School Board Notes
The Board of School Directors recognized 32 retirees that have 673 cumulative years of service to the students, staff and community of the Methacton School District.
It is a tremendous opportunity to give thanks to these important contributors to the Pride of Methacton: Emily Ahlberg, Kelly Ames, Kimberlee Beam, Susan Brennen, Amy Brier, Marie Casselberry, Michelle Davis, Donna D’Innocenzo, Deborah Finley, Debra Galvin, Elizabeth Grabfelder, Linda Hargesheimer, Carolyn Hofgesang, Bennie Horne, Rachel Keaveney, Kathleen Kifer, Donna Knarr, Daniel Lasorda, Judith Macy, Joyce Magann, Catherine Mahan, Vivian McIntyre, Bryan Michaels, Patricia Nixon, Janet O’Connor, MaryAnne Pastino, Cheryl Peiffer, Ruth Salgueiro, Nancy Sabato, Donald Sawyer, Linda Seibert, and Joy Withrow.
We wish everyone the very best.
In Memorium: Krista Wagner
Dr. Zerbe led a moment of silence in respect and remembrance of Woodland Elementary School first grade teacher, Krista Wagner, who passed away on April 26, 2022.
Krista worked for Methacton School District for 28 years. She was loved and respected by her students, their families, and her colleagues. Woodland Principal Dr. Deb Euker shared stories about Mrs. Wagner’s time as a teacher who served in all of Methacton’s elementary schools. She also spoke directly to members of Mrs. Wagner’s family, who were in attendance, about the books found in her library and how they all connected to her love for them and her profession.
Meetings in Review
Dr. Zerbe and his administration presented the district’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2027. The district embarked on a process in August 2021 that brought together more than 100 members of our school community including students, parents, teachers, staff, community members, school board members, and business and civic leaders to provide valuable input into the future of Methacton Schools.
Keeping with our established vision, mission and core values, we targeted a single overarching goal of ensuring an exceptional Methacton School District experience for all. This goal is divided into two equally important measurable components: increase constituent favorable feedback by 25% in next 5 years; and increase district ranking by 25 places in next 5 years.
Using the lens of the whole child tenets of healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged, the district established strategies, with input from the school community, in each of the following eight focus areas:
- STEM Academy
- Student Growth/Achievement, Instruction, Staff Development, & Technology
- Athletics/Clubs & Activities
- Communication/Information Resources
- Financial Management/Human Resources
- Pupil Services; Safety/Facilities/Infrastructure
- Student, Staff, Community Experience
There are many exciting opportunities laid out within the plan. One of which is the establishment of a STEM Academy with learning centered on using a Fab Lab. It would serve as a hub for exposing all students to instruction in process engineering and include problem based multi-year group projects during junior/senior year. Students would also connect with other schools and universities across the country. This program culminates with students completing a seminar, project/solution presentation, or industry internship and receiving a STEM endorsement on their HS diploma.
Dr. Matt Walsh, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, reviewed the importance of our targeted effort to provide supports for students and staff in math instruction at all levels. This work would be done through the implementation of a coaching model that coincides with the district-wide math curriculum and textbook review cycle. A key element for improving district rank lies with ensuring that our teachers are supported and well prepared to deliver math instruction.
Dr. Susan Angstadt, Director of Pupil Services, shared that a review of the K-12 school counseling program will occur to ensure that we have the proper staffing and alignment of tasks to support students and parents at all levels.
Mr. Robert Jones, Director of Facilities, presented a need to have greater focus on the aesthetics of our school campuses.
Mr. Che Regina, Assistant Superintendent, shared that student, staff, parent and community feedback has provided insights into areas with which we can target improvements including the sense of student belonging and school climate.
Ms. Amanda Kelly, Coordinator of School and Community Information, shared that a campaign of Prestige, Process and Policy will help promote and inform current and future families on all things Methacton. She explained that Prestige is really about presenting the things we are most proud of and ensure that consistent and regular promotion of matters are institutionalized.
Dr. Jason Sorgini, Director of Human Resources, and Tim Bricker, Director of Finance, shared strategies associated with attracting and retaining high-quality staff as well as finding additional ways to increase knowledge and transparency around the annual budgeting process.
Dr. Zerbe shared a number of facilities-related projects that may need to be considered which included renovations to the High School pool, along with renovations to the tennis courts at the high school and Arcola, as well as field lighting on the baseball and softball fields to mention a few.
The district will be providing regular updates on progress towards completing these strategies and ensuring an exceptional Methacton School District experience for all.
Shannondell Escrow Funds
By a 7-2 vote, the Board of School Directors approved the administration’s recommendation to transfer what is referred to as the Shannondell escrow funds of $7,193,687 to the capital reserve account. This will establish a capital reserve fund to address facility matters and will save taxpayers from having to pay nearly $4 million in interest by avoiding taking loans to address the same facility matters. The overall Shannondell matter is further explained in the Board’s FAQ section of the district website. The administration agreed that the funds held in escrow should be given back to the taxpayers by using these funds to make investments into our facilities. This would, in turn, reduce overall expense on these facility projects (no interest and fees from loans), and the investments will pay long-term benefits. As a result of this action, the administration will be further developing the capital plan and a board policy recommendation to prepare structurally for effective and proper use of these funds.
Ceremonial Signing of the Diplomas
As part of the ceremonial signing of the first diplomas, School Board President Liz Drummond, Dr. Zerbe and MHS Principal Dr. Jamie Gravinese, signed the diplomas of Student Board Representatives Claire Ferrance and Nolan McCloskey, and the diploma of Katherine Drummond, the daughter of Ms. Drummond. All three students are also among the 180 members of the Class of 2022 who have earned "M" Awards for Academic Excellence. These seniors have achieved a 93% or greater grade point average for the 2021-2022 school year.
Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, 2022, beginning at 4PM at the Methacton High School stadium.
The students are:
- Matt Tang, who won first place in the Prepared Speech category in the SkillsUSA district level and state level competitions.
- Jason Bruton (also pictured above), who won second place in the Technical Drafting category in the SkillsUSA district level competition.
- Cameron Steiner, who won second place in the Diesel Equipment category in the SkillsUSA district level competition.
- Noelle Emerson, who won third place in the Cosmetology Action Skills category in the SkillsUSA district level competition.
- Alex Klein, who won third place in the Graphic Arts Pin Design category in the SkillsUSA district level competition.
- Mackenzie Clark, who won third place in the Biomedical Laboratory Science category at the HOSA state level competition.
"M" Awards for Athletic Achievement
Award of Excellence
Congratulations to Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for May 2022. Jeffrey Butler, Larry Kilian, and Elaine Meckes represent First Student; Peter Marion, Bernadette Darragh, and Amy Shoemaker represent Aramark.
All of these outstanding staff members 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.
Best Communities for Music Education
Eagleville and Arrowhead Construction Updates
Fidevia provided the Board with an update on the construction projects at Arrowhead Elementary School and Eagleville Elementary School. Click here to read the May progress report for both projects.
You can also keep up with the latest on the Arrowhead construction project by visiting https://www.methacton.org/ArrowheadConstruction and the Eagleville construction project by visiting https://www.methacton.org/EaglevilleConstruction.
All other items listed in the May 24, 2022 agenda were approved.