School Board Notes
Meetings in Review
Dr. David Zerbe, Superintendent of Schools, presented a summary of the upcoming strategic planning effort this fall. His emphasis was targeted at ensuring stakeholder involvement. He stated that the district will use a research-based survey instrument to gather feedback from stakeholder groups and will be seeking input in the form of focus group meetings beginning in October. Similar to the effort nearly 6 years ago, members of the public will be encouraged to sign up to participate in any one of 8 educational or operational focus groups. Discussions will be led to develop strategies that help us ensure an exceptional Methacton School District experience for all.
Dr. Zerbe also shared that the focus group structure is similar to what transpired a few years ago, however, this time around, we are injecting a game-changing endeavor -- a targeted discussion and a formulation of a concept - that if realized, will increase our distinction from most of our neighboring schools and will support an increase in district ranking. Dr. Zerbe said: “We will have a focus group to help us further develop a Methacton STEM Academy. One that is comprehensive and will provide extraordinary opportunities for students and STEM focused companies in the greater region.” He emphasized that we need to leverage our high-caliber teaching staff, our proximity to major global pharma and other STEM industries, and bring in our parents who work each and every day in a STEM- related field to help us organize, plan and realize our future - to build a Methacton STEM Academy.
New Staff Video
Dr. Walsh, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, shared a video to introduce the new instructional staff this school year. This was completed as part of the new employee induction program and is a great way to introduce our staff to the public.
School Start Update
Dr. Angstadt, Dr. Walsh and Mr. Regina provided a summary of the school start, which provided details on educational, COVID-19 protocol and mental health services, as well as operational matters. Dr. Walsh shared the various introductory activities that will be at the forefront of our students’ return to in- person schooling, a brief update on technology, staff in-service and professional learning. He also shared that we have 57 students district wide enrolled in strictly online asynchronous instruction.
Dr. Angstadt shared the contact tracing protocols that our nurses will follow as well as a mask guide and recommendations on voluntary testing. In terms of testing, Dr. Angstadt and -- later in the evening -- Dr. Zerbe shared that the recommendation for voluntary testing of all adults and voluntary testing of student athletes be provided under the county’s Ace-It Program. Other potential testing resources may become available later in the year and will come before the Board prior to implementation.
Mr. Regina, Assistant Superintendent, covered an update on staffing, safety protocols, and use of outdoor spaces. He provided that all of our professional positions have been filled, that all staff will be trained in a number of safety protocols and that we have made a commitment to the use of outdoor spaces for teacher/classroom use in order to allow for mask breaks throughout the day.
Lower Providence Township Recommendation – Audubon Elementary School
Mr. Peter McFarland, Township Supervisor for Lower Providence Township, presented an overview of the conceptual status and plan for the township leasing of the Audubon Elementary school, making improvements and turning the space into a community center. Mr. McFarland reviewed several of the general conditions. He shared that the conversation between the township and school district started more than two years ago, with both entities having met on several occasions, but their efforts were cut short due to the pandemic. Mr. McFarland suggested that the school district and the township revisit these matters and engage solicitors from both entities to finish drafting an agreement. Mr. McFarland reported that the township would be seeking donors to address the renovations necessary to properly prepare the facility for use by the community. He mentioned that the township is interested in the main or original portion of the facility and that this whole process of reaching an amicable agreement, raising of the funds, completion of the renovations and fully occupying the site will take more than a year.
Dr. Zerbe informed the Board at the voting meeting that he will work with Ms. Aubrey – Larcinese, Board President, Mr. Navarrete, Property Committee Chairperson, and the district solicitor to re-start the conversation that will lead to a draft of the agreement. Dr. Zerbe mentioned that a draft of the agreement will allow the district and the township to weigh the risks and rewards projected from such an agreement in advance of a potential final agreement.
Fidevia provided the Board with an update on the construction projects at Arrowhead Elementary School and Eagleville Elementary School. Click here to read the August 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.