, but everything went really well," said Irvine.

Assistant principal at the middle school, Brian Testa gave a short presentation on safety training that he, Nathan Van Deusen, Adamstown’s principal and Whitney Seltzer took part in over the summer.

"We need to provide our students with a safe and secure environment for them to learn in," said Testa. "Schools have to be safe. All schools, not just Cocalico." Testa explained the A.L.I.C.E (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) training program in which staff and students try to take control of a school intruder by securing classrooms, locking rooms, staying informed, empowering people to survive and finally evacuating.

"It’s preventative," added Testa. "It’s goal is to empower people." Testa, Seltzer and Van Deusen will provide A.L.I.C.E training to other staff members.

Also approved at the board meeting for the 2013-14 school year:

Treasure’s report with an ending balance of $7,239,063.73

Invoices in the amount of $460, 477.61

Capital Project Fund account register in the amount of $198,113.77, which includes the Adamtown roof and HVAC system and CCTV

Special education supplemental contracts

Bus schedules, drivers and contracts

Student handbooks

Staff to attend workshops, conferences and programs

Students to participate in district/state competitions and other school-sponsored activities

Crystal Loose, Denver Elementary assistant principal and Christine Gehring and Anthony DiMatteo, high school assistant principals, as district attendance officers

The resignation of elementary teacher Carrie-Anne Henry, who will be replaced by Brynn Adams

Sabbatical leave for Stacy Slaymaker

Erika Jenkins and Kelly Cherrie as long-term substitutes

Resignations for Katherine Hughes, Patti Johns and Laura Bowman

Supplemental contracts for Brynn Adams, junior high assistant field hockey coach; Erin Ruth, varsity assistant cheerleading coach; Elizabeth Brenner, National Honor Society; Ann Ginder, teacher mentor; Melissa Stanchek, teacher mentor and Hollie Kemper, teacher mentor.

Support staff: Carla Burkman, Kimberly Thorp, Kelly Horning, Krista Kiehl, Elizabeth Nye

Event sport worker, volunteer coach and one substitute teacher

More COCALICO, page A11

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