A message from the Superintendent
September 13, 2023
Dear PV Families,
I hope this communication finds you well. With autumn soon upon us, get ready for cooler weather, colorful landscapes, and all things pumpkin! This week's message is lengthy, I ask that you bear with me as the information is important to share.
The District's mission is to cultivate inclusive school communities and empower students to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally. We are dedicated to creating an environment where students eagerly attend school and truly feel they belong.
Our student body is becoming increasingly diverse, mirroring trends in our local community, state, and nation. Since 2018, our District has experienced a rise in Asian, Hispanic, and multi-racial student populations. While the percentage of Black students has remained consistent, the percentage of White students has declined. Additionally, other student groups have undergone changes to include a growing percentage of economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, and those facing homelessness. Our District has seen a decline in the percentage of students qualifying for special education services from 2018 to 2022, as indicated in PA's Future Ready Index District Fast Facts.
We are also increasingly mindful of the diverse identities within our student body, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). This awareness has prompted the District to examine how it can best support these students and educate others about their experiences. These evolving demographics underscore the need for thoughtful and inclusive policies, including those related to restroom use, in line with our mission of cultivating an inclusive educational environment.
Board Policy 103, titled "Discrimination/Title IX Sexual Harassment Affecting Students," is a key component of our commitment to inclusion. This policy explicitly identifies subgroups of students that the District must safeguard against discrimination. In the policy, under the section titled "Authority," the following language articulates our commitment:
"The Board affirms its dedication to ensuring equal opportunities for all students to reach their fullest potential through the programs and activities offered in our schools. This commitment extends to all students, without regard to race, color, age, creed, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, disability, social and familial connections, or socioeconomic status." This policy underscores our unwavering dedication to fostering an inclusive and equitable educational environment for all students, regardless of their background or identity.
Reflecting on the September 5th Board meeting, a policy was introduced aimed at restricting restroom access to be based on an individual's biological sex. This issue has arisen due to instances where transgender students have used bathrooms that align with their gender identity, which, understandably, has raised questions and caused surprise for some. It's important to note that the number of transgender students in our schools is relatively small, for example, approximately 1% of the high school’s total enrollment. To address the needs of transgender students, accommodations have been provided, including access to the nurse's suite bathroom, single-use facilities, and, in recent years, gender identity-aligned gang bathrooms (although, not all transgender students use the gang bathrooms). The accommodations align with the principles outlined in Policy 103.
During the Business meeting on Monday, September 11, the proposed policy to limit bathroom usage exclusively based on one's biological sex did not gain approval at the Board level. The meeting hosted significant attendance, with numerous members of the public offering their comments. The restroom use issue has sparked diverse opinions, with some advocating for the preservation of Policy 103 and the rights of transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Conversely, others argue that the rights of cisgender students are being affected, making them uncomfortable in some cases when using gang bathrooms. Up until the first week of school, there had not been any concerns raised to administration, teachers or coaches by students or parents about restroom use. As a note, the bathrooms in our schools are not designated “co-ed.” Administration does not permit, nor has it been informed of, boys entering the girl’s room freely or vice versa.
The discussion surrounding restroom use is scheduled to continue as part of the Policy Committee meeting this month. The goal is to foster civil discourse and explore potential accommodations that can effectively address the needs and concerns of our students while upholding policy and the rights of all. The next Policy Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:00 PM in the High School Library. I am also considering other forums to facilitate ongoing discussions. Stay tuned for opportunities if interested.
Lastly, I am providing this link for those interested to share comments about restroom use districtwide. To those of you who have already shared thoughts and opinions via email, I thank you.
Dr. Barbara A. Russell
Safety in the Stadium
As our fall athletic contests get underway, the district would like to review several safety measures it has in place pertaining to events held in Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
When an athletic or music event is held in the stadium, the district requires all elementary and middle level students to be accompanied by an adult. No attendees are permitted to bring backpacks into the stadium. In the event someone happens to have a backpack with them, they will be asked to place the bag along the fence until they exit the stadium. There is no food or drink permitted to be brought in from the outside.
As a note, the purchase of tickets to sporting events will be ONLINE ONLY. Cash payments are not accepted at the gate; PURCHASE TICKETS HERE. All tickets are $5.00 plus service fee, and non-refundable.
Attendees will continue to observe school security guards onsite during events and, as the year progresses, will likely begin to observe Perkiomen Valley School District school police officers in attendance as well. The school police will also be in and around our facilities, districtwide.
The efforts of the school district are to keep our students, staff, and community safe. In the event you have questions about any of the safety measures described here, do not hesitate to reach out to our Chief of Police, Mr. Dean Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your commitment with us to do everything we are able to maintain safety in the Valley.
Board Business Meeting - Summary from 9/11
In addition to approving the consent agenda, action was taken in the Professional Personnel section. Of note was the appointment of an interim assistant principal at Middle School East.
Proposed policy 720, related to restroom use, was discussed at length. In the Governance section, a motion to approve the newly introduced policy failed following a 5-4 vote. A recommendation to review the language in Policy Committee remains.
Do you have thoughts on a school-related topic or two? Would you like to engage with the superintendent about your child's school experience? If so, please feel free to attend any one or more of this year's Superintendent Roundtables for coffee and conversation. These meetings are open to the public and may focus on certain topics. The first session will afford attendees open time to share their questions and comments about any topic. Beverages and lite snacks will be provided.
Roundtable #1 - Wednesday, October 4, 9:00am-10:00am at District Office, 3 Iron Bridge Dr, Collegeville
Vikings U-Night Football Game - NEW DATE 10/27
Vikings U-Night Football Game
NEW DATE! FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27th
Order your shirt TODAY Order Form
(orders must be placed by 9/27)
At the Vikings U-Night football game, we will honor and recognize the diversity within our community and the importance of fostering an inclusive environment for ALL learners. Be part of the fun as the community stands together to send a message of acceptance and belonging! Our goal is cover the stadium in blue in recognition of our commitment! Consider purchasing a United Vikings shirt to show your support.
Power Packs are weekend bags of food for students experiencing food insecurity. The bags include 2 breakfast items, 2 lunch items, 2 snacks, and 2 fruits. All food is non-perishable. There is no financial information required to participate in this program.
PV Power Packs is a volunteer run organization and all information is kept confidential. Names are shared with school counselors who arrange for students to pick up their bags prior to every weekend.
Please fill out a separate form for each child that you would like to receive a Power Pack, including children not yet in school. PV Power Packs Form
We will begin handing out Power Packs on September 8th. If your child received Power Packs last year, they will automatically receive them this year. If you have any questions, email Sarah at PowerPacks@pvsd.org.
Online Community Bulletin Board
Wondering about family and community events in the area? Curious to learn about local sports clubs and other opportunities? Thinking about summer plans? Visit our online Community Bulletin Board!
- FEZtival of Trees & Lights
- Girls Wrestling Clinic
Historical Society of Montgomery County Author Visit
- and more!
To submit an event for posting, please send a PDF version of your flyer to email@example.com for review.
Please note that Community Bulletin Board items may contain links to websites of organizations outside Perkiomen Valley School District. Items are posted to this bulletin board as a free service to the community, and should not be interpreted as being sponsored or endorsed by the district.
Upcoming District Dates
- Thursday, September 14: Meet the Teacher Middle Schools @7pm
- Tuesday, September 19: Policy Committee @6pm
- Thursday, September 21: Meet the Teacher Elementary Schools @7pm
- Monday, September 25: Holiday, Schools Closed
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