In The Q
SCHOOL BOARD NEWSLETTER: BACK TO SCHOOL 2019-20
Welcome back everyone!
A letter from School Board President Steaven Klein
Dear parents, students, teachers and staff,
I’m happy to welcome everyone to the start of the 2019-20 school year! Many of our professional educators have worked through the summer in academic coaching workshops, support staff training, coaching our sports teams and marching band. In addition, our New Teacher Academy got to work in mid-August to acclimate our latest professionals to the Quakertown Community School District. Thanks to everyone for your dedication to the students in our school community.
As we embark on a new school year, I wanted to touch on one of the Administration’s core goals: the Culture of Safety, Security and Wellness. It includes the always important safety and security of all school buildings and the central office. But you can’t have that without student wellness.
Along those lines, QCSD continues to add Student Assistance Program (SAP) educators and additional resources for the care of our students. Prior to last year, the District had one SAP educator. Last year we added two more, for the middle school and high school levels. In 2019-20, we’ve added two more, to have two each at the elementary and high school levels. In addition, a second Board Certified Behavior Analyst has joined our team, and we have two additional special education teachers.
These hires are proving our commitment to the mental health needs of our approximately 5,150 students. At our August 8 School Board meeting, Melissa Groden, director of prevention, training and education for The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, thanked the Board for approving additional resources for student wellness. ”We are very excited,” she said, “and pleased to have five SAP counselors in the district. The work they have done this past year has been amazing.”
At our August 22 meeting, the Board unanimously approved the addition of two positions: full-day kindergarten at Pfaff and a second-grade section at Trumbauersville. These decisions are not always easy, as we weigh the needs of students and teachers versus the cost to taxpayers. But lower class sizes, especially in the early grades, is an important goal we strive to achieve.
If you haven’t attended a School Board meeting, please consider doing so. Here are the Board and Committee schedules. In addition, videos of Board meetings can be found here.
I’m proud to be President of this School Board, one of nine individuals who care deeply about the education of our young people. Again, welcome back, stay safe and have a great school year!
Former QCSD teacher Curt Wallace, 69
Former Quakertown Community School District teacher Curt Wallace passed away on August 15. School Board President Steaven Klein read this statement during the August 22 meeting:
"Curtis James Wallace, 69, passed away on August 15 at Foxdale Village, State College, PA, after a 1½-year battle with esophageal cancer.
Mr. Wallace taught for 33 years in the Quakertown Community School District, the last 31 years at the former Milford Middle School.
He served as Student Council advisor, Yearbook advisor and director of spring plays and musicals. He was also the longtime scorekeeper for the Quakertown Community High School boys basketball team.
While I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Wallace, I’ve read many of the posts on the QCSD Facebook page. It’s easy to see that he was a well-liked, respected and dedicated teacher. Our condolences go out to his family.
In lieu of cards and flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research."
Drug Counselor to Board: Student Vaping epidemic 'came out of nowhere'
“No one was prepared for the amount of students that were to be engaged in vaping on school property and then coming into a dependency on the product itself,” said Melissa Groden, director of prevention, training and education for The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania.
She said students are vaping - ingesting favored chemicals, nicotine or marijuana - in bathrooms, the back of classrooms, hallways and other public locations. Much of their use goes undetected because many of the devices do not emit an odor or smoke like a cigarette, she said.
For the full story, please click here.
For more vaping resources, please click here.
2 assistant principals hired for qchs
Additions of Jennifer Carolla and Adam Dinney complete high school’s administrative team
The Quakertown Community School District has hired two assistant principals to give the high school three new administrative leaders when school opens on September 3.
Jennifer Carolla and Adam Dinney were unanimously approved by the School Board on August 8. Mrs. Carolla was the Counseling Department Chairperson at Emmaus High School in the East Penn School District, and Mr. Dinney was assistant principal at William Allen High School in the Allentown School District.
They join new principal Mattias van 't Hoenderdaal in forming the high school’s leadership team, joining assistant principal Jason Magditch and Juan Soto, a Teacher On Special Assignment. Mr. Magditch was acting principal the last three months of the school year when principal Dr. David Finnerty became assistant superintendent of the Twin Valley School District.
Please click here to read the full story.
Facilities Committee considers baseball field concept in Richland
In the last two years, the Quakertown Community High School varsity baseball team has played only five of its 20 regular-season games on its home field, Memorial Stadium, because of wet conditions. Two years ago, the junior varsity only played two home games.
To rub salt in the wounds, the Panthers were forced to give up home-field advantage in playoff games and travel to a neutral site because of field conditions.
“It’s been embarrassing,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said.
Help may be on the way.
At an August 1 meeting of the Facilities Committee, Tom Marino of the Richland Township Parks and Recreation Board gave a 45-minute presentation about three parks that could potentially house baseball fields. One included a Station Road property that could include a walking trail to the high school. He described the land as dry, with a sloping hill and “really strong” soil. With different municipal uses allowed on different properties, Dr. Harner said it is important to have an attorney determine what “municipal use” means. “It would have to be in our favor,” he said
QCHS baseball coach Jonathan Pallone said the PIAA will eventually be expanding the 20-game regular-season to 26 games. He said he schedules non-league games away because the fields are not playable in March.
Mr. Pallone also said the most important consideration is to make the field an artificial surface. “It’s very important to turf it,” he said. “If we’re not going to turf it, it’s not worth doing. I want it done right for the kids.”
While many questions still need to be answered and the administration is looking for input from the Board on exploring the concept further, Facilities Committee Chair Kaylyn Mitchell said the idea “sounds like an exciting prospect for our baseball team.” Board President Steaven Klein said once the municipal use is determined, “it’s going to kind of tell us if we can go forward with it.”
School Board creates Goals Committee
The Quakertown Community School Board is adding another committee.
The Goals Committee was created at the August 8th meeting at the suggestion of Director Ron Jackson. In previous meetings, Board Member Kaylyn Mitchell has pushed for more input from the Board in the Administration's goal-setting.
“Typically, the administration will present us their goals for next year with very little input from the Board as to what they are,” Mr. Jackson said.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner explained that most district goals are “aligned with our standing committees.” During those committee sessions, he said, the Administration discusses “what we’ve been doing and what we’re planning on doing.”
He suggested the Goals Committee be made up of the committee chairs. Board President Steaven Klein appointed Dwight Anderson, Robert Diliberto, Mr. Jackson, Jon Kern, Mrs. Mitchell, and Jennifer Weed to the committee.
They’re scheduled to meet on September 10, October 22 and November 12 in 2019 in Board Caucus Room #3 at 7 p.m.
Board Vice President speaks out against compressor station
At the August 8th meeting, School Board Vice President David Ochmanowicz Jr. had some strong words for the compressor station in West Rockhill and wants the Board to do what it can to prevent “the pollution factory” from becoming a reality.
He said the proposed Adelphia Gateway compressor station in West Rockhill Township will be “spitting out toxic chemicals 24/7. … We have students who will be living directly around this facility. And students inside (Trumbauersville Elementary School will be) less than 2 miles downwind. ….This is a very dangerous thing to have in our community.”
In April, the state Department of Environmental Protection approved plans for the facility, which includes the conversion of an existing pipeline from oil to natural gas.
Not all Members agreed with Mr. Ochmanowicz's assessment. Director Jon Kern said he was “overexaggerating” the situation and Board Member Ron Jackson asked, “What would you have us do to prevent this from happening?”
Mr. Ochmanowicz suggested District Solicitor Jeffrey Garton “file an injunction to have them not open it” or come up with another potential solution.
Mr. Garton said he has been working with West Rockhill, which has fought against the facility, to see where the district can be helpful.
“I’m glad we’re working with West Rockhill, but I feel we should be doing whatever we can on our own rather than just following their lead. I don’t find that to be enough.”
Here's when the board meets
For Committee meetings, please click here.
To view Board meeting videos, please click here.