... from the Cheltenham School District (October 15, 2019)
COMMITTEES AND MEETINGS
- The Office of Education hosted three meetings in recent weeks to solicit feedback, comments and suggestions concerning the "Start of School" policy under consideration. The policy calls for formalizing the start of school with regard to when Labor Day falls. Community input collected from those meetings will be shared at tonight's Educational Affairs meeting, after which administration will put forth a recommendation on which the board will vote. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
CHS Student Council
- Superintendent Dr. Wagner Marseille, CHS Principal Dr. Renato Lajara and CSD Director of Communications Kevin Kaufman met with student council leadership on Monday, Sept. 16 about myriad topics.
Student council and administration will be partnering to develop an awareness campaign surrounding sustainability. Ideas for the campaign included student-produced videos broadcast during homerooms and grade level meetings; social media campaigns; age-appropriate recycling bins for classrooms and common areas; reducing paper use by finding a balance between paper and digital handouts; and student body-wide contests. Dr. Lajara and his team will work with the student council to launch access to the new courtyard adjacent to the media center.
The role of student council at the legislative board meetings and the proposal from previous student council leadership to expand the role of students on the board was discussed. The students shared they are not ready to move in that direction and their goal for the 19-20 school year is to ensure student representatives attend committee meetings and report back to the student body.
Cultural Proficiency and Equity Student Ambassadors
- High school principal Dr. Renato Lajara, cultural competency consultant Dr. Barbara Moore Williams, leadership from the Ambler and Cheltenham NAACP, high school vice principal Craig Metcalfe and Upper Dublin Superintendent Dr. Steve Yanni met to discuss the launch of the Montgomery County Cultural Proficiency and Equity Student Ambassadors. The purpose of this program is to provide space for Cheltenham, North Penn, Wissahickon, Hatboro Horsham, Norristown and Upper Dublin students to identify culturally proficient beliefs, values and practices and learn strategies to respond to culturally insensitive events, equity, and social justice issues which impact them.
Office of Education
- Danielson Group framework specialist Dr. Carl Atkinson, former assistant superintendent at the School District of Springfield Township, is developing a yearlong schedule to spend half days with each principal and assistant principal in the observation and provision of teachers feedback. [Strategic Plan Pathway 3: Professional Learning]
- CSD Director of Secondary Education Charlene Collins, CHS Social Studies Department Chair Mark Hoff, and CSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tamara Thomas Smith attended the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards working group to help ensure inclusion of social justice standards in the Humanities curriculum as a precursor to the creation of a social justice course at CHS. Ms. Collins, Mr. Hoff and Dr. Smith have scheduled a follow up meeting prior to engaging grades 6-12 teachers in the development of Social Studies curricula. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction] [Strategic Plan Pathway 3: Professional Learning]
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit is finalizing plans for a full-day Pre-K Counts program at Wyncote Elementary School, which was selected as the site because of space availability. With 18 students from within the district, the program will have a dedicated entrance and exit, in-class lunch program, and will utilize Wyncote's outdoor kindergarten playground space. The MCIU will provide a certified teacher, teaching assistant, furniture, technology and Wi-Fi. Pre-K Counts, which also operates in the North Penn and Upper Merion school districts, is responsible for curriculum, instruction and student assessment. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
- CSD Supervisor of Gifted Education and Professional Development Matt Pimental is in the process of surveying 25 local suburban school districts to determine what local practices are being utilized for high school gifted learners. Though a full analysis has not been conducted yet, completed results will inform a process of taking a critical look at the district's practices.
- Cedarbrook has been identified as a Title I school. CSD Director of Secondary Education Charlene Collins met with CBK Principal Marcy Hockfield and CBK Math teachers
Enonge Mallard and Kristina Midzak to discuss the Beyond Bell program at CBK, which will provide targeted Math assistance for students identified for intervention support after school this school year. This course will support select students not enrolled in Math Lab and Math Seminar. [Strategic Plan Pathway 2: Student Achievement]
- Matt Pimental, supervisor of gifted education and professional development, has been working with the Cedarbrook Challenge Consultants to formulate and finalize streamlined gifted goals centered on a series of STEM-related experiences which seek to link the needs of gifted learners specifically in relation to the intersections of mathematics, engineering and science.
- CSD Director of Student Services Dr. Cheryl Horsey represented Cheltenham at the Regional Adolescent Sleep Needs Coalition meeting on Monday, Sept. 16. The meeting was the organization’s first for this school year and featured a presentation by sports psychologist Dr. Mitchell Greene from GreenePsych Clinical and Sports Psychology, who discussed the impact of sleep on student-athletes.
Updates were provided on the following legislation: Senate Resolution No. 417 calls for an advisory committee to conduct a study on secondary school start time in Pennsylvania. PA Senate Bill 591 proposes amending the Public School Code to reduce the 10-mile requirement for transporting non-district pupils outside a school district to five miles. PA House Bill 1599 permits students to satisfy their physical education requirements through interscholastic sports. [Strategic Plan Pathway 2: Student Achievement] [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
- The district has re-established its partnership with Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters for dental services. For this school year, Doc Bressler's will conduct mandated dental examinations for students entering kindergarten and first, third and seventh grades, and arranging half-hour dental hygiene and nutrition programs for elementary students. All services are free. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
- CSD Director of Student Services Dr. Cheryl Horsey participated in a virtual professional learning experience and book study on social and emotional learning (SEL) featuring author Meena Srinivasan, who shared about SEL and mindfulness awareness practices. The author of SEL Every Day, Srinivasan guides educators through creating a relationship-centered classroom; utilizing instructional practices to promote SEL across academic content; and making SEL explicit in lesson planning and engaging in reflective practice. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
- With a new Einstein Healthcare Network liaison collaborating with the District, CHS Athletic Director Suni Blackwell and Director of Student Services Dr. Cheryl Horsey have been negotiating to solidify contractual arrangements relating to physician coverage at home football games. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
- The quarterly attendance secretaries meetings commenced on Wednesday, Sept. 18 and included a review of district policy and procedures to ensure consistency among buildings regarding attendance policy implementation. Future meetings are Wed., Dec. 11, Wednesday, Feb. 26, and Thursday, April 30. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 2 Student Achievement]
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Sweet Stevens attorney Andy Faust presented to special education administrators, speech and language therapist and occupational therapists on an intervention model and eligibility and exit criteria. A follow-up meeting to revise district procedures is scheduled with Dr. Beverly Gallagher, CSD Director of Special Education. [Strategic Plan Pathway 3: Professional Learning]
- STEM Supervisor Dr. Brian Reilly supported students in Andrea Anderson’s eighth grade Math class who are designing and building cars as a means of exploring mathematics concepts of equations and expressions. Some of the car parts were designed in TinkerCad and 3-D printed. Dr. Reilly met with eighth grade Science teacher Andre Clarke to discuss using computer-aided design (CAD) and 3-D printing to build models of classroom furniture for lessons on scale and measurement. Reilly met with 10th grade English teacher Lyndie Dubbs about a large student-designed and constructed mosaic which will be installed in the PBL hallway at CHS. The mosaic will be framed with student-created typography as part of the “Invisible Americans” project. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]
- PBL11's first exhibition of the school year emphasized the tenets of environmental science with a connection to the students sources of mindfulness and inspiration. The project included visits to Curtis Arboretum for students to capture their connection to nature through photography. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]
Office of Innovation
- The CSD Office of innovation updated its lending library, which is intended to provide K-12 teachers with the opportunity to infuse technology into their lessons, activities and projects without a building-level resource investment. As new curricula are developed, model lessons with the use of equipment and supplies from the Lending Library will be shared across content areas and grade levels. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]
- CSD STEM Supervisor Dr. Brian Reilly recently participated in the Montgomery County PA SEED Leadership meeting and Chief Science Officers (CSO) workgroup meeting. The meetings included updates to the following: workplace video creation to be shared with teachers, students and parents; reports on several STEM awareness events; and the Leadership Training Institute for CSOs at Arcadia University. Additionally, the group was introduced to the renovated warehouse called Flux, which Dr. Reilly has arranged for PBL 7 to utilize as a potential launch of an English project set to commence in the second marking period. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communications and Engagement]
- STEM Supervisor Dr. Brian Reilly installed a ShapeOko, a computer numerically controlled router, at Cedarbrook. Students will have the opportunity to create designs using the computer-aided design program Carbide Create. Those designs can be fabricated with the interface between the computer-aided manufacturing program Carbide Motion and the CNC router. The next step in the implementation of the ShapeOko is professional learning for teachers. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]
At the Monday, Oct. 7 legislative meeting, the CSD Board of School Directors adopted the following amended policy:
- Policy 105 Curriculum Development, in which the board recognizes its responsibility for the development, assessment and improvement of the District’s educational program. To this end, the curriculum shall be evaluated, developed, and modified on a continuing basis and in accordance with a plan for curriculum improvement.
The Policy Committee will meet next on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at 8 a.m. at the CSD Administration Building (2000 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park).
- Director of Communications Kevin Kaufman met with CHS Librarian Tom Cook about plans to open the renovated library, which Cooke is considering renaming the Joseph W. Rodgers (former CHS principal) Culture and Resource Center. Kaufman and Cook discussed a grand opening event for invited guests to take place in mid-November or mid-January that could be tied to an evening athletic event. The event would include a gathering in the HS foyer, remarks from leadership and a ribbon-cutting, followed by student-led tours and light refreshments.
- Kaufman spoke with Supervisor of Instructional Technology Brandon Lutz about hosting a parent presentation on internet safety and digital citizenship. The event would be held in the Administration Building auditorium, from which the event could be live-streamed. The two are looking at early to mid-November for the event. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
19-20 Board of School Directors Guide
With the November 5 election fast approaching, please take the time to read what being a school board member is all about in the 2019-20 Board of School Directors guide. Five of the nine seats on the CSD Board of School Directors are up for election. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
New Family Portal on Cheltenham.org
- Cheltenham School District has a new family portal for the 2019-2020 school year. Find it at cheltenham.org/familyportal. The enhanced and streamlined portal provides a one-stop shop for families looking for school district information, from board agendas and the CSD mobile app to parent/guardian groups and online payments. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
Legislative Board Meeting Live Steam
- In an effort to broaden its reach and include more individuals in the governance process, the Cheltenham School District has launched a live stream pilot for all legislative board meeting which began with the Monday, Oct. 7 meeting. For future board meetings, viewers can "tune in" at cheltenham.org/stream at 7 p.m. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]
Mark Your Calendars: 2019-20 School Board Meetings
The Board of School Directors of Cheltenham School District generally holds its legislative meetings on the second Tuesday of the month (except for July) at the District Administration Building (2000 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park) at 7 p.m. The reminder of this year's schedule is below: