EASD commits to Troop

By on December 21, 2016
Superintendent Brian Troop (right) receives an award in March from EASD board president Timothy Stayer.

Superintendent Brian Troop (right) receives an award in March from EASD board president Timothy Stayer.

The Ephrata Area School District Board of Directors have approved a new five-year contract with superintendent Brian Troop.

Troop, who has been with the district since January 2011, is to receive a $164,500 annual salary, effective July 1, 2017, in accordance with this contract.

He was initially hired as assistant superintendent until becoming superintendent in June 2013.

“We are extremely happy to have the caliber of superintendent that we have in Dr. Troop,” board president Timothy Stayer said at Monday’s board meeting. “He is an excellent leader and educator and has the students at the center of all he does and in the manner in which he leads the administrative, teaching and support staff at EASD.”

Troop’s new contract — effective from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022 — is similar to his current contract, and meets all of the Act 82 provisions and requirements, Stayer said.

As required by Act 82, the contract spells out all the conditions of employment, methods of evaluation, accountability, job performance, and subsequent increases, and the associated benefits of the position of superintendent.

Stayer further reflected on the value Troop has brought to the district since becoming superintendent.

“(Troop) is very innovative and creative in his leadership abilities,” said Stayer. “He is leading Ephrata to become a premier school district in Pennsylvania. He has managed the district, such that we have not had to cut programs such as art, music and other extra-curricular activities. He is forward thinking and always looking for the proven best practices and methods to make education and learning for our students fun, motivating and in preparing our communities’ children for the global world in which we all live.”

Having just completed his third full year as head of the district, Stayer indicated renewing Troop’s contract was all but a given.

“Based upon his first three years as superintendent, the board quickly agreed to a renewal of his contract and to continue our progress forward with Dr. Troop,” Stayer said. “The board is delighted to have Dr. Troop continue as our district’s superintendent. Our community is blessed to have Dr. Troop at the helm of the district.”

Troop thanked the board for granting him a new five-year contract.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the district in the role of superintendent,” he said. “Over the past four years, I have been continually impressed by the dedication and resolve of our staff throughout the district, as well as the talents and work ethic of our students. It is an exciting time to be in public education and a great time to be an Ephrata Mountaineer.”

In other items reviewed with the board, Troop highlighted a new program which Ephrata has begun to pilot: the use of a “virtual substitute” in some cases where a teacher is able to anticipate and plan for a day away from school.

Under the virtual substitute program, Ephrata High School teachers are now given the option of creating an online virtual lesson for their students when they have a planned absence. This lesson is presented to students in a common area of the school, such as the media center or a study hall, where supervision by staff is already scheduled.

“We are continually trying to find ways to use new tools to solve age-old problems. The virtual substitute program is just another example of this,” said Troop.

The shortage of substitute teachers plagues districts countywide and beyond, he said.

“Districts are left shorthanded when teachers call in sick, and they must scramble to figure out ways to ensure classrooms have coverage for the day. This often requires pulling other teachers from planning periods and duties to supervise the classroom, which is less than ideal for students and staff,” commented Peter Kishpaugh, Ephrata High School assistant principal.

District administrators believe implementing the virtual substitute option at Ephrata High School has been a positive addition. It has created improved student engagement and less loss of instructional time, enabled students to work at their own pace, and increased student collaboration.

“It has also helped teachers maintain their planning periods, encouraged blended learning with technology, and reduced the administrative stress associated with organizing class coverage,” concluded Kishpaugh.

Troop said that so far, the new program has been used 32 times where teachers had planned time away. Not only did it save the district money on paid substitute teachers, it also was a hit with students who indicated that while they would still prefer their regular teacher, they would rather have the virtual substitute instead of the outside substitute.

Moving on, Troop commented on Ephrata’s first graduating class of Attollo Recruit Class, calling the graduation a rewarding experience.

“It really integrated the values it promoted and the students really had to work hard at it,” said Troop. “I feel it was very well done and I look forward to a continued relationship with that organization.”

Attollo Recruit aims to instill six pillars — strong mind, competition, resiliency, accountability, sacrifice, and finishing strong — to help ensure students obtain access to college. EHS is one of only two districts in Lancaster County to offer the program.

It is a new program implemented this year at the high school for a group of 22 eleventh grade students. Those students were among 30 invited to join the six-week program. A variety of factors were considered by school administrators and guidance counselors before extending invitations.

Scott Galen, Ephrata High School principal, noted that Attollo students meet before school from 5:30 to 7:15 a.m. three times a week for six weeks.

“Many people would be surprised to know that a group of 22 teenagers were willing to make this commitment at such an early time of the morning, but the meetings were upbeat, energetic, and motivating,” he said. “It’s inspiring to see the commitment and determination in these students.”

Each week, a new Attollo pillar was introduced and explored. In addition, students set individualized plans of action with one goal in mind — being accepted to college and successfully graduating. In addition to learning about the college application and selection process, students explored ways to secure scholarships and outside funding to diminish or even eliminate college costs.

At first, many students feel this is an impossible task, but after hard work and dedication, students tackle the challenge and learn to ultimately be empowered to accomplish anything, Galen said.

The culmination of the program took place at Ephrata High School on Tuesday, Dec. 13, where students participated in final interviews with district leaders. Students who complete the program and meet the qualification criteria are eligible for free tutoring, SAT preparation sessions, and one-on-one mentoring to help complete college applications. In addition, they are invited to participate in summer Attollo college tours in a variety of cities.

For more information on Ephrata Area School District, please visit their website at www.easdpa.org. Gary P. Klinger always welcomes your comments and feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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