Board recognizes NPHS athletes, approves updated Return to Play plan

Nikhil+Madaka+%2812%29+preparing+a+serve+during+a+doubles+match%2C+assisted+by+Jigar+Dadarwala+%2812%29+at+a+April+15th+match.

Mary Forbes

Nikhil Madaka (12) preparing a serve during a doubles match, assisted by Jigar Dadarwala (12) at a April 15th match.

In a relatively brief April action meeting, the North Penn School Board recognized a multitude of North Penn High School winter sports teams and approved the most recent amendment to the Return to Play plan.

The Board recognized the boys wrestling team, bowling team, girls swim team, and boys swim team, and heard from their respective coaches; Robert Shettsline, Donald Stadnycki, and Jeff Faikish.

There was also a special recognition given to community activist and North Penn alum Ben Hartranft, who was recognized for his ongoing work as an Autism Awareness ambassador. April is Autism Awareness month, and in honor of this, all Board members wore blue for the meeting.

“Ben, thank you for all that you do. Again, you’re a great advocate and we’re so glad that you’re a North Penn alum,” Board President Tina Stoll said.

The Board then heard from several community members during the Audience of Citizens, including parent Jason Lanier, who questioned the Board’s process of re-opening schools, going as far as saying his two children have described NPHS as “like a prison.” Jessie Bradica, who is running as a candidate for the Board on the May 18 primary, questioned the proposed increased tuition rate for Extended School Care and and shared that she is “appalled” by the Board’s “attitude toward following the laws of transparency through Right to Knows and the lack of respect and response you have shown those who are invested in this district enough to make public comment.”

During the monthly Committee reports, the Finance report shared updates on the use of federal stimulus funds, the 2021-22 elementary school departmental budget, and the overall 2021-22 district budget. There is currently an $11.5 million deficit, even after several million dollars in stimulus funding, and NPSD Chief Financial Officer Steve Skrocki will give an in-depth presentation on the budget at the special Finance meeting on April 21.

The ECI Committee summarized the 2021 summer programs, including the annual Summer Library Program and SPARK program. As a part of this presentation, there was a discussion about focusing more on addressing specific student needs through summer programming, and therefore, eliminating the broad summer reading requirement for grades 7-12 for the 2021-22 year (not including AP courses).

We want [students] to have a place they can go to if they are interested in reading, if they want to do it over the summer they are able to do it, but it will not be mandatory. So that will be a change for us.”

— Rachel Earley, NPSD Secondary Humanities curriculum advisor

“We are going to be coming up with a list of reading options that coincides with our district values…We want [students] to have a place they can go to if they are interested in reading, if they want to do it over the summer they are able to do it, but it will not be mandatory. So that will be a change for us,” NPSD Secondary Humanities curriculum advisor Rachel Earley said, at the April 6 ECI meeting.

More information about these programs can be found here. These programs were later approved during the Superintendent’s Report, with Board member Al Roesch motioning to waive all fees for the programs (some of which were free to families and funded by the District), which was unanimously approved.

Additionally during the Superintendent’s Report, the Board approved Dipa Richardson and Matt Edwards as the new principals of York Avenue and Gwyn-Nor elementary schools before moving on to the updated Return to Play plan. The Board approved Appendix G, which states the following;

 

“North Penn High School will allow both home and vising spectators to spring athletic competitions under the following conditions:

  • Spectators will be limited to family members of parcipating student-athletes 
  • Student-aged spectators will only be permitted to attend if accompanied by an adult
  • All spectators will be screened for fever through the use of a handheld thermometer as well as questions pertaining to symptoms of COVID-19. Any perspecve spectator that exhibits a fever or any symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to attend the event 
  • Name and contact information will be recorded for all spectators, as per Montgomery County Office of Public Health, for contact tracing purposes” 

 

“This is a good step forward for the community and an opportunity to enjoy our spring sports,” Board member Jonathan Kassa said.

This is a good step forward for the community and an opportunity to enjoy our spring sports.”

— Jonathan Kassa, NPSD Board member

Board member Dr. Elisha Gee asked if, for further transparency with the community, the Athletics department could add a list to their website of what the policies for away spectators are at other local high schools, so parents are aware of when they could go watch their student compete. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Todd Bauer assured that a list could be easily made and will be posted soon.

The final item on the Superintendent’s Report was the 2021-22 Extended School Care tuition rates and camp fees. The agenda item proposed a 5% fee increase, but Kassa motioned to waive the fee, and keep the rates the same as they were in 2020.

“The end result is to keep it as-is. There would not be an increase for families,” Kassa said. This motion was unanimously approved by the Board.

The NPSD Board will meet again in worksession at May 11 at 7pm.