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Board discusses strategic planning, accepts resignation of John Schilling

NPSB+Meeting%3A+Board+member+Mark+Warren+presents+the+first+session+of+the+2018+strategic+planning.
NPSB Meeting: Board member Mark Warren presents the first session of the 2018 strategic planning.

NPSB Meeting: Board member Mark Warren presents the first session of the 2018 strategic planning.

Sameera Rachakonda

Sameera Rachakonda

NPSB Meeting: Board member Mark Warren presents the first session of the 2018 strategic planning.

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LANSDALE- The North Penn School District Board of School Directors met for a special action meeting followed by a work session Tuesday evening. Items on the agenda included the early stages of the budget process, strategic planning, and the resignation of John Schilling after twenty-two years of serving on the Board.

Beginning with the special action agenda, the Board heard from several community members about issues including the budget, higher taxation to maintain strong educational resources, and the desire for all-day kindergarten. The Board then approved the amended item under the Superintendent’s Report. The item was amended into two separate motions rather than one motion. The first motion was to adopt the preliminary general fund budget for 2018-2019 totaling $260,621,247.00 and the second motion was to authorize the administration to apply for exemptions from the Act 1 tax limitation. Both motions were carried. In addition, the Board accepted the letter of resignation from North Penn School Board member John Schilling who served on the Board for twenty-two years.

“I’d like to convey my appreciation to John for over two decades of service to the community and certainly wish him well in the future,” thanked Board Vice President Mr. Ed Diasio.

The Board will begin to look for a candidate to fill Schilling’s vacancy. Interested candidates will send a letter of interest and resume to the Board secretary, Mr. Stephen Skrocki, and the Board will then select applicants to be interviewed.

Following the adjournment of the special action meeting, the Board progressed to the work session agenda which was composed of the first session of strategic planning for 2018, presented by Board member Mr. Mark Warren. The Board spent Tuesday evening brainstorming ideas and goals to align the work of the District with the District’s mission statement. The next step will be organizing the identified work into related groups. Then, the Board will analyze and approximate how much needs to be done. Finally, an action plan that includes creating and assigning tasks to complete the work will be implemented.

Common starter items that are already on the Board’s minds are full-day kindergarten, timeline of facilities renovations, class sizes, school population and space issues, and stadium/playfield space issues. In the format of Round Robin with each member sharing one of their ideas, the Board members shared their goals and thoughts until everyone’s lists had been exhausted. A variety of ideas ranging from long-term renovation plans to cultural and diversity strategies to special education and mental health support to the promotion of career education and the vocational tech school to the full integration and investment in technology tools to aid faculty and students were all shared.

Other topics that were brought up included website modernization, administrative input to have a staff that can meet the changing needs of students, student climate surveys and the PAYS survey, alignment between ninth grade and high school courses, educational improvement in student scores, increased common awareness regarding where community members’ tax money goes to, community engagement of immigrant students and parents, enhanced wellness opportunities for employees, security staff in elementary schools, minimizing drug use and bullying, developing partnerships with private sectors, discipline and behavioral intervention training, teacher and administration training for gender violence and victimology, summer opportunities for students interested in architecture and engineering, community needs for professional training, the idea of students working online on snow days, evaluations for the Board, addressing socio-economic disparities, school nutrition and community gardens, and recess and physical activities for students.

After their brainstorming and discussion, the Board opened up the meeting to public comment regarding the strategic planning ideas. One parent communicated her gratefulness for the Board’s increased engagement in the community.

“Thank you for including the community. Thank you for going out to our schools, asking our teachers, our kids what they want and engaging yourselves,” expressed a community member.

Other public comment included the discussion of having a healthy environment, the importance of a career planning counselor, and the continuum of services for special education.

The North Penn School District Board of School Directors will meet for an action meeting Thursday, February 15th at 7:30 PM in the Educational Services Center.

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