Panther Pride

District Newsletter

Message from Superintendent Donna Dunar

May 1, 2020

Dear Students, Parents, Guardians, and Community,

Greetings! I hope you and your family are safe and well and keeping good spirits. As we enter what will be the 7th week of school closure under trying circumstances, I continue to be inspired by our community’s grace and resilience.

Permit me to thank you for your patience and goodwill as we navigate teaching and learning from home for our students and teachers. While the technology is serving us well, it is a huge adjustment for all of us – for students, teachers, and principals. Nonetheless, everyone is doing their very best. Thank you parents and guardians for all you are doing for balancing home, work, and helping to keep our students focused with their classwork.

Thank you to our teachers, principals, and staff who have made every effort to make learning relevant and challenging. More importantly, thank you to our teachers and staff for their caring and dedication – for making a difference in students’ lives during this altered state for teaching and learning.

Over the last month, we have been grappling with how we should hold end of the year activities. In virtual meetings with students and parents, we have collaborated on thoughts and ideas. We are all disappointed that the school year was cut short so abruptly; that our traditional activities have to be adapted. As a parent of a graduating senior myself, I understand this disappointment. On the bright side, what matters most of all is keeping you safe and healthy. What matters most is that you are poised to seize the day and embark upon your dreams and aspirations for tomorrow.

We have amazing, wonderful students who are working hard each day; who are shining examples of kindness, service and helping others. We have the best teachers and administrators who have put students first while balancing their own families on the home front. We have many caring people in our community that deserve a shout-out such as: Mrs. Leanne Kalb, who leads Panther Pack with many student and staff volunteers to ensure families have food essentials on a regular basis. Thank you Panther Pack for making a difference! Al’s Pizza of Hampden has donated delicious pizzas and nutritious food items through Panther Pack as well. Thank you Al’s for your generosity and caring for our community!

This newsletter is intended to clarify and share information on some important topics. Please keep in mind that we will continue to make decisions collaboratively -- your input is essential to us as partners in the community.

Be well and safe.



Donna M. Dunar, Ed.D.


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

Reporting K-12 Student Progress - Final Grade Calculation

Students' final grades will be calculated based on an average of grades earned in Marking Periods 1, 2, and 3.

Marking Period 4 will not be calculated in the final grade. However, the Marking Period 4 work that you are doing now from home is still very important. While it will not be calculated for your final grade, the content is relevant to your future course of study. Your engagement with your teachers and your hard work are of great value to the continuity of your education. We encourage students to continue to give their best efforts through the end of the school year.

For High School Students:

Students' final grades will be calculated based on an average of grades earned in Marking Period 1, 2, and 3 as well as the grade earned for their Midterm Exams.

Transcripts will reflect final grades as described above.

End of the Year Activities

Senior Prom:

The senior prom was scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2nd. Disappointingly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine's guidelines, we are not permitted to hold the senior prom.

Senior Awards Night:

This will be held virtually on Wednesday, May 27th at 7:15pm and will be broadcast on YouTube. The link will be shared prior to the event. Actual distribution of the physical awards will take place at the high school on Monday, June 1st using a system in accordance with social distancing, health, and safety guidelines.

High School Graduation:

Please be assured that we recognize the significance of graduation ceremonies and that our foremost responsibility remains focused on keeping our students and families safe and healthy. We have formulated two possible courses of action, outlined below.

Plan A: In accordance with the current recommendations set forth by the Government of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a virtual graduation will take place on Friday, June 5th at 7:00pm on YouTube. The link will be distributed beforehand.

Plan B: Should restrictions be relaxed leading up to June 5th, then the district will explore a hybrid plan for graduation ceremonies, while still adhering to the recommendations set forth by the Government of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Health at that time.

Retrieval of Personal Items:

Students will be invited to pick up personal items from lockers, as well as any medications in the nurses' offices. Dates and times will be forthcoming concerning the retrieval of personal items in keeping with current safety guidelines.

Returning Books, Chromebooks, Uniforms, and Other School-Issued Materials:

The dates and times for the collection of school-issued materials will be forthcoming in keeping with current safety guidelines.

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We are so proud of the Class of 2020! Even though you are not physically in the building, you are an important part of the EPHS family! Thank you for all of the memories, dedication, and perseverance! We love you! #EPHSSeniorStrong

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Teacher Appreciation Week: May 3 - 9!

Thank you to our incredible EPASD teachers! We celebrate all that you do for our students, and are so appreciative of the amazing work you've done, especially through this unprecedented time. We look forward to being back in a non-virtual classroom with you!
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Nurse Appreciation Week: May 6 - 12!

We celebrate our wonderful school nurses this month, and thank them for always being a comforting presence to our students and in our schools. Thank you for all that you do!

Welcome to Katelynn Edger - EPASD's new Coordinator of Communications, Grants and Partnerships!

Please join us in welcoming our new Coordinator of Communications, Grants and Partnerships, Katelynn Edger.

Katelynn holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with concentrations in Management and Marketing, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, both from Elizabethtown College. The past five years, Katelynn has worked in the non-profit sector, most recently at YWCA Carlisle as their Fund Development Manager and Interim Executive Director. She brings to EPASD a great deal of experience in marketing and communications, donor and corporate relations, and writing and managing grants at the federal, state, and local levels. Katelynn has been an active member of the Carlisle Kiwanis Club Board of Directors for a number of years and has served in numerous committees and groups advocating for equality, racial and social justice, and underserved youth in Cumberland County.

Katelynn can be reached at We are excited to welcome Katelynn to our team, and look forward to working with her!

Celebrating 5 Years of Panther Pack!

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Even during this unprecedented time, our Panther Pack Program is still going strong! Thank you to our incredible group of students and staff, led by Leanne Kalb, for continuing to serve our EPASD families in need.

Want To Donate to Panther Pack?

Click to Donate Here -

When you donate, please make a notation for your gift to be directed to Panther Pack. Every little bit goes to help families in our East Penn community. Thank you in advance!

District Construction Projects

The district construction addition project to accommodate the move of 5th grade to East Pennsboro Elementary School and West Creek Hills Elementary School is still going strong. The renovation project to accommodate the new NJROTC program and enhancements to the musical arts department at the High School has also begun over the last few weeks. You can view pictures of the progress on the district website.

The turf project on the field adjacent to the District Administration Office has begun and should be ready for the fall sports season.

We are all so excited for the completion of these projects!

NNDCC (Navy National Defense Cadet Corps, JROTC) at EPASD

EPASD is anticipating approval for a new program of study entitled the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC). This program is more commonly known as the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) although this status must be achieved once Naval requirements are met at the District level.

The NJROTC program provides interested students in grades 9-12 with the opportunity to learn about government, national security, and good citizenship. It promotes habits of orderliness, self-discipline, and personal responsibility; and develops a high degree of personal honor, self-reliance, teamwork, and leadership. Although students taking NJROTC incur absolutely no obligation for any military service, participation in NJROTC enhances their chances to earn ROTC scholarships and appointments to the Military Academies, and provides for enlistment in a higher pay grade for those interested in military service.

“Our program mission is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.” – NJROTC Website

We are very excited for our students to have this opportunity beginning in the fall!

EPHS Baseball Player Featured on Baseball Card

Michael Morales, junior, who has been ranked as the pre-season MVP and the #1 Junior in the National Class of 2021 Rankings released by the Prep Baseball Report, is featured on his own baseball card! Panini Stars and Stripes published the baseball card, and Michael is only the second East Pennsboro student to be spotlighted on his own piece of nostalgia!

Congratulations, Michael!

Three EPHS Seniors Earn Girl Scout Gold Award

Three senior girls from Girl Scout Ambassador troop 11925 have earned their Gold Awards. This award is the highest achievement that girls can earn, and it requires that each girl develops and completes an independent project that encompasses a minimum of 100 service hours and is both new and sustainable. Kylie Knipe, Gery Schnarrs, and Lily Merendino have all worked tirelessly to earn this honor!

All three of these girls, in addition to the fourth member of the troop - Aimee Buffington, senior - are also involved in numerous other community service projects that benefit the EPHS community. Aimee is the overall co-chair of the EPHS MiniThon, and Kylie, Lily, and Gery are active members as committee chairs.

Throughout their high school careers, all four girls have successfully balanced their academics and participation in Varsity sports with consistent participation in service projects including Salvation Army Red Kettle bell-ringing, Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family Christmas program, Operation Shoebox, Caitlin's Smiles, Susquehanna Service Dogs, East Pennsboro Library Craft/Story Hour, The Littlest Community Center, Bethesda Mission Women's Shelter meal preparation/service, and Panther Pack.

Congratulations to all four girls on their achievements and leadership skills they have developed and improved upon throughout their years in scouting.

Kylie Knipe, Senior

Kylie Knipe worked with friends, family, and teachers at the high school to both design and build a rain garden on East Pennsboro School District property. This garden benefits the environment by aiding the issue of stormwater runoff. This sustainable project will help reduce pollution in our community for years to come.

Gery Schnarrs

Gery Schnarrs created a field hockey camp and clinic for younger girls in the East Pennsboro and surrounding areas to improve awareness and knowledge of the sport. She organized the events and worked with third parties to provide equipment and instructors for the camp. While she coaches the clinics herself, she has worked with area coaches to ensure the sustainability of the program for the future.

Lily Merendino

Lilly Merendino created Caring Closets at both EPASD elementary schools to provide students in need with gently used clothing. She collected, laundered, and sorted clothing by gender, size, and season to fill and restock the closets as needed. Once the Panther Pack facility gained more space, she moved the Closet to that facility and coordinated clothing distributions to be held during food distributions once per month. This sustainable project will continue to benefit students in the East Pennsboro School District.

Aimee Buffington

Aimee Buffington has been an active member of Girl Scout Ambassador Troop 11925 as well as an integral leader in the EPHS community.