Dear Methacton Community,
Welcome to the January 2024 edition of Community Conversations. In this newsletter, you will find updates on the Methacton High School Campus Planning Process, as well as an invitation to volunteer for the various activities available in our schools.
Methacton High School Campus Planning Process
For the past year and a half, the district administration has been working towards the development of a comprehensive campus plan designed to address facility needs of the Methacton High School building, the District Administrative Offices, the Transportation building and the campus sewer plant; along with addressing historical challenges associated with parking, traffic, aesthetics, accessibility, safety, pool and auditorium limitations/issues, hallway movement, room size/availability/flexibility/climate, building layout, classroom equipment, and pending program developments. It is imperative that, before we invest anymore of our resources into this high school campus, we develop a comprehensive campus plan that considers the educational, operational, and financial context to ensure that future investments in the Methacton High School Campus support the mission of the district and the vision for our high school and campus for the next 50 years.
The district formed the Methacton High School Campus planning committee of 140 stakeholders who toured the Methacton High School and other renovated and newly constructed high schools in the area. The committee reviewed facilities needs documents and prioritized a listing of recommendations that will be presented to the Board of School Directors at a meeting scheduled for February 20, 2024 at Arcola Auditorium.
On January 23, 2024, the district presented a financial analysis for funding renovations/new construction associated with the yet to be developed campus plan. The district budgets for annual facilities maintenance by dedicating internal staff and third-party firms with maintenance contracts. For small fixes, replacements, or small improvements, the district uses its Capital Projects Fund. For larger projects identified under the Master Facilities Plan (10-Year Plan), generally projects over two million dollars, the district would borrow or seek bond financing.
Regardless of the path forward (renovation/renovation with some new construction/new construction), the district will be required to borrow. We presented 3 scenarios for the Board in financing new money. The report shows the impact of borrowing $100 Million, $140 Million and $180 Million. In any of these scenarios, the district would not be subject to a voter referendum process for these financed amounts fit well within the district legal borrowing capacity.
The impact to the tax payers having an average district home value of $444,824.60 would see a $54.29 increase in taxes in the $100M borrowing scenario, a $144.06 tax increase in the $140M borrowing scenario, and a $278.52 tax increase in the $180M borrowing scenario.
I will be presenting the recommendations from the Methacton High School Campus Planning committee at the February 20, 2024 work session meeting of the Board. In addition, the District Owners Representative, D’Huey Engineering, will be presenting a cost/value analysis among the normal capital improvement plan (10-Year Master Facilities Plan), renovation within the existing building footprint, renovation with some new construction, and new construction. There will be public feedback sessions following this February 20, 2024 meeting. These open public forums will take place in the Methacton High School Library from 7pm to 8pm on February 29, 2024 and March 11, 2024. The Board of School Directors will determine the next steps at the March 26, 2024 meeting.
We always welcome our families and neighbors to share their time and talents in our schools through volunteering. Since January 2023, volunteers now fall under one of two classifications: Position Volunteer or Guest Volunteer. You can learn about the volunteer process and requirements by visiting www.methacton.org/volunteer.
Ways you can get started today:
- Contact any of our Home & School Associations to learn how you can help.
- Preparations for Post Prom 2024 is well underway and the committee is looking for a hundreds of volunteers. No previous experience necessary!
January 2024’s Alumni Spotlight features Sara Markley, MHS ’19. Sara is a special education teacher at Methacton High School. She is thrilled to return to her alma mater and to serve as a positive role model for today’s students -- just like her former teachers inspired her.
Read Sara’s story here: https://www.smore.com/a53ns-alumni-spotlight
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools
Dodgeball Tournament - March 17, 2024
January 2024 Good News
Now let’s take a look at some of the events and achievements that took place across the district in January...
Barnhill Preserve Visits Woodland
Woodland students learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed their Barnhill Preserve assembly. The owl was a crowd favorite!
Woodland Partners with MHS for Lunar New Year!
Students from the MHS Multicultural club met with 4th graders, Adithya, Aisha, Anika, Evan, Joy, Maddox & Parishi to create decorations for an upcoming holiday called Lunar New Year. The kids had fun coloring a dragon the high school students drew and creating ribbon wands for a dance video the students will try in music class with Mrs. Engler. Special thanks to Evan for his creation of the dragon head. Lunar New Year is coming on February 10, 2024. Woodland students will learn about some of the ways it is celebrated throughout Asia and the world!
Welcome Dr. Milrod!
Dr. Robert Milrod is thrilled to join the Woodland Elementary School team as Interim Principal, following Dr. Euker's appointment to principal at Methacton High School.
During his 40+ year career, Dr. Milrod served as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, building administrator and central office administrator. He was also a Pennsylvania Licensed Psychologist. During the last fourteen years of his career, Dr. Milrod was the Superintendent of Schools for the Upper Moreland Township School District. Following his "retirement," Dr. Milrod worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a School Improvement Facilitator, supporting academically struggling schools. He also provided support to the Methacton School District during the 2021-2022 school year as an Interim Elementary Supervisor for Curriculum and Instruction. It was during this temporary position that Dr. Milrod first was introduced to the District and to Woodland Elementary School. Dr. Milrod is pleased to be here at Woodland, where the staff and students have immediately helped him to feel welcome and at home.
"Although it is only my first week here at Woodland, it is already clear to see just how special a place the school is. The teachers, staff and students are all so friendly, and it is encouraging to see the active learning that is going on in all of our classrooms. I look forward to providing support to Woodland for the remainder of this school year, and to help with the transition as Woodland selects its next long-term principal."
Dr. Milrod will serve as Principal at Woodland through the end of the school year.
Students, staff, and families enjoyed Worcester's annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) Fair this month.
To reinforce positive behavior in the cafeteria, hallways and special area classes, Skyview students are earning Bingo cards when the homeroom is demonstrating Pillarific characteristics in each of these areas. On Friday morning, Dr. Berical plays school-wide Bingo over the morning announcements until there is a fifth grade homeroom winner and a sixth grade homeroom winner.
The winning homerooms can vote on a reward as a class. Rewards consist of but are not limited to:
- Playing an organized game of dodgeball or gaga with Dr. Berical and Mr. Conran
- Having a class lunch with Dr. Berical and Mr. Conran (this includes a pass to the front of the lunch line for the day)
- Choosing a school-wide spirit theme day
- Extra recess during an “F” day Hawk Huddle
- Board Game Hawk Huddle with Dr. Berical and Mr. Conran
Skyview’s Spring SEL Cohort began the week of January 29, 2024! A new team of Skyview teachers are attending training on how to embed social/emotional teaching strategies into our daily instruction to help build a positive classroom community.
Skyview is excited to celebrate “Proud To Be Me Week”, beginning February 5 through February 9th. Each day will be a spirit-themed day tied to personal pride. In addition, teachers will share their career journey with their classes on Wednesday, February 7 so that our students can learn about why their teachers are proud to be educators!
MLK Day of Service
Arcola students and Methacton community volunteers honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King by sponsoring a day of service on Monday, January 15th. Students, families, and faculty members were invited to help Arcola's Philanthropy Club and Connection Club assemble sock rolls for the homeless. We exceeded our goal of assembling 1,000 Sock Rolls!
Inter-County Band Concert
Eight talented band students from Arcola and MHS were selected to perform with the 68th Annual Inter-County Band on January 27 at Perkiomen Valley M.S. West. The 100+ member band, comprised of top musicians in grades 7, 8, and 9 from eleven school districts in Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties, holds three rehearsals and then performs a full concert.
Electric Car Club Goes to the Philly Auto Show
Methacton High School’s Electric Car Club had two student-built electric cars featured in an exhibit at the Philadelphia Auto Show. 6ABC spoke with the club sponsor, Mr. Savitz, and club members ahead of the annual event.
MHS Element Student Magazine Wins Superior Distinction
Congratulations to Methacton High School's literary arts magazine, Element! The student-run magazine has been recognized as a SUPERIOR magazine by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for the Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) Contest.
This year, schools in 46 states and five countries nominated 375 student magazines. Magazines from middle school, high school, and higher education were welcomed for the 2023 contest.
The REALM program publicly recognizes excellent literary magazines produced by students with the support of their teachers. REALM is designed to encourage all schools to develop literary magazines that celebrate the art and craft of writing.
You can purchase your copy of Element at these locations:
MHS Awarded Female Diversity Award
Methacton High School was recently awarded CollegeBoard's Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. The honor recognizes the outstanding work Methacton High School is doing to engage more female students in computer science. A special shout-out also goes to Computer Science teacher, Mr. Kevin Metz. 100% of Mr. Metz’s students received a 3 or higher in Computer Science Principles.