Administrative Updates

... from the Cheltenham School District (November 19, 2019)

The following information has been collected from CSD administrative departments and reflects updates on key programs, priorities and initiatives. Items specifically related to the progress of Cheltenham’s strategic plan, "Five Pathways, One Destination," are noted along with specific plan pathways. To access the plan and a description of each pathway, click here.

INCLEMENT WEATHER PROCEDURES AND NOTIFICATIONS

  • Regardless what Mother Nature may have in store for Cheltenham this winter, the district wants everyone to be as informed and prepared as possible for when the inevitable first snow day robocall is made. Click through for info on the snow day decision-making and notification processes. The district understands its decisions surrounding inclement weather have a huge impact on families and staff, and the district strives to announce any schedule changes as early as possible. Read more>

BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS

CALENDAR COMMITTEE

  • 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 were shared at the October Educational Affairs meeting. The next step is for the board to take administration's recommendations into account as the adoption process moves forward.

HOMEWORK COMMITTEE

  • The Homework Committee will convene twice at the Administration Building (2000 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park) in the next few months to review findings from this past spring's homework survey and develop revision recommendations for the homework policy for a presentation at the February Education Affairs Committee meeting. Following the Educational Affairs presentation, recommendations will move to the Policy Committee then to the board for an adoption vote. The next meetings are Monday, Dec. 9 @ 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 6 @ 10 a.m.

POLICY ADOPTIONS

At the Tuesday, Nov. 12 legislative board meeting, the CSD Board of School Directors adopted the following:



  • Policy 211 Student Accident Insurance: Authorizes the board to appropriate district funds for accident insurance related to student participation in athletic events or games; the practice or preparation for such athletic events or games; and the transportation to/from such athletic events or games, including practices.

  • Policy 212 Assessment and Reporting of Student Progress: Board recognizes assessing and reporting student progress and achievement can help them, teachers and parents/guardians understand and evaluate a student’s progress toward educational goals and academic standards, and that communication between school and home is a vital component in the growth and education of each student. Policy 213 will be combined with this policy.

  • Policy 308 Employment Contract/Board Resolution: Prescribes employment conditions for district personnel. Nothing in this policy is intended to conflict with the terms and conditions of any employment contract or collective bargaining agreement. Policies 308/408/508 will be merged into this new Policy 308.

OFFICE OF EDUCATION

  • Director of Secondary Education Charlene Collins attended the Urban League of Philadelphia's "Increasing Diversity at All Levels of Education Pipeline event at Drexel University. Adam Schott (pictured) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education delivered the keynote about the goals of the state's "Every Student Succeeds Act" plan: Transparency, Innovation and Educator Pipeline. The state is working with districts in need of support to provide clarity and resources. Schott highlighted with the decrease of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs from 2009 (39,000) to 2017 (13,000). Of the 13,000 enrolled in 2017, only 3,400 graduated. The state continues to work with colleges/universities and districts on alternative program development to increase the teacher pipeline, especially for teachers of color. Dean of Drexel's School of Education Dr. Penny Hammrich shared how Drexel is working to prepare teachers for the demands of the classroom. Click for a teacher diversity resource. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]

  • CSD Director of Secondary Education Charlene Collins and STEM Supervisor Dr. Brian Reilly attend a Visible Learning professional learning workshop, which covered the tenants of visible learning and the impact of the teacher’s role within a classroom. The workshop included an examination of teacher strategies, leadership styles and student activities relative to their impact on student achievement, and provided tools to interpret how the vast collection of research on educational practices can influence student learning, and established a foundation of understanding of the Visible Learning concept. Visible Learning is the work of John Hattie (pictured), who examined influences related to student learning outcomes. These influences are ranked from those with very positive effects on those with negative effects. Hattie updates his rankings every six months. The workshop also spoke to the role of the school administrator as an instructional leader in impacting student achievement. [Strategic Plan Pathway 3: Professional Learning] [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]

SPECIAL EDUCATION

  • CSD Elementary Special Education Supervisor Christina Lewis is scheduling early intervention transition meetings for students receiving early intervention services through the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU). Twenty-six children are eligible to transition to kindergarten this coming fall. The multidisciplinary evaluation team (MDE) will hold transition meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 4, Wednesday, Jan. 8 and 22 and Thursday, Feb. 6 and 20 to discuss the district's evaluation process with families of early intervention students. [Strategic Plan Pathway 2: Student Achievement]
  • On October 23, a representative from Pennsylvania State Senator Art Haywood (pictured) office visited the CHS Life Skills program to introduce students to work-based opportunities available through the Senator’s office. Life Skills students participate in transition/work-based activities as an ever-increasingly more significant portion of their Individualized Education Programs (IEP) as they approach graduation. As such, the program's teachers, transition coordinator and administration continuously explore programs and opportunities to broaden the variety of work-based opportunities and community-based instructional activities related to optimal transition planning. Pursuing new work-based opportunities within the Senator’s office presents an exciting and new relationship between the District and broader community [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction] [Strategic Plan Pathway 4: Holistic Experiences] [Strategic Pan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]


  • On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Elementary Special Education Supervisor Christina Lewis and Wyncote Principal Dr. Crystal Clark attended the professional learning workshop "Proactive Approaches to School Discipline Using Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion." The workshop focused on alternatives to suspensions and expulsions, as well as the benefits of considering equitable disciplinary practices via a school wide positive behavior intervention system framework. The key responsibility areas for implementing a multi-tiered system of support for behavior with a specific focus on culturally sustaining practices were reviewed and discussed. At the end of the workshop, participants were able to define and engage in strategies to reduce the need for suspensions and expulsions. [Strategic Plan Pathway 3: Professional Learning] [Strategic Plan Pathway 4: Holistic Experiences]

Student Services

  • Secondary Home and School Visitor Jessica Keene attended the "Paving the Way to Educational Success" conference in mid-October. Sessions focused on issues surrounding students experiencing homelessness and foster care. Keene attended sessions on understanding trauma, post-secondary opportunities for students experiencing homelessness, and a child’s journey through the foster care system. The workshop provided practical solutions to alleviating barriers for students in the foster care system and those who are homeless. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 2 Student Achievement] [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
  • Director of Student Services Dr. Cheryl Horsey presented on the district's registration and residency referral process at the October School District/Township liaison meeting, and underscored the importance of district stakeholders’ compliance with residency requirements. She requested township commissioners inform their constituencies about the residency referral process. Additionally, Dr. Horsey shared that the Office of Student Services maintains information on an array of community resources, such as food pantries, health information and housing for families in need. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 4 Holistic Experiences]
  • On Friday, Nov. 1, Supervisor of Counseling Dr. Ray Realdine attended the ACT's half-day workshop on college and career readiness at Drexel University. The workshop's theme was "Learn, Measure, and Grow: Turning Your ACT Data into Action.” The workshop highlighted new developments through the ACT program, such as: ACT Academy, a personalized online learning tool for K-12 educators and students focusing on college and career readiness; ACT Certified Educator program, an innovative credentialing program for schools who want their teachers to have formalized training in holistic understanding of the ACT; and ACT Tessera, a 30-minute assessment system measuring students' social and emotional skills and providing insights into school climate and students' sense of belonging. [Strategic Plan Pathway: 2 Student Achievement]
  • The CHS Counseling and Special Education Department hosted their annual college and career fair on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the high school. All freshmen through seniors who attended had the opportunity to explore more than 55 colleges, universities, trade schools and employers. Arcadia, Millersville and Saint Joseph's, universities offering two-year post-secondary certificate program for students with intellectual disabilities, attended for the first time. [Strategic Plan Pathway 2: Student Achievement]

PBL & STEM

  • Springfield Township high school and middle school teachers toured the CHS Project Based Learning space to see the program in action and brainstorm around project planning. CHS teachers provided a detailed explanation of their planning process. The collaborative session concluded with a collective 50 Projects protocol, which is an ideating process to aid in identifying potential future projects. Teachers reported the experience was mutually beneficial and a productive use of time.
  • CSD Supervisor of Gifted Education and Professional Learning Matthew Pimental has been working with the Cedarbrook Challenge Consultants to formulate and finalize streamlined gifted goals centered on a series of S.T.E.M.-related experiences which seek to link the needs of gifted learners to the intersections of mathematics, engineering and science. [Strategic Plan Pathway 1: Curriculum and Instruction]
  • Chief Science Officers at Cheltenham High School recently conducted their second meeting of the school year. The meeting was focused on a review of the action plan developed during the leadership training institute at Arcadia University and the identification of the next steps toward completing the action plan for submission to the high school principal. Upon approval, additional communication will occur with at least one elementary school principal, as 4th-grade students are the target audience for the implementation of the current plan. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communications and Engagement]
  • STEM Supervisor Dr. Brian Reilly participated in the Charette protocol for PBL11's next project. The team presented using the 1619 Project as a framework to examine changing narratives in American society. The students anticipate visualizing aspects of the different essays through the development of quilts inspired by the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

OFFICE OF INNOVATION

  • CSD Supervisor of Instructional Technology Brandon Lutz and technology staff development specialist Lisa Rock are creating videos focused on internet safety and digital citizenship for parents/guardians and the community. They will create a series of five- to seven-minute videos to be shared via social media and through the district's television station (Comcast 42/Verizon 1960). Topics will include passwords, how social media can impact getting into college, apps that students are using parents/guardians should know about; device controls, holistic parental controls, sexting, talking to children about their online Identity and privacy. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communications and Engagement]

SAFETY GRANTS

  • Director of Communications Kevin Kaufman worked with Safety and Security Manager Jon White to submit for two grant applications to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's School Safety and Security grant program. For the "meritorious" grant proposal, the district requested its maximum $45,000 for a safety vulnerability assessment, radios, cameras and a one-year subscription to Ruvna. For the competitive grant, the district submitted requests for trauma-informed counseling training, access control and burglar alarm upgrades, and funding for a school resource officer (in the form of Cheltenham Police Officers working overtime) totaling CSD's maximum allowable request of $450,000.

BOARD MEETING LIVE STREAM

  • In an effort to broaden its reach and include more individuals in the governance process, the Cheltenham School District now live streams its legislative board meeting. Viewers can "tune in" at cheltenham.org/stream at 7 p.m. on board meeting Tuesdays. [Strategic Plan Pathway 5: Communication and Engagement]

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

  • 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:


December 10, 2019 | January 14, 2020 | February 11, 2020 |

March 10, 2020 | April 14, 2020 | May 12, 2020 | June 9, 2020