Cocalico will showcase school renovations Music instructors make ‘Smart’ choices

By on October 17, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

Boy Scout Troop 154 was honored with the prestigious Troop of Excellence Award during their annual week at Camp Bashore in late July.

Two district principals enlightened Cocalico School Board members and attendees at Monday’s meeting with the final plans for a joint open house set for Sunday. The day promises to be filled with highly anticipated additions to the district along with a touch of nostalgia.

The public is invited to visit the district’s newly renovated high school gymnasium/physical education facilities and the Denver Elementary School classroom addition at both locations Oct. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Angela Marley, Denver principal, shared that the elementary portion of the event will highlight a technology station showcasing iPads, iPods and other devices currently utilized.

"Since the building’s been there since the ’50s, a lot has changed in that time," she said. "The teachers and students will be there actually operating that equipment so that people can walk by and ask questions."

In addition to experiencing the present, visitors will also be able to get a glimpse of the past during their visit to the new elementary classroom addition, which was created to free up space formerly shared by both Denver Elementary and Cocalico Middle School.

"We have a bulletin board where people are going to be able to write their favorite memory from either Denver or the junior/senior high school," she said. "We are going to put out the old yearbooks and class pictures all the way back to the ’50s."

Also featured in Denver’s full slate of activities will be guided tours, door prizes, an alumni stand and a PTA table.

High school principal Chris Irvine was equally excited about the showcasing of the gymnasium renovations, stating that everything is coming together well.

He shared that the trophies and banners have all been moved over to the gymnasium and that student guides will be available at the high school to lead guests through the area.

"Hopefully everybody goes to the open house and then moves to the auditorium," said Irvine, referring to the concert by the high school band following the open house at 3 p.m.

Refreshments will be served in the cafeterias at both schools.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Howard Boots, Reamstown/Adamstown elementary music instructor, gave an update on SmartMusic, software which provides background accompaniment for students. It has been in use by teachers in the district through the last several years.

Reamstown Elementary School Principal Tabetha Haldeman was present with her daughter, Summer, a student at the school. Summer demonstrated as guests watched on the big screen in the meeting room how SmartMusic helps students learn.

In addition to showing pupils whether they are playing the correct notes, it can control tempo as well as store listening playlists and performances. It records the students and gives them feedback.

"SmartMusic helps students practice better," said Boots, who has been using the software since 2008.

In addition to classroom use, pupils can get a subscription for $36 a year which will allow them to practice and even read assignments at home on the Internet.

"Kids cannot hide any longer," he joked. "It has made keeping track of every student’s musical progress much easier and more meaningful."

Boots shared that instructor Robbie Trescavage started using it in fall 2010 at the high school level.

"We both have seen a marked improvement in the musicianship and level of performance in all our ensembles," Boots said, adding that the cost to students is very reasonable compared to the potential price of an individual lesson.

According to Boots, Denver Elementary and middle school instructors Tess Kennedy and Doug Kulp plan to add the technology to their curriculum starting this fall, and Kristen Diehl is even starting to incorporate the sight-reading component into her high school choral curriculum.

In other business:

?The board approved the recommendation of amendments to Lancaster-Lebanon Public Schools Employees’ Health Care Cooperative, considering outside schools in order to be more price competitive and addressing the concern of last minute withdrawals.

?Board president Allen Dissinger announced the launch of the Knowledge for Solutions website for teachers in the IU 13 as well as those on the outside. This provides an opportunity for instructors to order books and magazines for a nominal charge while the IU gets a token profit. The web-based library will soon be open to all districts. More OPEN HOUSE, page A10

About Ephrata Review