School Board Notes
January is School Director Recognition Month
Thank you to Methacton School District Board of School Directors for volunteering their time to serve our students, staff, schools, families and community! In celebration of School Director Recognition Month, K-4 students at Woodland Elementary surprised the Board with a special video. The students presented their own version of the Methacton School Board with debate on a proposal to choose and adopt a class pet for every classroom in the district. The students were recognized before the Board and presented with certificates of appreciation for their outstanding performance. A special thank you also goes to Dr. Euker, Woodland principal, and her staff for writing, directing and producing the video.
Award of Excellence
Congratulations to Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for January 2023. They are: Adam Sussman, Social Studies Teacher; Melissa Wychunis, Special Education Teacher; Teresa (Tessa) Dunbar, Math Teacher; Nicole Urbanski, Mental Health Clinician; Gabrielle (Gabby) Winters, Instructional Aide; and, Christina (Casey) Rowell, Personal Care Assistant.
New this year, a volunteer each month will be awarded the Award of Excellence for their dedication and contributions to the Methacton School District.
Laurie O'Neill was recognized for her work to support the Methacton High School students and staff as a dedicated volunteer.
All of these outstanding individuals provide support for students, staff, and our community. They are valuable team members and we are pleased to share with everyone how much we appreciate their commitment to the students of the Methacton School District.
Meetings in Review
Volunteer Policy Update
The district is implementing a new volunteer management system through Raptor Technologies. This new system will allow us to better manage our database of over 2,400 active volunteers and, in the future, better connect volunteers to opportunities in our schools.
New volunteers or volunteers expired clearances will now complete an online application to upload the required documents. This will eliminate the need for volunteers to bring paper copies of their documents to the buildings.
As presented at the voting meeting of Board on Tuesday evening, volunteers now have two classifications: Position Volunteer or Guest Volunteer. In addition, a TB test is only required for volunteer positions that have direct student contact for ten (10) or more hours per week. The activities and related clearance requirements for each class of volunteer has been defined at www.methacton.org/volunteer.
The district will be communicating additional information to district families, the community, active volunteers and volunteers with expired/soon to expire clearances in the coming days.
2023-2024 Proposed Preliminary Budget
Dr. Zerbe and Mr. Bricker presented the proposed preliminary budget for 2023-2024 school year. The proposed preliminary budget is presented annually in January of each year and is part of ACT 1 of 2006 that establishes a budgetary process requiring school districts to determine if they plan to levy taxes that exceed the Act 1 Index (calculated by averaging the percent increases in the Pennsylvania statewide average weekly wage and the Federal employment cost index for elementary/secondary schools).
Based on rising costs and expenditures associated with providing special education services, the district was eligible to take the Act 1 Index exception (going above the index of 4.1% for 2023-24 SY) by $1.4 million. Based on the work and associated cost reductions completed by the administration in preparation for this first phase of the Act 1 budget process, the administrative recommendation was approved by the Board at the meeting on January 24, 2023 not to exceed the Act 1 index.
The proposed preliminary budget presentation shows a balanced budget of $126,822,293 (expenditure/revenue) having an increase of $7.9 million from the prior year budget, requiring a 4.1% tax increase. Over the next several months, the Finance Committee of the Board and the Administration will work together to best present a budget that meets the educational and operational needs of the district as well as is considerate of our taxpayers.
Student Data Presentation
Dr. Walsh, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, along with Tara Ricci, Supervisor of School Improvement, presented the 2021-22 student data results at the January 24, 2023 meeting.
The presentation covered student test score results for the PSSA Math and PSSA ELA for Grades 3-8, PSSA Science for Grades 4 and 8, and also the Keystones for Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature as well as the SAT and AP testing results. Methacton continues to perform well above the county, state and national levels with our results. While we generally have rebounded from the challenges with the pandemic with PSSA scores in ELA, we have not rebounded equally well in Mathematics. As such, Dr. Walsh has shared that:
- We revised our ELA Wonders resource for Gr. K-5 (implemented in 2022-23);
- Created additional time at Skyview for 5th and 6th grade Math (2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively);
- Implemented Math Coaches at all levels to support teaching and instruction (2022-23); and,
- Returned to small group instruction.