School Board Notes
Meetings in Review
Audubon Elementary School
At the September 27, 2022 meeting of the Board, Dr. Zerbe updated the Board on his intent to place an action item on the November 2022 Board agenda to address the status of Audubon Elementary School. He shared that his presentation in August provided the Board with several options of selling or keeping the property, including an option that could allow for the Township of Lower Providence to partner with the school district to bring forward community use benefits for all Methacton residents. Dr. Zerbe stated that his recommendation at this point is to keep the property, but limit ongoing expenses associated by leveling the building. He did mention that one opportunity for use of the land could include a walking path, a playground, and an outdoor amphitheater to help showcase student and community talent while bringing residents from across the school district community together.
Dr. Zerbe will be bringing the matter forward at the Finance and Property Committee meetings of the Board in October and November. He also plans to present a summary status of feedback and current status of options during the work session in October to allow an opportunity for the Board to discuss before a vote in November.
FLO Analytics of Portland, Oregon presented the summary findings of their student enrollment forecast report at the working session of the board. The presentation and full report can be found here. The 5- and 10-year projections by elementary catchment area suggests that enrollment will remain flat given birth rates, projected developments and the regular transition of students from grade to grade. It was noted that there may be a slight uptick in enrollment given the implementation of full day kindergarten. Furthermore, there was no immediate indication that a need in changing elementary catchment areas was needed at this time.
During the work session meeting, Dr. Zerbe shared that Arrowhead Forward was the name given to the process and plan to build a new Arrowhead Elementary School. It started back in 2016 with the facilities assessment study that determined the need for well over $10 million dollars of investment into the school as part of major system replacements and upgrades. This led to discussions regarding the value of those needed investments and the resulting outcomes – specifically, that these improvements would result in us continuing to have the same unorthodox 1970 building design with trapezoidal classrooms, no doors and limited space for teacher materials, among many other educational, operational, and safety challenges.
Arrowhead Forward signified a commitment to education and to our community. The Board of School Directors recognized that a more comprehensive investment was needed, and after community feedback, many building discussions and several tours of other elementary schools, the Board took the visionary step forward to solidify their commitment to our students, parents, teachers and community with the approval of construction for a new Arrowhead Elementary School.
On January 22, 2021, members of the school community gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony.
Then, through many months of work and navigation of supply chain and worker shortages, the Methacton School District - on August 30, 2022 - welcomed students for the first time to the new Arrowhead Elementary School. While there remains much work to do on the facility and grounds well into April 2023, this snap shot summarizes this effort:
- By the numbers, we are under budget by $5 Million dollars.
- We have standard shape and size classrooms with doors.
- We have greater visitor control, security and organizational layout.
- We have greater flexibility with dedicated cafeteria, stage and gymnasium.
- We have a centralized hub consisting of nurse, school counselor, Principal, and school psychologist.
- We are more energy efficient with a lower cost of ownership.
- All this is wrapped in a package that is indicative of a modern educational learning environment, is environmentally friendly, and is attractive.
- Plans for dedication are slated for May 2023.
All other items listed in the September 27, 2022 agenda were approved.
Appointment of New Student Board Representatives
"M" Awards for Academic Excellence
Award of Excellence
Congratulations to Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for September 2022. Dana Wilson and Christa Fryling represent Farina/Central Office; Ted Nitterauer, Derrick Denardo, Shilid Ford-Bey, and Michael Laroe represent Facilities.
All of these outstanding staff members provide support for students, staff, and our community. They are valuable team members and we are pleased to share with everyone how much we appreciate their commitment to the students of the Methacton School District.