NEA grant to help York City with recovery plan

A $249,000 grant from the National Education Association will help with implementation of the York City School District’s financial recovery plan, according to a news release.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association received the grant from the NEA’s Great Public Schools Fund, the news release says.

The district’s recovery plan includes the concept of site-based management, the release notes, the purpose of which is  “to share decision-making in order to improve the educational performance of all students and to increase public involvement and community support.”

The grant will be used for training on goal-setting, communications, team building and conflict resolution for the school advisory councils that were established through the recovery plan, the release says. That will help teachers and administrators better use tools called for in the recovery plan, the release says, such as Response to Instruction/Intervention, meant to help struggling students, and school-wide positive behavior supports, which are meant to encourage good behavior among students.

The York City Education Association and York City Education Support Personnel Association, the unions representing local teachers and support staff workers, are local affiliates of PSEA and NEA.

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College students to help with York Habitat project

Students from three colleges will work on a York Habitat for Humanity project in Jacobus this month, through the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge program, according to a news release.

Students from Providence College in Rhode Island, Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, and Middlebury College in Vermont will be helping different weeks this month.

They will work on a handcap-accessible home for the Hanline family, according to the release. Construction began last fall, and the home dedication is scheduled for March 29.

The students will be housed at Trinity United Church of Christ’s Retreat center, and they will receive work camp dinners provided by Stewartstown Presbyterian Church, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church, the release says.

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Three York County districts receive Safe Schools grants

Three York County School Districts are among recipients of the 2013-14 Safe Schools Targeted Grants, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

There were 110 awards, up to $25,000 each, according to the department. The local recipients are:

Dave Depew, director of special education and safety at Dover, said the money there will be used in a few areas. It will used for new visitor identification systems, which scan a visitor’s driver’s license when they enter a school.

Additionally, the district has been working with Northern York County Regional Police to identify a few places at schools where they need more access, so students could easily be brought back in from outside if necessary. Additional card-swipe access points could be installed in various places, he said.

The grant will also provide training for administrative and secretarial staff, to be offered by police, Depew said.

It’s the fourth safety-related grant Dover has received in the past year, he said. Others paid for programs to build community at the elementary level, radios so schools can keep in touch with school buses, and a school resource officer.

“I’m all excited we’re having some success,” Depew said, adding that the district is starting to implement some things officials have wanted to do, but budget constraints have made them more difficult.

Eastern York Supt. Darla Pianowski said the grant there will be used for training for administrators on topics such as planning for parent-child reunification after a crisis, school safety planning and incident command. District employees will also receive online training courses in safety.

The grant will also help fund incident command emergency kits full of essential equipment and supplies, she said in an email. Communication equipment, such as handheld radios and equipment to expand radio coverage area, will also be purchased.

South Eastern will use its grant to purchase 30 additional cameras for school buses and for an ID system for each of the districts six schools, according to Supt. Rona Kaufmann. The system will have a badge printer and software to identify if a person has a history of child abuse, she said.

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Red Lion student picks up five journalism awards

A Red Lion student journalist picked up five awards in the 2014 Keystone Press Awards high school division.

Student Benjamin Otte – who is listed on The Leonid’s website as co-editor-in-chief, layout editor, web admin, multimedia – received the following awards:

  • First place, general news
  • Second place, feature story
  • Second place, sports story
  • First place, news photo
  • Second place, website

Check out the full list of high school winners here.

Related: See Ben’s video work here.

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Northeastern seeking veterans for Honor Bus trip

Northeastern High School is once again looking for veterans to participate in its Honor Bus trip to Washington D.C.

Northeastern High School teacher Duane Swartz shared this photo from the April 2013 Honor Bus trip. (Submitted photo)

Northeastern High School teacher Duane Swartz shared this photo from the April 2013 Honor Bus trip. (Submitted photo)

Vietnam and Korean War veterans are invited for the next trip, scheduled for April 19. Duane Swartz, the social studies teacher who works with students to arrange the trip, said that he hopes to take 60 veterans and as of Tuesday had about 31 applications.

Past Honor Bus trips have taken the veterans to memorial sites in D.C. The veterans are given breakfast, lunch and dinner. Students help plan the trips and some act as guardians for the veterans during the day. The trips are supported by public donations.

Know a veteran who’d like to attend? Contact Swartz at or 266-3644 ext. 81307.

Catch up: Read a story about last fall’s Honor Bus trip.

Honor Bus trips began in 2011.

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New Hope Academy criticizes city schools’ renewal of Thackston charter

New Hope Academy Charter School, whose charter was not renewed by the York City School District, criticized the district for extending Helen Thackston Charter School’s charter for five years this week.

Officials from the city and Thackston said the agreement was established after several months of discussion and negotiation. New Hope high school Principal Don Trost said New Hope is “pleased” for Thackston, but said the city district’s process “appears to be extremely inconsistent and ultimately harmful to students.”

“We were surprised to learn that Thackston was privileged to months of closed-door negotiations,” Trost said in a news release. “New Hope was never offered an opportunity to speak with the York City School District about its charter renewal.”

After the city district did not renew its charter, the state Charter Appeal Board upheld the district’s decision and ordered New Hope to close at the end of this school year. New Hope is appealing that decision in Commonwealth Court.

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Cynthia Dotson not giving up on proposed charter school

The York City School Board voted last night to deny Cynthia Dotson’s third attempt at seeking permission to open the Championship Academy of Distinction Charter School.

During a hearing the previous week, district officials raised concerns about several things in the application, including the proposed location at the YWCA York, which is no longer available for the school, about evidence submitted as support for the charter school, and more. Representatives of the charter school had tried to submit more documents, including information on other proposed locations, but the board’s attorney said it was too late to do so.

But Dotson said Thursday that she’s not giving up.

She said she’s looking at resubmitting her application, rather than going before the state Charter Appeal Board at this point, noting it’s problematic that the district wouldn’t accept the additional documents into the record.

Dotson said she continues because former students from Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School, which she helped establish, urged her to try for a school.

“My effort has not been because I just wanted to throw myself into the lion’s dean year after year,” she said. “That’s not a lot of fun.”

But things happen for a reason, she said.

“I just know when it’s time for this thing to be approved it will be,” Dotson said.

Other charter news: Thackston Charter School was renewed for five more years.

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Thackston Charter School seeking donations for D.C. field trip

Helen Thackston Charter School is planning to take all enrolled students to Washington D.C. next week, and the school is seeking donations to support it.

The students will visit sites such as several museums, Howard University and the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, according to a news release. The trip is Feb. 24.

The school is looking for donations and sponsors for buses at $550 each, T-shirts for students, snacks and drinks.

Call Anne Clark, community outreach specialist, at 817-4019 for more information.

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York College to receive grant for entrepreneurship

A “Discovered in PA – Developed in PA” grant will help York College expand its work in entrepreneurship.

C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, was scheduled to be at York College this morning to announce a grant for the “Investing in a Region’s Knowledge Resources” initiative.

Jeff Vermeulen, executive director of the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and director of government and corporate relations at the college, said the grant program, aimed at increasing economic development, meshed well with work going on at the college. The grant of just more than $200,000 will be used in a few areas.

Part will be used for capital improvements at the business incubator, its wet lab facility, and its 3D printing capabilities. For example, the wet lab facility was built with excess capacity for one incubator tenant lined up at the time, but now there are two and they are bursting at the seams, Vermeulen said.

Companies provide a great opportunity for students to work side by side with experts in the field as well as those on campus, he said.

“Every day that goes by that we’re not on the edge of where they’re going, we think of ourselves as going too slow,” Vermeulen said. “Thankfully the Commonwealth agreed and is willing to make an investment.”

The center would also like to build on programming done for outside businesses in the past, Vermeulen said. For example, the center has hosted business plan contests for students and might be able to open a competition regionally to “budding entrepreneurs,” he said.

“We’re also thinking about ways the college can be a catalyst for economic development, community development here in our neighborhood and along our border,” Vermeulen said.

There’s been work done on Jackson Street with property owners and the city, and the college also wants to look at the commercial properties around it, looking at examples of what other colleges and universities have done to be a catalyst for commercial development.

Walker said in a news release that providing students and entrepreneurs with tools to succeed is an investment in the next generation of job creators.

The college’s project “will provide job and entrepreneurial opportunities to ensure the students who are educated here can find a good-paying job right here in South Central Pennsylvania,” he said in the release.

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York Suburban grad designed jackets worn on Today show in Sochi

If you watched the Today show this morning, you might have caught a glimpse of some work done by a 1998 York Suburban graduate.

I first saw some mentions on Twitter:



And the folks behind the York Suburban account helped me connect with Frey.

York Suburban grad Rebecca Frey designed these jackets, worn by Today show hosts in Sochi.

York Suburban grad Rebecca Frey designed these jackets, worn by Today show hosts in Sochi. (submitted photo)

Frey is a freelance costume designer and stylist, and she’s worked on a number of NBC shows, she said by email. That’s how she came to design the Today show jackets.

Frey heat-set more than 3,000 crystals to those jackets, which you can see on the right.

Frey owns a wardrobe styling and shopping tour company in New York. She’d love to see you on a shopping tour!

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