Technology Powers Educational Tools ; What Students Can Expect Upon Return To Classroom Cocalico Columbia Conestoga Valley Donegal Elanco... [Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA)]
(Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Technology Powers Educational Tools ; What Students Can Expect Upon Return To Classroom Cocalico Columbia Conestoga Valley Donegal Elanco Elizabethtown Ephrata Hempfield Lampeter-Strasburg Lancaster Catholic Lancaster Mennonite Manheim Central Manheim Township Octorara Penn Manor Pequea Valley Sdl Solanco Warwick
With books becoming more old-fashioned with every passing season, more schools in Lancaster County this year are replacing paper and ink with hand-held electronic gizmos.
"I had the opportunity to pilot the use of iPads for World Geography and World History curricula during the 2012-2013 school year, and it added a new dimension to the classroom," Lisa Brimhall, a social studies teacher in Ephrata Area High School, said.
"It was an additional tool for students to use, which kept them engaged in the learning process and allowed them to access material in an ever changing digital world," Brimhall said. "Specifically designed apps allow a targeted approach to various concepts and material taught in the classroom."
Ephrata isn't alone in adding iPads to the classroom. With the school year arriving - Lancaster Mennonite School opened on Tuesday and most other schools in the county will open Monday - several districts are making new forays into technology.
Expanded course offerings, changes in personnel and, in some cases, higher cafeteria prices also await students this year.
Here's a look at some of the changes to be found in local schools:
Teachers and support staff received new safety training that addresses how to handle a school intruder: "Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Escape."
On the curriculum front, the district will implement a new teaching framework that has been adopted by the state. Over the summer, all district teachers have been trained in the system that uses Charlotte Danielson's Framework for evaluating teachers.
One aspect of the system is more classroom observation of teachers. Another aspect will have teachers developing specific objectives for what students should learn in each course.
On the personnel front, Whitney Seltzer, who had been an assistant principal at the high school, is the district's new athletic director. Seltzer replaces Audrey Stoner, who spent 34 years in the district, including 14 as athletic director.
Other new administrators include Anthony DiMatteo and Christine Gehring as assistant principals at the high school and Crystal Loose as assistant principal and reading supervisor at Denver Elementary. Sherry Luttrel joins the district as director of human resources.
Perhaps the most noticeable change in the district will be the host of fresh faces in top administration positions.
Outgoing superintendent Barry Clippinger, who announced his retirement last year, will be replaced by acting superintendent Kenneth Klawitter, who previously served as superintendent for the district from 1999 until 2006. Klawitter was appointed to serve in "an emergency capacity" from July 1 until June 30, 2014.
At Taylor Elementary, former principal Diane Frey, who was also assistant superintendent, announced her retirement in February. The district hired William Lininger, a special education teacher for the bulk of his career at Columbia, as acting principal for the 2013-14 academic year. At Park Elementary, former principal Deborah Wallace will be replaced by Brett Esbenshade, a former fourth-grade teacher from Donegal School District.
Many high school athletes also will have new leadership this year. James Burke,-the former assistant coach, replaces outgoing Michael Burke as the new varsity head coach for the football team. Second-year Columbia math teacher Stephanie Coleman will take the lead as head coach for the girl's tennis team, replacing outgoing Lindsay Myerowitz.
Former wrestling coach Scott Rupp will be replaced by co-head coaches Mickey Rupp and Tony Munoz. And Columbia's boys' basketball team hopes to find success with the guidance of new head coach Matt Johns, who is replacing Mark Wisler.
In areas of technology, students and their parents will be able to log into a more user-friendly student information management system known as Sapphire to view grades, disciplinary records, transcripts, schedules and more, as well as communicate with teachers, according to technology integration specialist Pam Williams.
Two new iPad labs were added at Park and Taylor elementary schools at the end of the 2012-13 school year. The high school also will add two new iPad labs for the coming year, one of which will be integrated with the math program.
Students and parents will see significant changes when school begins this year. Foremost among them, one-to-one computing at the high school was scheduled to become a reality this week when students picked up their preloaded laptops.
The district began several years ago to upgrade its technology infrastructure in anticipation of providing students with "anytime" access to resources. The district already had most of the computers on hand, leasing 300 devices to complete the one-to-one initiative.
Students cannot load programs onto the machines, and some websites, like Facebook, are blocked. Teachers also will be able to blank the screens with the touch of a button to get students' attention.
The cost, $742,500 spread over four years, includes the district's wireless network, upgrades to the switches, wide area network, computers and mobile labs.
For elementary and middle school students, the number of mobile computer carts, each containing 30 iPads, will increase. An additional 160 iPads and 420 iPad minis will provide a technology tool for about half of all students.
Almost all CV kindergarten students will be in school all day come the start of the new school year. Of the 16 kindergarten classes in the district, 15 of them will be full day and one, at Brownstown Elementary, will be half day; parents at Leola, Fritz and Smoketown may choose to pick up their children after half a day.
In food service, a new point-of-sale system called Meals Plus - previously available only at the high school - will allow school officials to track what students buy for breakfast and lunch. Parents will be able to see their children's purchases online, where they also can prepay for their meals. Also, lunch prices will increase 10 cents for all students.
Phyllis Heverly Flesher joins the district's leadership team this year as director of administrative services. The new head football coach is Mark Pieters, and the head cross country coach is Mark Amway.
Donegal schools are implementing a new drill for students that's above and beyond the usual fire drills.
Starting this school year, Donegal will hold "intruder drills" as part of the ALICE program, which many administrators took part in during a summer retreat.
Mark Heckaman, the district's capital projects manager, said ALICE - which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and escape - is another tool for keeping school children safe.
Superintendent Susan Ursprung said once Donegal employees receive training in ALICE, the program's principle components would be rewritten and taught to all students in the 2014-15 school year.
"We will do a lot of communicating with our parents and the community," she said.
The administration, which has tinkered in recent years with a slew of personnel changes, appears relatively pat after finalizing changes at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Recent personnel changes include the promotion of third-grade New Holland Elementary School teacher Kim Andersen as Brecknock Elementary principal.
Patrick Winters will move from being Garden Spot High School assistant principal to lead K-12 virtual programs and 7-12 curriculum and instruction. Winters also will serve to construct the district's newsletters since the board eliminated its information director position.
Elias Cox, who had served as dean of students, replaces Winters as assistant principal at the high school.
Technology updates continue this year with all students in grades four through 12 getting laptops for use in class.
Upperclassmen will be allowed to take computers home, Lotsie Wooten, supervisor of technology infrastructure, said. Students in the lower grades will have them for classroom use only.
Wooten estimated the cost of new computers to be about $450,000.
Superintendent Robert Hollister said the issue of redistricting - possibly sending elementary school students from Blue Ball and New Holland to Brecknock - likely will happen when the Brecknock Elementary renovation is completed next year.
The price of an elementary school breakfast this year will increase 10 cents to $1.10, while middle and high school breakfasts bump to $1.25, up from $1.15. Lunches at the secondary schools will rise to $2, up from $1.90. Elementary school lunches increase to $1.80, from $1.70. The prices are mandated by a formula derived from the Health Hunger Free Kids Act, Hollister said.
The district's random drug-testing policy instituted two years ago withstood scrutiny and remains intact for another school year. It allows random tests of students who are involved in extracurricular/co-curricular activities or have a student parking permit.
A summer reshuffling of the district leaders means new principals at Bainbridge and Rheems elementary schools, as well as new duties for other administrators in the district
Superintendent Michele Balliet said she is energized by a new leadership structure, which means each building will now have a full- time administrator. In many cases, leaders added new duties to their existing jobs.
"I just think we're better positioned than we were before," Balliet said. "We're just looking at how do we refine our operations."
The adjustments were triggered by the promotion of Amanda Hann in June from principal at Rheems Elementary School to the district's director of instructional practices.
Replacing Hann at Rheems will be Jacques Viau, who had been the assistant principal for grades seven through nine.
Greg Kiehl, who had been the district's director of support services, becomes principal of Bainbridge Elementary School, where Kiehl replaces Lois Brewer. Brewer, who had been serving as principal of both Bainbridge and Mill Road elementary schools, will remain principal at Mill Road.
Kathleen Griffith will become assistant principal at the middle school, serving seventh and eighth grades, and Steven Schoessler will add ninth grade to his current responsibilities as assistant principal at the high school, giving him purview over grades 10 through 12.
Rounding out the new administrative team for the fall is Greg Bechtold, who was promoted in June to become the high school's new dean of students.
Capitalizing on advances in computing, the district will continue to integrate iPads into all schools in the district.
The iPads will replace traditional textbooks in three course sections at the high school in the coming year. In addition, the tablet computers will continue to provide the primary source of documents and student research in the social sciences.
The use of iPads continues in grades 3 and 4 as part of the district's curriculum with specialized applications supplementing the reading curriculum.
"An iPad is interactive learning at its best," said Susan Doub, a third-grade teacher at Highland Elementary School. She utilized iPads with her students during the 2012-13 school year.
The use and availability of iPads will be expanded at the middle school with a focus on science and mathematics. They will be introduced at the intermediate school to provide curricular reinforcement, help students create presentations and to access district library resources.
Three new administrators will oversee new learning initiatives in the district.
Brian Troop, formerly the district's assistant superintendent of secondary education, took the helm last month as superintendent.
Richard Hornberger, formerly serving dual roles as director of secondary education and high school principal at Northern Lebanon School District, joined Ephrata this month as the new assistant superintendent of secondary education. Scott Galen, an associate/ assistant principal from Warwick, rounds out the new leadership team as the district's new high school assistant principal.
Several new courses will open doors at the high school, including one that will allow juniors and seniors the opportunity to job shadow with a professional in their field of choice.
Meanwhile, Principles of Engineering, a course in the Project Lead the Way curriculum, will give students hands-on experiences in basic electricity/electronics theory and exposure to robotics, building and testing robotic solutions with the use of a motorized kit and basic prototyping.
The recently launched Parent-to-Parent program aims to help preschool children and their families prepare for the transition to school.
Hempfield eliminated seven teaching positions through attrition and reduced one full-time position to part-time, according to superintendent Brenda Becker. One administrative position also was eliminated.
Derrick Frank is the district's new transportation coordinator, and Shannon Zimmerman has been hired as communications specialist. The district is in the process of hiring a director of student services.
The Open Campus initiative, a partnership with Manheim Township and Penn Manor school districts to offer cooperative online courses that the individual districts couldn't offer, is expanding, with new class offerings this year including Personal Financial Literacy, Introduction to Video Game Design, Spanish for Healthcare, Creative Writing, AP Psychology, Health and Wellness, Fitness for Life, Geometry, Popular Music in America and Statistics.
Becker said enrollment figures for the Open Campus won't be available until school begins, but said interest has definitely increased since the program's debut last year.
Hempfield also is introducing iPads and Apple TV to replace interactive white boards in several school buildings.
Mike Graham, director of technology for the district, said the Apple package "is about half the cost" of the white boards, and it provides teachers and students with more flexible learning tools.
The upgrades cost about $54,000, Graham said. He noted, however, that about two-thirds of that cost was rolled into the construction costs at East Petersburg and Farmdale elementaries, and funding for new technology in Centerville was donated by the PTO.
The cost of school lunches in Hempfield increased by a dime this year - the new rates are $2.30 for elementary students, $2.45 for middle and high schoolers.
The biggest change in the school district this fall will be the closing of Strasburg Elementary.
Superintendent Kevin Peart said former Strasburg students will go to Lampeter Elementary.
Advantages to having everyone on the same campus, he said, include less time spent by specialists traveling between schools. School board members also have cited cost savings and safety. The district will keep the building.
Students and parents will find increased security at Hans Herr Elementary this fall. Peart said in prior years, staff could "buzz" a door open when someone rang the bell. Upon entry, a visitor would be in an open hall from which they would go to the office to sign in. Now visitors will enter into an area that leads only to the office.
Returning to school, students also will see upgraded technology. A year ago, Peart said, the high school had a pilot Bring Your Own Device program in which students in certain classes could bring phones and other wireless devices from home.
The BYOD program has been expanded to all students as long as their teachers participate in the program. The program allows students to use personal devices in instructional settings in the classroom.
Peart said through the budget process, the district made funds available for increased technology. New items include 26 interactive white boards, 175 laptop computers and more than 200 desktop computers for the high and middle schools.
Director of technology Les Stoltzfus said students and staff will have secure access to their operating system, applications and files in a filtered environment, from a personal device anytime, anywhere through a downloadable app called Receiver.
Terry Klugh, former athletic director, is the new vice principal of studies, replacing Joe McCaskey, who retired after 40 years.
The school has added courses in music history, playwrighting, photography and broadcasting. Courses in speech, Logic and Argument and Introduction to Humanities are now required for graduation.
The school, which opened Tuesday, added a new bus route to serve about 15 students living in York County who will pay $6 per round trip.
In staff changes, Eloy Rodriquez is the new principal at the New Danville campus, and Judi Mollenkof - former principal of the Locust Grove and New Danville campuses - is now principal of the Kraybill and Locust Grove campuses.
Mary Jane Smith will be assistant principal at the two campuses.
Instrumental music lessons are being added for all students in grades 4 and 5 at the Kraybill campus to align with the offerings at other campuses. A drama coordinator has joined the high school staff.
At Kraybill and New Danville, a new after-school child care program has been implemented. The before-school program at Locust Grove has been expanded.
LMS has entered into a partnership with Lancaster Catholic High School to enable Lancaster Mennonite students to participate on the LCHS football and junior varsity field hockey teams.
After an uncertain year of administrative transition, following the resignations of former superintendent William Clark and acting superintendent Fred Cummins, the district hired Norman Hatten to fill the post. Hatten began his duties as superintendent in June.
At Stiegel Elementary, Seth Kensinger - who for 23 years has been a chemistry teacher and instructional facilitator - will take the helm as principal, replacing outgoing principal Wendy Hancock. At the high school, Joshua Weitzel will fill the newly created administrative position of second assistant principal and assistant athletic director.
A pilot program called Hybrid Learning is set to be expanded this year to include math classes. Assistant superintendent Elizabeth Massar said the district had plans for a much larger expansion of the program, but had to downsize their plans because of state funding cuts.
Hybrid Learning is a blended learning model where students rotate to different stations with self-study, direct instruction and group projects. One of the key features is the integration of technology in every aspect of the learning experience.
Last year the program was implemented in two social studies classes and was very successful, Massar said - other teachers began imitating the model and asking for the program in their classrooms.
At the high school, students will see some changes in the block scheduling structure to better accommodate interventions and enrichment opportunities.
Parents of students also will be able to take advantage of some educational opportunities. Funded by the Keystones to Opportunity grant, which the district won last year, Manheim Central will partner with local churches and other community agencies to offer ESL and GED courses to parents.
High school math teacher Rodney Brenize is the new head coach for the boys soccer team, replacing Matt Schwartz. The new head coach for field hockey is Lisa McCoy, who was assistant coach for Penn Manor for eight years and is one of the associate directors of the U.S. Field Hockey Association. McCoy replaces Rebecca Keener.
Come spring, the boys baseball team also will have a new coach, after Jason Thompson accepted an assistant coaching position at Millersville University.
Several schools in the district will have new leaders this year.
At the middle school, Karen Evans is acting principal, Matthew Hays is assistant principal and Will Gillis is interim assistant principal.
Former Landis Run Intermediate School teacher Andrew Martin has been named the school's assistant principal.
Wendy Hancock is the new principal at Nitrauer Elementary School.
There will be no reduction in programs because of budget cuts for the first time in five years, according to superintendent Thomas Newcome.
Newcome said the district will continue to partner with the 21st Century Cyber Charter School to deliver additional courses to its on- campus Virtual Academy.
Students in grades 7 to 12 also are increasing their access to educational technology through the district's one-on-one iPad program. The school board has recently been working on a current acceptable use policy for student iPad users.
In June, the district promoted Elena Wilson, former elementary principal, to director of curriculum and instruction. Administrators shifted and consolidated duties to keep the administrative roster at 14.
Also, because of federal school lunch program regulations, the cost of elementary school lunches increases 10 cents, from $2.30 to $2.40.
New principals, expanded course selection and ongoing construction of a new school await Penn Manor students this year. Perhaps the most exciting news is a one-to-one computing program at the high school.
As part of a pilot, junior and senior students taking online courses will receive a personal laptop when school begins on Aug. 26. The second half of the roll-out will take place in January 2014, when all high school students will receive a laptop.
"We are the only district in the state that is exclusively loading free and open source software on the laptops," said district technology director Charlie Reisinger. By supplying 1,700 laptops, he added, Penn Manor is "creating an educational democracy for our kids."
In other high school news, the Open Campus online partnership with Manheim Township and Hempfield continues to expand, in terms of both enrollment and course selection. With 145 course requests, Penn Manor has seen a significant hike in interest. New online courses this year include AP Psychology and Spanish for Healthcare.
Jennifer Sugra is coming on board as principal of Martic Elementary in Holtwood. Sugra is a former principal at Eshleman Elementary in Millersville and has returned to the district after a year of sabbatical.
Eshleman's acting principal, Krista Cox, is returning permanently to the post.
When classes begin at Pequea Valley on Monday, high school students will have more options.
Superintendent Erik Orndorff said students will able to take online classes so they can get courses even if they are only offered when the student must be in another class or at an internship. All students will be required to take an online personal finance class during their high school years.
Orndorff said the district has been expanding on options made possible by the district's one-to-one laptop program, in which all middle and high school students are issued a laptop computer.
Orndorff noted that the new kindergarten class will have about 125 students, up from the 100 average most years. But, while the kindergarten class may be bigger, overall enrollment is down. About 1,650 students are signed up for classes this fall - down from about 1,950 more than a decade ago.
Orndorff said the district has many farms that are preserved or owned by people who have no interest in selling them for development. One major exception could be a Salisbury Township tract being eyed for a distribution center, which could have a significant impact on growth down the road.
In other news, Orndorff said he looks forward to the continuation of the Apple Core Club, in which select students in grades 8 through 12 are taught how to repair computers and are assigned to help students and teachers with their laptops.
City schools are transitioning to new state standards for both English language arts and math.
Course offerings will continue to support teaching and learning by providing sequenced programming based on the approved district resources, the Pennsylvania State Standards and research-based best practices for instruction.
As part of that initiative, students in kindergarten through second grade will begin a new math program called Math Expressions, which focuses on the new standards through "rich problem-solving, student-friendly practice materials and real-life applications."
Students in grades 3 through 5 will begin shifting to the new program at the end of this school year.
There will be a strong emphasis on academic vocabulary and writing this year, with lessons infused throughout all content areas.
Within career and technical education, the district has added a sports and entertainment marketing course to continue to bolster financial literacy among business students. More than 55 students have pre-enrolled in this new course.
The district is adding the Future Business Leaders of America student organization to support the business and accounting programs.
There also will be an increase in the number of internships and cooperative learning opportunities in the building trades and maintenance program.
And a new, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program will be offered at the high school.
Up to 180 student cadets will be able to participate in the program, which will include a three-year aerospace science curriculum taught by two retired Air Force officers.
Two more schools - Buchanan and Burrowes - are now receiving the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant.
Menu items will be added as needed to incorporate USDA regulations.
When school bells toll opening day, students will return to business as usual. Only a few changes might alter the routine.
Kindergarteners and third-grade students will be introduced to an enhanced writing curriculum. All grade levels will experience a phasing in of a revised literacy curriculum, and the Keystone Opportunities Literacy grant will continue to be implemented at all grade levels. District personnel will work with local preschools to prepare children to read.
Teachers will face one major change, and that is the implementation of new evaluation forms that are now being required by a state mandate.
All teachers at the high school will receive new laptops for classroom use. In addition, wireless service at the high school has been upgraded to make it more cost effective.
Brian Booher, who was assistant principal at Swift Middle School, will lead Quarryville Elementary students and teachers. Booher replaces James O'Brien, who retired this year.
Two coaches still need to be hired. The district is seeking a girls' basketball coach to replace Timothy Glackin and a field hockey coach to replace Katie Gerfen.
The district is looking toward a 2013-14 school year with few changes.
Enrollment is expected to remain at 4,440 across the district, which includes the four elementary schools, middle school and high school. There may be some fluctuations by grade, but no major growth or decline is projected.
Last year the school district instituted athletic and extracurricular activities fees, which will remain the same. This has helped the school district contain costs for non-educational activities.
Warwick Virtual Academy, now in its second year, is a growing success as a means to offer cyber students a district-based option for cyber learning. The enrollment for the Virtual Academy is 59 students for 2013-14.
Across the district, hiring of new teachers has been only for teachers who are replacing teachers who have resigned or retired. Only one new elementary position has been filled, based on higher enrollment in that grade.
Administrative changes include the hiring of Kristina Szobocsan as assistant principal at Warwick High School, replacing Scott Galen who resigned, and the new assistant middle school principal Michelle Harris, replacing Penny Mason who retired.
Staff writers P.J. Reilly, Chad Umble and Brian Wallace and correspondents Patrick Burns, Dean Lee Evans, Cindy Hummel, Elaine J. Jones, Laura Knowles, K. Scott Kreider, Roxanne Todd, Donna Walker and Debbie Wygent contributed to this report.
Thursday: Part 2 of the back-to-school preview will highlight construction projects at the county's schools.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]