East Penn Press

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT Branding 101 for board of directors

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by ed courrier Special to The Press in Local News

The East Penn Board of School Directors learned all about branding a school district and the reasons for doing so at their regular meeting Jan. 14.

Assisted by Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction – Humanities Erin Murphy and Technology Integration Specialist Dylan Peters, Assistant Superintendent Laura Witman led the presentation advocating updating the district logo, graphics, fonts and layouts for both print and online publications. After pointing out the district has four different logos, she and her team explained the need to create a consistent look to “brand” East Penn with one logo, as well as establishing style sheets and templates for district communications.

Four different logos in various fonts and color schemes popped up when Peters conducted a web search for “East Penn School District” for the board. He described branding as a way to provide transparency, that it should “reflect our values, mission statement and what is important to our district in a clear and meaningful way.” He added this would generate “unity and an overall sense of community among stakeholders across the district.”

Murphy said although branding is often considered a marketing tool for companies, many educational institutions are using it, “As a way that they tell their school story.” She suggested one logo and a consistent style guide be created with defined colors and fonts. Graphics should be available in different file formats for print, online and social media use.

“Due to the sheer scale of this project, including the file types that we are looking for,” Murphy said, “we would really like to partner with an experienced company for this work.” She added the district should be able to fund the project out of their current community liaison budget for this school year.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution not to exceed the Act 1 Index for raising taxes after Business Administrator Robert Saul and Superintendent Kristen Campbell reassured them the 2019-2020 proposed preliminary budget for the district supported the resolution. Saul explained he had made minor tweaks to the budget by eliminating district priorities and deferred maintenance expenditures categories and moving the figures to more appropriate categories.

The directors voted unanimously to approve the revised 2018-19 East Penn School District Student/Teacher Calendar. Three early dismissal days are now replaced with full day instructional days for Emmaus High School students only on Jan. 25, Feb. 8 and May 10. Board members suggested the administration clearly communicate the changes to parents since these changes just apply to the high school students who were affected by the Nov. 2, 2018, flooding of the school. Although the state waived the number of instructional days lost to the incident, students still must complete a minimum of 990 hours of instruction for the school year. Campbell said the updated calendar provides 992 hours, up from 985.

The board authorized the expenditure of $22,611.82 from the capital reserve fund to repair the Emmaus High School science labs damaged by the Nov. 2, 2018, stormwater overflow.

In her district update, Campbell announced the high school is beginning to return to “relatively normal operations” with the exception of Room 301 which is still being renovated. Wrestling and weight room flooring will be replaced after the end of the athletic season. She expressed pride that East Penn made the AP District Honor Roll for its advance placement program and 182 EHS students were recently inducted into National Honor Society.

Pennsylvania’s 24/7 anonymous tip system called “Safe 2 Say Something” has been activated for schools across the state, Campbell said. “The tip line can be accessed by an app, a website and a hotline,” she explained.

The superintendent pointed out a new ceiling-mounted camera to record school board meetings has been recently installed and was being tested that evening. Campbell mentioned the technology department is working to officially begin recording board proceedings at the next meeting. “The videos will be posted to the YouTube channel that is available on the school board tab on the district website,” she added.

“Screenagers,” a documentary on how technology impacts children’s development and parenting in the digital world, will be screened Jan. 22 at the administration building 10 a.m. (reservations required) and 7 p.m. at EHS, Campbell said.

The directors accepted a $1,123 donation from Kindness of Magic Inc. to be applied to the accounts of East Penn School District families who are both eligible for free or reduced lunches and currently have a negative account balance.

In personnel matters, the directors accepted the resignation of Kendy Schiffert from her position as fourth grade teacher at Wescosville Elementary School effective March 1. Schiffert has been offered a teaching and learning specialist position at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit.

Melissa Mineweaser’s appointment as payroll coordinator effective Jan. 15 was approved by the board.

Board Vice President Paul Champagne questioned why the district seemed to be shedding special education instructional assistants on a regular basis. Director of Special Education Dr. Linda Pekarik responded, “We have lost a lot of instructional assistants and we are having a very difficult time replacing them.” She mentioned that, “Some other districts pay probably $3 an hour higher than we do.” Champagne suggested the board address that issue.

Director Alisa Bowman expressed concern over student safety after witnessing a recent accident involving an EHS student injured when hit by a car along a dark section of Harrison Street.

No additional changes were made to updated board policies on new federal fiscal compliance thresholds and Title 1 parent and family engagement guidelines.

There were no requests to address the board and no executive session was held prior to the public meeting.

The East Penn Board of School Directors meet regularly 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled Jan. 28 in the board room of the administration building.