Centennial School District Newsletter January 2016
In This Edition
District Updates & Happenings
Inside Schools & Programs
Putting First Things First: Introducing Dr. David Baugh
The Centennial School District Board of School Directors appointed Dr. David Baugh as Superintendent of Schools on September 8, 2015. As Dr. Baugh transitioned into his role as superintendent of a district that has experienced changes in leadership, he continues to be committed to bringing yet another change–a vision for keeping first things first, which are the students.
Dr. Baugh believes that a quality educational program has high expectations for student learning, well-trained and responsive teachers in the classroom, and innovative leadership that builds relationships with the staff and the community. In a time where school districts are faced with greater demands to provide services to students with fewer and constrained resources, Dr. Baugh’s mission is to keep true to the values of the Centennial School District community and remain focused on what the students need to be successful.
Bringing multiple years of experience as a superintendent along with twelve years in administration, Dr. Baugh recognizes that visiting classrooms, working with teachers and staff, meeting with community members, and hearing from parents are critical aspects to leading a school district. Good districts have a relentless commitment to the needs of each and every student. As the professionals in charge of the classrooms and the schools, educators have moral and ethical obligations to prepare our students to take their places in the 21st century as contributing citizens.
Shortly after joining the District, the Centennial School District Board of School Directors approved the Comprehensive Plan in November 2015. Dr. Baugh supports the goals of the Comprehensive Plan and plans to align district funds to what the community identified as priority areas. “If programs are important, they need to be funded. If funds are not available, administration needs to find other sources of revenue through grants and partnerships to make these programs happen,” Baugh stated. At the end of the day, Baugh concluded, "Teachers need the tools and skills to teach so that our young people can learn and grow. It is our job to ensure that this occurs."
District Updates & Happenings
Centennial School District School Board Reorganization
At the December 7, 2015 School Board meeting, the Centennial School Board Members appointed a new leadership team by unanimous vote. Mr. Charles Kleinschmidt, of Warminster, was elected School Board President, and Mr. David Shafter, of Southampton, was elected School Board Vice President. Mr. Kleinschmidt and Mr. Shafter were first elected to the School Board in 2011.
After the reorganization meeting, Mr. Kleinschmidt expressed that "it is an honor to serve as president of this School Board. With the help of everyone in the Centennial community, we will continue to make our district stronger."
Ms. Kati Driban, of Southampton, was elected as School Board Assistant Secretary. Mr. Kleinschmidt was appointed as the Board Assistant Secretary after Ms. Betty Huf's retirement in October 2015.
After winning the elections in November 2015, five Centennial School Board Directors took their oath of office at the School Board meeting. Mr. Steven Adams, Mr. Charles Kleinschmidt, Mr. Mark B. Miller, Dr. Andrew Pollock, and Mr. David Shafter were sworn in before their families, the School Board, and the community by Judge Daniel Finello. Mrs. Jane Schrader Lynch, the outgoing School Board President, addressed the public and thanked the families of these directors for their support and sacrifice in their service to the District.
Mr. Kleinschmidt is optimistic about the future of the District. "With all of the administrative positions filled in the District, we are poised for a strong and successful 2016."
Tune into Channel 36 and Channel 28 to See CSD-TV
Channel 36 (Verizon) and Channel 28 (Comcast) are the Centennial School District cable channel. The District currently provides a live video feed of School Board meetings and the Education Committee, Finance Committee, and Operations Committee meetings. Viewers who tune in will see a new and improved format for the district announcements as the District launches into a new digital era. Coming in February, viewers will be able to view each school's morning announcements, which are currently only broadcasted in the schools. Each of the six schools in the district have student-anchored morning announcements streamed throughout the schools. In addition to the morning announcements, highlights from school events, athletic contests, and performances will also be broadcasted on Channel 36 and Channel 28.
Centennial School Board Prepares to Approve Preliminary Budget for 2016-17
Although the Centennial School District, along with 499 other school districts in the Commonwealth, continue to operate without a state budget, Centennial School District is on schedule to approve the preliminary budget for 2016-17. At the December 15, 2015 School Board meeting, the Centennial School District School Board of School Directors resolved to make the preliminary budget for 2016-17 available for public inspection on January 6, 2016. On January 12, 2016, the School Board will advertise the Preliminary Budget Notice in newspapers, the District website, and on cable channel. The School Board is scheduled to adopt the preliminary budget for 2016-17 on January 26, 2016.
The adoption of a preliminary budget is earlier than usual for 2016-17 school year because of the presidential primary being held on April 26, 2016. The Act 1 index used to develop the preliminary budget is 2.4%. The School Board also resolved to seek exceptions to the Act 1 index where available.
A particular challenge this year has been the absence of a state budget for the 2015-2016 school year. District budgets typically are developed based on spending of the current school year. Harrisburg’s inability to pass a budget means that for the 2015-16 school year, the District does not have a sense of the state contribution. This makes it particularly challenging to develop a budget for next year when we do not know the state’s contribution for the 2015-16 school year, nor for the 2016-17 school year. For Centennial School District, 25% of the budget comes from state funding. However, any variance at the state levels, either up or down, could have drastically different outcomes to the budget. If Harrisburg does not pass a budget, Centennial School District, in all likelihood, will run out of funding in April. This sort of issue will have significant impact on the budget for next year.
Act 1 of 2006 changed the process for developing school district budgets. Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets a limit, commonly known as the Act 1 index, as to how much a school district can raise taxes. School districts can apply for exceptions for additional costs that are imposed on school districts, such as pension contributions. Any proposed tax increase that goes beyond the Act 1 index would require a referendum, or public vote, to pass the budget. In addition to the Act 1 index, this legislation includes a timeline for school boards to approve a preliminary budget that will not exceed the Act 1 index and for approving a final budget by June 30 of each year.
For Centennial School District's budget, increases in PSERS, the Pennsylvania state employee retirement system, has a significant impact on the budget. The increases in the District's contributions to PSERS for 2016-17 will likely require some support from local revenues, even if all other expenditures remain flat.
Inside Schools & Programs
Elementary Students Are on a Journey
Beginning this September 2015, students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade are using a new reading and language arts resources for the curriculum. Last spring, the School Board adopted Houghton Mifflin’s Journeys program as the core curriculum for the elementary program. Journeys includes a balance of literary and non-fiction texts which is important for readers as they apply their reading skills in all subject areas. In addition to the print resources, teachers have a number of digital resources to use as they teach reading skills and strategies. Students experience whole group and small group instruction along with time for independent practice.
In language arts, students learn to write using the writing process as well as for different purposes, such as to narrate, to inform, and to persuade. The program also includes an emphasis on punctuation and grammar skills.
How have students responded to the new program? Ms. Jackie Morrison, a third grade teacher at McDonald Elementary School, shared that "the excitement over finding vocabulary words in their independent reading books has become contagious among the students." Ms. Christine Matik, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction K-12, has found that students are visiting the library to find books by the same authors they are reading within the textbook series. "Students who struggled to write a sentence about a selection they read are now expanding their writing pieces with details, textual evidence, and quotations from the text," Ms. Matik said.
Ms. Cathy Perkins, Director of Teaching and Learning, believes that "this program helps teachers better align to the Pennsylvania Core Standards and the expectations for grade-level reading and writing." Perkins explains, "If teachers do not have quality instructional resources, it is difficult for them to meet all the students' needs."
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Polinchock supports this initiative in reading and language arts. "Reading is the foundation for all academic success in every subject. In grades Kindergarten through about second grade, students are learning how to read. Beginning in third grade students, students begin to learn by reading." Polinchock explains, "Reading is much more than understanding the written words and their meaning. Good readers are also strategic and critical thinkers, and this is a valuable skill to be success, not only in school, but in life."
The District has incorporated a number of professional development sessions for elementary teachers with the implementation of this new program. Teachers have received formal training in the program. Lead by the principals, assistant principals, and the K-12 Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor, Ms. Christine Matik, teachers are using the District in-service days to collaborate, review student assessments and products, and plan for instruction.
Positive Behaviors and Attitudes- A Middle School State of Mind
Administrators, teachers, and staff recognize that a positive school climate is necessary to help students feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. An environment in which the behavioral expectations are well established, consistent, and reinforced in all educational settings is important to the educational process.
Klinger Middle School and Log College Middle School use a School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention & Support Program (SWPBIS). The goal of this program is to facilitate pro-social behaviors throughout the schools. The SWPBIS Framework is designed to encourage School Pride by positively reinforcing desirable behaviors in all school environments. Thus, students are recognized by all school staff for demonstrating behaviors leading to a positive learning environment for everyone. Students are recognized or “caught” for positive behavior with both verbal and tangible reinforcements. Students receive verbal praise, public acknowledgement, and/or parent notification of positive behavior.
Everyone in the school community is encouraged to nominate students for recognition. Students are able to nominate one another when they notice that a peer has demonstrated a positive behavior that supports the school community. Teachers and staff also nominate students for recognition.
SWPBIS is a program that formalizes a process for encouraging and recognizing positive behaviors in school. By acknowledging and reinforcing positive behaviors, the goal is to diminish behaviors that detract from student learning and achievement.
Loco-Robo- Bringing Robotics to Elementary Students
Elementary students are familiar with robots. They see them on television, in cartoons, and even play with them as toys. Willow Dale Elementary School students are not just using robots in the classroom-they are programming them.
The LocoRobo is a robot that challenges students to complete a set of tasks based on the code they enter into the program. Using an iPad, students enter a command for the LocoRobos to follow. There are seven different code commands the students can use, and depending on the order these code commands are entered, the LocoRobos execute a desired task. These pint-sized robots look like remote control cars, but students quickly learn that it takes solid predictive skills, problem solving skills, and patience to complete a challenge.
Mr. Michael Scancella , a teacher a Willow Dale Elementary School, uses the Amazon Challenge with his students. Making the connection to how Amazon has developed drones to deliver packages to customers, Mr. Scancella's students have to deliver packages, transported on the ground by the LocoRobos, to a destination. In order to complete a challenge, the students will have to enter up to fifteen command codes. "This (challenge) allows students to work at their own pace and be active participants in the development of the robot's functionality and task completion," says Mr. Scancella.
LocoRobos have allowed Mr. Scancella to teach his students two critical aspects of 21st century learning. First, students are learning Amazon's concept of drone-based delivery requires human ingenuity and problem solving. "Humans must program the robot to be successful." Second, students are learning basic coding systems. While the technology may change, the process of developing solutions through trial and error and critical thinking are skills students can apply in many areas. Scancella says, "LocoRobos were designed to fill the gap in education that focuses primarily on 'tinkering' rather than developing a deeper and valuable skill set in programming and the engineering design process."
For the 2015-16 school year, LocoRobos are being piloted within the elementary gifted program. The LocoRobos will travel to Davis Elementary School and McDonald Elementary School in the coming months.
Through a partnership with Drexel University, twenty robots were donated for use with the program. Mr. Scancella hopes to see this pilot program expanded in the 2016-17 school year to include more students as part of the the elementary STEM initiative in the District. The LocoRobo pilot program will be presented at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference in February 2016.
Kindergarten registration is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at each elementary school. Children who will be turning five (5) years old by August 31 of 2016, can be registered for Kindergarten for the 2016-17 school year. Principals and staff will conduct a brief presentation about the Kindergarten program, and staff will be on hand to help parents/guardians complete the registration process.
In order to register your child for Kindergarten, please bring the following items:
- Child's birth certificate
- Child's social security number
- Child's immunizations records
- Four proofs of residency (required: a lease, deed, or mortgage statement and e.g., telephone bill, driver's license, utility bill, etc.)
This is the only opportunity to register a child for Kindergarten at the elementary school building. All registrations after March 9, 2016, will need to be scheduled at the District Administration Building at 433 Centennial Road, Warminster, Pennsylvania. For more information, contact Ms. Carolyn Cabello at 215-441-6000, Ext. 11046 or email@example.com.
Current employment opportunities are posted regularly on the Centennial School District website. Follow this link to learn more about current administrative, teaching, and support staff positions: www.centennialsd.org/jobs
Centennial Education Foundation Announcements
Dr. Bucky Clark Memorial Scholarship Announcement
Friends of Dr. Bucky Clark, retired principal of Log College Middle School, have established a scholarship to commemorate Dr. Clark's life-long commitment to education and the Centennial community. Dr. Clark's educational career spanned 56 years, from 1959 until 2015. He joined Centennial School District in 1971 and served as principal of Log College Middle School until 2014. Dr. Clark retired from Centennial School District in March, 2015, with 43 years of service to the District. Dr. Clark died on September 29, 2015.
The criteria for this scholarship includes:
- matriculation in a 2- or 4-year college/university with a music major
- maintenance of at least B average
- exemplary attendance and discipline record
- demonstrated leadership and community service
- attended Log College Middle School
Individuals wishing to support the Dr. Bucky Clark Memorial Scholarship should contact Ms. Linda Bielawski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-441-6000, Ext. 12040. Donations by check may be mailed to: Ms. Linda Bielawski, College and Career Secretary, William Tennent High School, Warminster, Pennsylvania 18974.
Centennial School District
Dr. David Baugh, Superintendent
Dr. Jennifer Polinchock, Assistant Superintendent
Ms. Katie Braun, Interim Business Manager
Ms. Judith Hengst, Director of Special Education
Mr. Raymond Kase, Director of Technology
Ms. Hannah Messner, Director of Human Resources
Ms. Catherine Perkins, Director of Teaching and Learning
Mr. Timothy Trzaska, Director of Operations
Board of School Directors
Mr. Charles Kleinschmidt, President
Mr. David Shafter, Vice President
Ms. Kati Driban, Assistant Secretary
Mr. Steven Adams
Mr. Michael Hartline
Mr. Mark B. Miller
Ms. Dana Morgan
Dr. Andrew Pollock
Ms. Jane Schrader Lynch
Dr. Dennis Best, William Tennent High School
Mr. Travis Bloom, Klinger Middle School
Mr. Michael Lecker, Log College Middle School (interim)
Ms. Shawanna Coles, Davis Elementary School
Mr. Michael VanBuren, McDonald Elementary School
Mr. Michael Donnelly, Willow Dale Elementary School