Ephrata schools enjoy the Fair

By on October 2, 2019

Everybody enjoys a day at the Ephrata Area Fair and that includes students in the Ephrata Area School District who had a day off from school in order to attend the fair on Sept. 26, courtesy of the administration, in a day that has become a tradition.

This year, teachers went to the fair that day, too. Other years, teachers had an in-service day, but by agreeing to add a day onto the end of their school year, teachers could take in the activities and exhibits of the fair, school Superintendent Brian Troop told the board of directors at their monthly meeting on Sept. 23.

The district’s “Maker Bus” was in the fair parade.

The school district was officially closed on Thursday so that students and staff could take advantage of family events at the fair, Troop said.

Administration members Dr. Richard Hornberger and Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess also participated in the fair’s cow milking contest held Sept. 24.

In other news, students at all age levels commemorated “Patriot Day,” Sept.11, in a number of ways throughout the district.

A slide show was shown to elementary students and a number of students wrote letters of gratitude to first responders and community helpers in the district.

At the intermediate school, students will be reading “Towers Falling” by Jewell Parker Rhodes, which has as its focus the events of Sept. 11.

In the middle school, passages were read concerning the events of that day and patriotic music was played, and at the high school, students shared a moment of silence, watched video clips of the rescue teams, and also listened to patriotic music.

By looking back to the heroism displayed on that day by many people, students learned more about perseverance and grit, two of the character traits embodied in the Life-Ready Graduate program, Troop said.

The school district was recently recognized as a “2019 Outstanding Visual Arts Community” by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association, Troop told the board.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for something like this,” Troop said. “Only 57 districts in the state have received that distinction.”

Entering into the reason for the recognition was a mural painted by students at the Whistle-stop Station, a combined project of the school district and Mainspring of Ephrata, the community’s promotion and advertising organization.

Highland Elementary School celebrated a special event last week, Troop said, with the banding and release of their first monarch butterfly.

The elementary school has been growing a milkweed garden on the property for a few years, hoping to attract monarchs.

The project is under the auspices of fourth grade elementary teacher and science department chairman Adrian Shelly.

After a chrysalis forms, it is taken into an area to be incubated. When the butterflies are ready for release, they’re tagged with a tiny serial number so that their flight to Mexico can be followed and their journey noted in an effort to increase monarch populations.

Troop assisted in the first release of a butterfly this year, with more to follow.

In other business, the Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13 is looking into a partial hospitalization program for students with mental health issues, IU representative Tim Stauffer told the board.

The students would not be staying overnight in a facility, but would come to speak with counselors during the day.

“It’s a program we’re currently lacking in the Lancaster-Lebanon region right now,” Stauffer said.

The target goal for the program is next year.

Glenn R. Martin, legislative liaison for the Pennsylvania School Board Association Section VII, said the state legislators are currently working on charter school reform.

“We want to see charter schools and public schools on a more level playing ground, as far as goals and grading,” Martin said.

Board member Philip Eby, liaison for the Ephrata Area Education Foundation, reminded the board that the annual fundraising EAEF Color Run would be taking place on Sept. 28, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. at the middle school.

Donations were $25 for adults and $10 for students, with prizes for several different age levels. Participants could run or walk in the race event, he said.

To enhance science, math, and engineering learning, the board approved a number of contracts for “Elementary Steam Days” for 2019-20.

They include a traveling science program by the Maryland Science Center, offering an assembly for grades K-4 and a Physics Carnival for grade four in each elementary building, at a cost of $4,800.

• An on-site field trip with Science Explorers consisting of an assembly for grades one through four and activities for kindergarten students and third-grade students in each elementary building at a cost of $12,000.
• On-site STEAM activities from the Whitaker Center for grades K-4 and a rotation experience for first grade students at a cost of $4,800.
• An outreach program by ZooAmerica of Hershey consisting of an assembly for grades K-4 and interactive activities for second graders in each building, at a cost of $3,480.

The board also approved an agreement with Vista School for tuition for a student for the 2019-2020 school year, with tuition set at $54,524.

Also approved was a contract for an after school program with the YWCA of Lancaster for the Big and Little Sister and Big and Little Brother program at Akron Elementary School for the coming school year. Cost is $800 for each program.

The next regular meeting of the school board will take place Monday, Oct. 21, beginning at 7 p.m., at Akron Elementary School.

Marylouise Sholly is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review. 

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