Dietrich drops in on ICC meeting to discuss NPHS & 9th grade center


Erik Jesberger

Dr.Curt Dietrich wages discussion with ICC . The hot topic: 9th grade center

TOWAMENCIN- “The wheels are turning, I can tell,” exclaimed North Penn superintendent, Dr. Curt Dietrich, following a mid-school day visit to the North Penn High School to step up and wage discussion at this month’s Inter-Club Council meeting. 

Officers from various clubs reported to the meeting to shout out upcoming events and fundraisers during the Knighttime period Tuesday morning. The Student Government Association highlighted a high school Groutfit spirit day for March 20th. Thespian/Theater appreciation month involving daily announcements of facts about theater and theater in our school’s month. The Girl Up Club is putting together sock rolls for homeless shelters. The EnAct Club addressed their spring event coming up on April 4th, in addition to a water bottle refill station being installed in the cafeteria. The Robotics Club discussed their upcoming competition on the 14th and 15th of this month and Mini-thon representatives discussed the fundraising efforts and big night of the event, set on the calendar for April 24th.  All these club reports represent what the North Penn community has to see and participate in as the month of March gets underway.

Following these reports from clubs, Dietrich took the stage to begin his opening remarks with the importance of student interaction and the benefit of feedback which goes a long way.

“It’s the ‘end-user’ experience. [The students] are the end-users here and experiencing it every day. At times [the students] know what it is like when it is challenging. We’d like to be able to overcome those challenges. Talking at the end with Student Government and the Thespians on how many of the students across the commonwealth are involved already in 9th grade, there are a lot of opportunities then for students to get involved in the high school in 9th grade. I’m really attracted to that,” said Dr.Dietrich.

At times [the students]know what it is like when it is challenging. We’d like to be able to overcome those challenges.”

— Dr.Curt Dietrich

Dietrich provided an overview of renovation needs at North Penn High School and description of 9th-grade center built off of questions asked by club representatives. Questions and topics included:

  • The date for graduation? (Which has been officially announced for April 1st)
  • What’s the value of keeping 9th-grade separate v.s just integrating the high School with grades 9-12?
  • Would class start times be the same? 
  • Are you considering adding another driveway?  
  • How would we increase gym space?
  • What is the plan for middle school, would you bring 6th grade up?
  • What’s the possibility of building a smaller 9th grade center for those who take classes at the high school and not bring in all of the 9th grade.
  • If 9th grade is at NPHS, could we close Penndale Middle School and send 7th and 8th grade to Pennbrook and Pennfield Middle School?
  • Would all courses be available to 9th grader students, ie: public speaking?

Many more questions and points provided responses by the superintendent himself allowed for a beneficial session of discussion during the ICC meeting. A profitable experience for the students, as well as Dietrich himself.

Erik Jesberger
Dr.Curt Dietrich (right) and Chinmay Vibhute (left) shed light on the importance of these discussion sessions. Giving everyone a voice on an issue, no matter how big, or how small.

“I’m just glad to be able to talk with students and hear their ideas and what’s on their minds. It speaks volumes to me because they understand there are going to be some challenges with all of this, but there seems to be a lot of excitement for it. A lot of logistics that need to be worked out and a lot of decisions that still need to be made, but getting the student input is really important to me,” stated Dietrich. 

“I think it’s really important for the administration and students to engage with each other and the fact that Dr. Dietrich took the time out of his busy schedule to listen to our feedback shows how dedicated the administration is in making sure the students are happy as well,” said SGA President, Chinmay Vibhute.

Perhaps with outreach from students for another opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas to Dietrich on North Penn decisions, the superintendent may in fact be back for another discussion session in the near future.

“The discussions go quickly and you are trying to process all of the ideas and discussions in a hurry, but I do believe there is a lot of interest in having opportunities like [sessions today.] Having the opportunities available for students are really big to students. Those clubs, those extracurriculars, those athletic opportunities are really big to students and I think there’s a lot of support and good discussion,” concluded Dietrich.

The next ICC meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 7th, during Knighttime in A-33.