DELAWARE VALLEY - Makerspace laboratories are in the making for schools in the Delaware Valley School District. At the district’s February board of education meeting, Jenni Hamill the executive director of the Greater Pike Community Foundation spoke of a $13,600 grant that the agency awarded the district. In addition to the laboratories, a summer science camp program is being planned. Hamill said the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC) benefits students and “future generations,” since there is a collaboration between various community entities.

Robert Curtis, who is faculty in the high school engineering program, explained that a “makerspace lab” is relatively new to education. But, such spaces exist for those who tend to experiment. Today, they are “becoming more prevalent in education.” For students, the makerspace is an area to “tinker” and “learn by doing” as they figure out questions themselves by experimenting and making mistakes.

Curtis said makerspaces are usually connected with engineering programs but they don’t have to be. The space generally helps to “reinforce different curriculum.” For a makerspace to work, both the physical space and equipment is needed. Currently, there is a small makerspace used for the engineering classes and the engineering club. With the grant, aside from expanding the makerspace, the school will replace their current 3D printer as well as a computer numerical control machine.

Owen Carso, who is a fifth-grade student at Delaware Valley Elementary School placed first in a national Scholastic Book Club essay contest, with a story he wrote about Star Wars. The contest was open to second through fifth graders, with the top place winner receiving more than $1,500 in prizes. Carso’s story was about a boy who became a Jedi.

A few of the district’s Special Olympians spoke of their trip to the winter games in Seven Springs, where they competed as alpine skiers. One athlete, Michael Deming who is a senior thanked the district for supporting the students, because it was a “phenomenal trip” that they enjoyed. A junior, Dominique Dunn said the opening ceremony was “amazing.”

Each athlete expressed their appreciation to the staff at Big Bear at Masthope for their continual assistance and support as they trained. Every week the athletes traveled to Big Bear, where Dunn said the staff are “like family.” Linette Pousley, a special education teacher said the staff at Big Bear were understanding of the athletes’ “abilities and disability” as well as were very welcoming.  

At Seven Springs there were more than 350 athletes who took part in the various sports that included snowshoeing, alpine events, speed skating and more with both regular education and special needs students. The experience, Pousley said is about “being together.”  

A senior, Johnathan Langberg spoke of the completion of his Eagle Scout project. From Shohola Boy Scout Troop 76, Langberg collected 33 instruments that will be used to form a music program at the Good Shepard Academy in Cameroon in West Africa. An orphanage in its second year of operation, there are currently 50 students in the school.

With money he raised and from donations, the instruments were repaired and “Good Shepherd Academy Band” was stenciled into the instruments casing so the student would feel as though the instruments were their own Langberg said. Aside from the instruments, various supplies such as cleaning kits, reeds and oil were also given to the school.

Chairmen of the board Jack O’Leary told Langberg that he had “given a child the world” because they will now have the chance to play music. Another board

Superintendent Dr. John Bell reported that the technology committee met and are looking at various components of technology that includes augmented reality, artificial intelligence, computer coding and more. Considering the different grades and what courses can be included, currently the district is in the “exploration process now.”

A day after the recent shooting in Florida, Bell spoke of the district’s comprehensive safety plan that is updated yearly. Without giving away too much information, the plan tells about parent reunification points, a helicopter landing zone, how to block entries and exits to campus and more. There are plans for more staff training as well as educating students about the dangers he said. Rather than using metal detectors, there are metal detector wands that will be randomly used.

As for bullying, Bell said there has been a bullying tip line, but the “true district crisis tip line” will be upgraded and monitored by the district police. Of what the district has implemented, the district is “proud” and has actually “come a long way” since the Columbine shootings in 1999. Now, “we’ve got to keep pushing” and each time there is a shooting “we can learn from it.”

A member of the public, said she was “beyond proud of the efforts in place” in the district regarding safety.

O’Leary said the tip line is not a result of the recent shooting, but discussion has been underway for sometime because DV is not a “reactionary school.” Instead, instilling such safety precautions is a “continuous process” and the district is a “very proactive school.”

A member of the public who has a child in the district recalled being a student following the (Columbine High School) shooting in 1999 and having to walk through the traditional airport style metal detectors when they were first implemented. Instead of feeling safe because of them, the man said it felt like a “jail.” Now however, he doesn’t fear for his child’s safety. O’Leary said safety is the district’s highest priority.

Also from the public, a man asked if the district had a formal civics type course to cover the fundamentals of the United States government. Today, he feels many students do not “understand separation of powers between the two branches of government.” His question was answered that there are history courses in the 11th, 7th and 4th grade that aren’t called “civics” but are “incorporated heavily” in those courses.

As of the meeting, Stephanie Cavallaro, who is an art teacher and Jim Purcell who is the director of secondary education will be retiring. At the June board meeting, those retiring will be honored. Bell said more teachers are expected to be retiring, but they hadn’t announced it yet.

Jim Mitchell who is currently the principal at Dingman Delaware Middle School will move into Purcell’s position. Mitchell who has been with the district since 1989, said he is ready for the “challenge” because there is no place better to work than in the DV district.

The League of Women Voters of Pike County were approved to use the Dingman Delaware Middle School auditorium March 19, for a panel discussion regarding school funding.

Sara Walsh’s tenure was approved.  

The 2018-2019 calendar was approved.

Polices for food services, audio video recording on school buses, bonding, property insurance and copyright were approved.  

Computer network upgrades that were supposed to occur in 2020 were approved to happen in 2018 and 2019.

During the present flu season, it was reported that the district was “hit very hard” with six confirmed cases and six possible. O’Leary commended the district’s custodian staff who are always working and keep the schools “spotless.”

Resignations:

Stephanie Cavallaro who is an art teacher in the high school will be retiring at the end of the 2017-2018 year.

Kim D’Andrea who is a secretary in the district’s business office will retire August 3.

Joanne Erstad who is a four-hour instructional assistant at the Dingman Delaware Elementary School has retired.

Christine Forgit, who was a half-time student council advisor at Dingman Delaware Primary School has left for personal reasons.

Angela Gutierrez, the drama director at Delaware Valley Middle School resigned for personal reasons in January.

Karen Moore who is a special education teacher at Dingman Delaware Elementary School will retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Susie Prisco who was a field hockey specialist at Delaware Valley High School resigned for personal reasons in January.

Dr. James Purcell, the director of secondary education/principal of secondary schools at Delaware Valley High School will retire, with August 10 being his last day.

Lisa Rivera, who was a three-hour cafeteria employee at Dingman Delaware Primary School has resigned.

Matthew Rupcich who was a theater club music teacher at Dingman Delaware Middle School resigned in January.

Jeannette Spott who is a reading teacher at Dingman Delaware Elementary School will retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Karen Sweeney who is a secretary in the Human Resources office will retire in July.

Ellen (Sheridan) Witty who is a reading specialist at Dingman Delaware Primary School will retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

APPOINTMENTS:

Patricia Henry was appointed as a three-hour cafeteria employee at Delaware Valley High School at $15.05 per hour. Henry replaced Jackie Kincaid.

Amy McFeely was hired to be a four-hour instructional assistant at Dingman Delaware Elementary School at $15.26 per hour. She replaced Joanne Erstad.

Pamela Wood was hired as a three-hour cafeteria employee at Delaware Valley High School at $15.05 per hour. Wood replaced Lisa Rivera.

Karen Fells was hired as a half-time student council advisor at Dingman Delaware Primary School, effective 2017-2018 school year at $368.50 per annum. The position was open.

William Handy was hired as a baseball assistant coach at Dingman Delaware Middle School effective March 5 at $2,898.80 per annum. Handy replaced John Staub.

Ashley Kean was hired as the softball assistant coach at Dingman Delaware Middle School, effective March 1 at $2,898.80 per annum. She replaced Alexandra Galati.

Brian Krauss was hired as a theater club music director at Dingman Delaware Middle School at $1,041 per annum. Krauss replaced Matthew Rupcich.

Adam Manzoni was hired as an assistant wrestling coach at Delaware Valley Middle School. Effective November 17, 2017 at $4,178.75 per annum. He replaced Declan Carroll.

Matthew McCormack was hired as the girls’ lacrosse head coach at Delaware Valley/Dingman Delaware Middle School at $3,706 per annum. The position was open.

Kathleen Murphy was hired as the lacrosse assistant coach at Delaware Valley High School. Effective November 17, 2017 at $4,138 per annum. She replaced Krystine Boedecker.

Substitutes for 2017-2018

The following were profession incentives: Tamara Ackley; Tricia Cronin; Jared Harris; Lisa Lombardo; Lynne Prinzing; Nikki Spicer. Classified: Christine Dennison; Nina LeGrand-Carr; William Rowehl.

A Special Education Teacher at Delaware Valley Middle School, Lauren Dilligner requested leave for child rearing, effective about May 2 to June 13.   

CHANGE OF STATUTES

James Mitchell will be the director of Secondary Education/Principal of Secondary School Delaware Valley High School as of August 13 with a salary of $142,101 per annum, prorated. Mitchell will replace Dr. James Purcell who is retiring. Mitchell is presently the Dingman- Delaware principal.

Brian McCarthy will become the principal of Dingman Delaware Middle School August 13. Currently, McCarthy is the assistant principal at the school. His salary will be $108,321 per annum, prorated.

Elizabeth Cama has become a part-time bus driver at $15.51 per hour. She was a part-time bus monitor at Delaware Valley Middle School/transportation. Cama replaces Kathy Valenti.

Caroline Lehman will become the drama director at Delaware Valley High School at $7,182 per annum, prorated. Lehman is replacing Marc Valentine.