Recap from the April 17 York City School Board meeting

See my tweets from the last York City School Board meeting below. Read the story here. 

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Weigh in on Dover superintendent search

Want to weigh in on Dover Area School District’s next leader? Now’s your chance.

The school board has launched a search for a new superintendent and is seeking input through an anonymous survey, according to a post on the district website.

The survey will be available through April 27. You can take it online here or get a paper copy at the Dover Area Community Library, 3700 Davidsburg Road, and mail it to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Dover Area School District Superintendent Search, 400 Bent Creek Blvd., Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.

Participants can weigh in on the qualifications and experience they think are important in a superintendent as well as the strengths and needs in the district, the post says.

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Red Lion kicks off Habitat project Saturday

York Habitat for Humanity and the Red Lion Area School District will kick off their Red Lion Community Build on Saturday.

It’s the first project that’s primarily funded and being built by a school district, according to a Habitat news release.

Students and volunteers will turn the cement block trailer base in to a usable foundation for a new home for Ashley Moffitt and her daughter Shaelynn, 8, the release says.

Saturday also happens to be Global Youth Service Day, an event that mobilizes kids to improve their communities through service.

The project kickoff is at 9 a.m., 101 Schoolhouse Lane in Red Lion.

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Schreiber hosting Instagram contest for students

The weather’s getting nicer, and state Rep. Kevin Schreiber wants to see students’ photos of spring – and he’ll even display some in his district office.

Schreiber is having an Instagram contest for middle and high school students who live in the 95th district (York City, West York Borough, North York Borough, Spring Garden Township and West Manchester Township, District 1), according to a news release.

The photos cannot include people and must be taken in the 95th district.*

To participate, students can post a photo to Instagram, use the hashtag #springintoyork, and include their grade, school and the location of the photo, the release says.

The contest is open April 14 to May 9. Local photographers will judge the entries and pick winners by May 31. The 10 winning photos will be displayed in Schreiber’s district office as his spring/summer art installation, the release says.

*This post was updated to include more information.

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New Hope releases ‘open letter’ video to York City board

New Hope Academy Charter School sent out a video today, which says it is an “open letter” to York City School Board members from the students who weren’t allowed to speak at public comment last week.

See the video below, and catch up on stories about what’s happening.

 

New Hope comments not allowed at board meeting

Public comment limits raise Sunshine questions

Lawsuit accuses York City of Sunshine violations

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Help a York Suburban educator win a spot at a tech summit

Update: Kevin Willson receive enough votes and received an invitation to attend the summit today, he said by email.

Reported earlier:

York Suburban School District teacher Kevin Willson is trying to attend the 2014 Global SMART Exemplary Educator Summit this summer, and you can help.

Willson is in the running to win a free trip to the summit, at SMART Headquarters in Calgary. The program recognizes teacher, technology coordinators and administrators who use SMART technologies in the classroom. (As an example, SMART makes those interactive whiteboards many classrooms now have.)

Willson made a video about his “a-ha” moment – when he first got a SMARTboard and learned what he could do with it to engage students in learning.

To earn a spot at the summit, Willson’s video must be in the top 25 vote-getters, he said. To vote, click here and find Willson’s video. Deadline is March 29.

With district budget always tight, these kind of free opportunities for professional development are valuable, Willson said in an email.

Willson is a business teacher at York Suburban High School and a first-grade computer teacher at Valley View Elementary. Previously, he was elementary district technology integrator.

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Coalition presses for action on expanding pre-k access

Organizations around the state have joined to stress the importance of expanding pre-kindergarten in this election year.

Joan Benso, president of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said the Pre-K for PA coalition launched in January with 10 founding organizations and that number has since grown to 200.

Statewide, only one in six children have access to high quality, publicly funded pre-k, which means nearly 250,000 children are missing out, she said in a phone conference with reporters.

“We have to make this change and we have to do this quickly,” Benso said.

County-level data provided by the coalition shows that in York County about 9 percent of children, or 1 in 11, have access to publicly-funded pre-K, and 84 percent don’t have access to high-quality pre-K at all. See a full fact sheet here.

Members of the coalition touted the benefits of Pre-K including that students will do better in school and be more prepared for jobs later, that at-risk students who have early childhood education programs are less likely to end up committing a crime later, and more. They also pointed out that other states are taking steps to make pre-k available for all students.

Learn more about the coalition here.

In York City, registration for the school district’s Pre-K Counts program, began Tuesday. There’s one classroom in each district school.

On Monday evening, program coordinator Julie Fabie told the school board she already had 130 appointments for 115 slots. The program is in the midst of its assessment, but in the past has gotten perfect marks.

Board member Glenn Medice said he’d prefer there wasn’t a waiting list.

“I think this is the start of what this district needs … to hit them with the basic skills they need to move on to kindergarten,” he said.

Supt. Eric Holmes said the district would have a proposal in April or May for adding three prekindergarten classrooms next year. They wouldn’t necessarily be Pre-K Counts classrooms, since that is a state-funded program, but they would mirror those.

The district wants to eventually have all students in pre-kindergarten, Holmes said. The district’s recovery plan includes expanding pre-k access.

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York Tech students’ work displayed at American Welding Society

York County School of Technology students Jordan Mackison, left, and Tanner Grove stand with a neon sign made by students, now displayed at the American Welding Society's headquarters in Florida. (Submitted photo)

York County School of Technology students Jordan Mackison, left, and Tanner Grove stand with a neon sign made by students, now displayed at the American Welding Society’s headquarters in Florida. (Submitted photo)

The work of York County School of Technology students is now hanging in the international headquarters of the American Welding Society, according to welding and metal fabrication instructor Brian Yarrison.

A neon sign made by students at the school is now displayed in the lobby of the organization’s Miami, Fla., headquarters building. The organization’s president visited the school and saw a sign that had been made years ago, so Yarrison said the students could make a new one for the AWS.

York Tech Junior Jordan Mackison was responsible for most of the work, Yarrison said.

Jordan started the project as a sophomore, and it’s since taken about 55 classroom hours to complete, Yarrison said. Jordan did some of the work at home and recruited help with the neon work.

Yarrison said Jordan, who is participating in the welding and metal fabrication program, is an “exceptional kid” who leaped at the opportunity. The sign was a complex project for students, he said, and “they did a really good job.”

The school paid for the materials and supplies as part of student learning, Yarrison said, and the organization paid to have the sign shipped to Miami.

The project received recognition in the American Welding Society’s Welding Journal, too.

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South Western, York Suburban students head to state Mathcounts competition

Two teams of local students will compete in the state level of the Mathcounts Competition Series tomorrow in Harrisburg.

The York County teams participating are from Emory H. Markle Intermediate School, in the South Western School District, and York Suburban Middle School, according to a news release. The students will be among 151 competing at the event, organized by the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers.

Students have been preparing since the fall for the event, where they compete individually and as teams in written and oral matches, the release says. The subjects covered include algebra, probability, statistics and geometry.

The winners can receive scholarships and advance to the national competition, held in May in Florida.

Related: Local students prepared for Mathcounts with a county-level competition

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Red Lion continues to examine options for closing budget deficit

The Red Lion Area School District continues to evaluate options for closing a $2.3 million gap between projected expenses and revenue for next school year.

Proposed expenses for 2014-15 are almost 5 percent higher than for the current school year, according to a news release, while revenues are expected to grow by only 2.1 percent.

The proposed expenses have gone up because of salary and benefits costs, special and alternative education costs, capital improvement and transportation costs, the release says.

The school board decided to limit any tax increase for next year to its state-set Act 1 index of 2.8 percent. A tax increase of that much would mean the tax bill for a house worth $150,000 would go up by about $94, according to the release.

The board and the administration are looking for ways to reduce expenses or increase revenues, the release says, to minimize or eliminate the need for a tax increase.

Terry Robinson, the district’s business manager, said the school board will have a meeting devoted to the budget on March 13.

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