EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTIRCT
The East Penn School Board unanimously adapted new soft-cover consumable math textbooks for students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the Aug. 13 meeting. These are part of a new math curriculum that had been previously approved.
Elementary level curriculum supervisor Michele James and secondary level curriculum supervisor Laura Witman explained why the choice was made to replace the current program with Ready Math during a presentation to the directors. With assistance from a committee formed to study various systems, they found the former was “not aligned with PA standards.”
In other business, when reviewing the revised Emmaus High student discipline code, school board Director Vice President Paul Champagne questioned Principal Kate Kieres about inconsistencies regarding parent notification of student offenses.
Director Alisa Bowman suggested safety concerns regarding student cellphone use between classes be addressed. It was suggested students be advised to not walk or block hallway traffic while using the devices. The code revisions were approved pending clarification of some of the language regarding those two issues.
A request to address the board was granted to Jennifer Connor, of Alburtis, who voiced support for the school’s LGBT students and appreciation for the district’s acceptance of all students, including her son Zach who she identified as autistic and entering 11th grade.
Connor expressed gratitude for the support the family received while fundraising for a new Emmaus Hornet mascot costume.
Zach, beginning his second year portraying the high school mascot and his brother Andrew, a seventh grader at Lower Macungie Middle School in a similar role, “… call each other the ‘Hornet Bros,’” she said.
The new costume will debut Aug. 24 at halftime.
East Penn School District Superintendent Kristen Campbell reported the district’s first “Parent Camp” where parent and community adults can learn about tech-related subjects, was scheduled for Aug. 14 at the high school.
The superintendent also briefly updated the board on progress with the implementation of iPads and Chromebooks, with a promise to provide more detailed information at a later date.
Campbell said Student Transportation of America, Inc. is expected to reduce overcrowding on the middle school buses in the upcoming school year and bus assignment letters are going out this week.
In personnel matters, the directors accepted the resignation of Lower Macungie Middle School sixth grade teacher Laurie Nissen-Mott effective Aug. 24 and three EHS health room nurses: Kyle Hook, Kathleen Hosking and Debbra Petke effective August 2018.
Director Charles Ballard expressed concern about the large turnover of school nurses in the district. Director of Student Services Thomas Mirabella explained health room nurse positions are part time and staffed by RNs or LPNs. When one of these employees becomes certified, there are no vacancies within the district for CSNs.
Approved new hires or transfers include second grade teacher Angela Laury at Macungie Elementary School, third grade teacher Phillip Vitale at Willow Lane Elementary School, Erin Trautmann as music instructor and Megan Freeman as a learning support teacher for LMMS, as well as Matthew Spengler’s appointment as assistant athletic director at EHS.
The directors accepted the hiring of autistic support teacher Laura Escudero for EHS and fifth grade teacher Heather Sobo for Alburtis Elementary School to fill newly created positions.
Gregory Annoni’s transfer from LMMS to EHS to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Todd Breiner was met with approval.
The board conducted a second reading of board policy updates with a focus on transportation policies.
There was an executive session scheduled prior to the public meeting at 7 p.m. on negotiation and legal issues.
The East Penn Board of School Directors meet regularly at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month, with only one meeting in July. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 27, in the board room of the Administration Building.