School Board Notes
New Building Construction – Arrowhead Elementary School
In a 9-0 vote, the Methacton Board of School Directors approved bids for the construction of a new Arrowhead Elementary School. The project will begin in December 2020 with site preparation work followed by construction in February 2021. The school is scheduled to be occupied by students and staff in August of 2022. The bids approved included the general, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors in the amount of $24,153,911, which is about $5 million under projected budget.
The building will be constructed on the existing site behind the current Arrowhead Elementary School. The construction management firm, Fidevia of Lititz Pa., will be on site for the entire project to ensure that safety protocols are followed to protect students and staff during construction, as well as to ensure that the school is built to specifications as designed by KCBA Architects of Hatfield Pa.
Beginning with a facilities assessment in 2016, followed by a presentation from Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe in November of 2018, the Methacton Board of School Directors deliberated, visited other schools, received public input, and openly communicated the project for another 24 months before culminating in the approval of bids. The investment in a new facility will provide adequate space for instruction and additional opportunities for public use while addressing the deficiencies in a more than 40 year old building that saw few renovations during that time. This is an exciting time for the Methacton School District and an important investment in our community. Arrowhead Forward!
Award of Excellence
Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for November 2020 represent Skyview Upper Elementary School. They are: Jen Bodek, Instructional Assistant; Andrea Toaso, Instructional Assistant; Quinton Swift, Custodian; Scott Engle, 6th Grade Teacher; Linda Unangst, 5th Grade Teacher; and Peg Bonder, Instructional Support Teacher.
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.
Jr. Board Representatives
A special thank you goes to Samrithaa Vadivelan and Isaac Novia for representing Skyview Upper Elementary School as Junior Board Representatives for November 2020.
Meetings in Review
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant
The Methacton School District Board of School Directors has appointed Dr. Bruce Campbell as a consultant to assist the district’s ongoing efforts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Campbell currently serves as an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Arcadia University. He has also worked as a “Distinguished Educator” for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in addition to holding positions at various education research firms, non-profit organizations, and the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
The scope of Dr. Campbell’s work will include:
- Assist in the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
- Facilitate an equity audit for the district.
- Facilitate monthly Diversity and Inclusion Committee Meetings.
- Assist in directing Diversity and Inclusion Committee sub-groups.
- Assist in developing an action plan for the district to move forward.
- Continuously provide feedback to administrators, faculty and staff throughout the process.
Dr. Zerbe introduced Dr. Campbell during the November 24, 2020 virtual Board meeting. Dr. Campbell told the Board, “This work [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] is a marathon. It is not a sprint. It’s going to be evolving and we have to be adjusting along the way.”
Dr. Campbell will begin his work with district in December 2020.
Update on Hybrid/Virtual Instruction Delivery
At the November 17, 2020 Working Session of the Board, Dr. Zerbe updated the Board as a result of his letter to all Methacton Families on Thursday, November 12, regarding mitigation efforts that returned all students to 100% virtual instruction beginning November 16, 2020 and through the county mandate of December 6, 2020. He shared that there will be a discussion item on the December 7, 2020 agenda regarding athletics and activities and that a determination regarding the return to on premises schooling for December 7, 2020 will be made based on the approved health and safety plan as early as possible during the week of November 30.
Student Activity Fee Refunds
The Board voted to authorize the administration to cease the collection of the student activity fee for the 2020-2021 school year and to refund $50 per already paid Arcola students or $75 per already paid High School students during the same period. All student activity fees will resume with the start of the 2021-2022 school year as per Policy 122 Extracurricular Activities.
All other items listed in the November 24, 2020 agenda were approved.