School Board Notes
Elementary School Consolidation and Transition
During the February 21, 2017 meeting of the Methacton School District Board of School Directors, a decision to close Audubon Elementary School as of July 1, 2017 was determined. This decision was made as a result of a process that began in 2014 in response to a decline in student enrollment.
This decision will result in changes to the district, and a revision of all elementary school sending areas; including Audubon, Arrowhead, Eagleville, Woodland, and Worcester. In a letter to the district, Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe explained that the decision will impact families, staff, and the entire community.
"While a great deal of time and effort was dedicated to preparing for this decision, we now begin the important work of planning and preparing students, staff, and families for the transition," Dr. Zerbe wrote, "To begin, allow me to assure you that our students, their needs, and their well-being will be of the utmost priority as we continue this process."
While transition planning will begin in earnest, many decisions including programming for the remaining schools and staffing, cannot begin until the boundaries are finalized. Meetings intended to gather feedback on the boundaries and provide information to families are taking place in Methacton elementary schools this week and next. More details including maps of proposed sending areas and direction on the process for sharing feedback on boundaries, or general feedback on transition, can be found at www.methacton.org/transition.
The Board also approved Dr. Zerbe's appointment of Skyview Principal Melissa Gorla as the district’s Principal in Charge of Transition Coordination. Ms. Gorla will continue to be based in Skyview, but will be charged to work with administrators, teachers, staff, and parents to address the many transition matters associated with this change to our district.
A timeline for the Board’s approval of the sending area boundaries has been determined. Feedback on the boundaries received before March 7 will be compiled and considered by the consultants, who will prepare revised sending area maps for distribution to the public on or about March 10.
A special school board meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 15 with the purpose of presenting the proposed final sending areas by the Board’s consultants. The finalization of the boundaries with Board approval is planned for a special meeting/work session of the Board on Tuesday, March 21. These two meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at Arcola Intermediate School.
The Meetings in Review
The February 28, 2017 meeting opened with a check presentation by the Education Foundation for the Methacton Community (EFMC). The EFMC presented a gift to the district in the amount of $11,377.79 for the fulfillment of individual teacher grants impacting students at all grade levels. EFMC president Mark Constable and Board Member Marijane Barbone were on hand to present the check to the Board. The EFMC continues to be an instrumental partner to the district in supporting programs and initiatives that enhance the district's curriculum and create opportunities for students.
In addition to the work related to school consolidation, the Board also approved the administration's recommendation to enter into an agreement with PowerSchool, as a replacement to the district's current student information system, Sapphire; and an agreement with Fidevia to provide professional construction management consulting services intended to help support the implementation of the district's capital improvement plan.
The district's student information system is used to track student data and scheduling, grading, attendance, and other related needs. PowerSchool, the most widely used student information system in the country, is expected to result in more efficient ways in managing student information, a more robust parent portal with wider capabilities, and greater integration with other district software systems, among other benefits. Staff training will be supported by the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, and will be planned in the coming months. More detailed information aimed at introducing families to PowerSchool will be provided in the coming months.
The Board also accepted the resignation of Director of Business Services Tom Klaus effective February 28. In the interim, the Board approved contracted services to be provided by LoGIC to provide business office operational support until a permanent replacement can be identified.
All other items listed on the February 28 agenda were approved.
Junior School Board Directors - February
Above, left to right - School Board President Chris Boardman, Erik Scribner, Woodland Principal Deb Euker, Jacqueline Cohen, and Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe.