New teaching staff were introduced to the Wallenpaupack Area School District board, September 10th, even as the 2018-2019 school year starts off with the lowest enrollment in several years.

WALLENPAUPACK - New teaching staff were introduced to the Wallenpaupack Area School District board, September 10th, even as the 2018-2019 school year starts off with the lowest enrollment in several years.

The student count as of “Day Three,” September 6, stood at 2,989. This represents an approximate 30 percent drop from their peak year, 2011, when Wallenpaupack numbered 4,144 students. The total is also 46 below what is was last year.

Superintendent Michael Silsby told the board this is not unique to Wallenpaupack but is being seen statewide. The largest grades are graduating, and smaller numbers of students make up the younger grades.

Totals by grade are as follows: K, 209; 1st, 189; 2nd, 183; 3rd, 211; 4th, 209; 5th, 205; 6th, 252; 7th, 246; 8th, 223; 9th, 265; 10th, 250; 11th, 238; 12th, 296.

There are 33 students in the Special Education department.

Numbers by building include: South Elementary, 284 (K through 5th); North Primary, 440 (K through 2nd); North Intermediate, 490 (3rd through 5th); Middle School, 686 (6th through 8th); High School, 1024 (9th through 12th).

Two others attend PATH, an alternative school; another 50 attend “out of district” and are included in the grade totals.

There were 16 consortium students (Western Wayne and Wayne Highlands students who attend special education classes at WASD) and 15 enrolled in non-public education (Canaan Christian Academy and Evergreen School), not counted in the 2,989 total.

Ecology field trip

The High School Environmental Club, led by Biology teacher Linda Lohner, attended Field Ecology Camp this summer at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Eight Middle and High School students were involved; camp was held June 18-22 and July 8-13. The students discussed the experience with the school board.

Ranger/ Ecologist Rich Evans, National Park Service, said that the students were engaged and worked hard, putting in a total of 580 hours.

He said they did scientifically valuable work, searching for an invasive species, the rusty crayfish on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. He stated that they were a big help in being able to accomplish this project.

Water quality and crayfish sampling was done at 26 sites in the park.
In 2015 the species was found in a brook on the New Jersey side of the park. The Park Service wanted to know if the crayfish was on the PA side as well.

Once introduced, this nonnative, aggressive crayfish out-competes native species for food and shelter.

The students documented the occurrence of spiny cheeked crayfish at many locations in the park. The spiny cheeked crayfish is now a species of special concern in Pennsylvania because of their numbers being severely depleted due to the rusty crayfish.

Ranger Evans said that he submitted the data the students collected to scientists at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University and the Delaware Riverkeeper. “They were very impressed with the results,” he said.

Traps and nets were used to catch crayfish, which were examined to see if they were the invasive variety. The good news is that of the 620 crayfish captured, none are rusty crayfish.

Pike County Conservation District was thanked for a $500 grant that assisted the project.

Silsby stated this was a “shining example” of a real life education experience.He said this was an opportunity to help shape careers. The superintendent commended the students for becoming involved in a worthwhile cause.

Seniors recognized

Three seniors, Class of 2019, were honored for their academic excellence and good use of extracurricular opportunities. There were:

Cailin Campbell, is the daughter of Stephanie and Brian Campbell. She has been very involved with the swim team, field hockey and FBLA, among other activities. She plans to major in Biology at a university and continue swimming. Her goal is to become a physician’s assistant that specializes in pediatrics.

Jack Monte is the son of Melissa and Greg Monte. He has been very involved with FBLA, track & field and cross country, and other activities. His plans for after graduation are undecided.

Tyler Wirth is the son of Christine Angland and Stuart Wirth. FBLA, Tech Club, cross country, track & field and boys’ soccer are among his activities. He foresees attending a Division 1 school to study Energy Engineering and continue running.

Other school business was reported in a second article.

The next WASD school board meeting is set for Monday, October 8 at 6 p.m. in the High School Library. A committee meeting precedes it at 5:30 p.m.