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Three school board members recognized

At the Whitehall-Coplay School Board meeting Nov. 11, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association honor roll awards were presented to three board members for their years of service.

Patty Gaugler (eight years), Tina Koren (16 years) and Owen Eberhardt Jr. (26 years) received awards. It was also Eberhardt’s last school board meeting.

“Whitehall-Coplay School District and PSBA believe that school directors have a desire to give back to their local communities, and the presentation of the certificates that I will present this evening is a way of showing our appreciation for their dedication to service, public education and the children in our communities,” WCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lorie Hackett said.

Board members receive their first award after eight years, with another being given every four years after that.

Also at the meeting, Dr. Sandy Rex, WCSD supervisor of curriculum and instruction, introduced gifted teachers Amanda Kusko and Elizabeth Long, who gave a presentation on the gifted program.

“What we hope to do is motivate our students to think critically, become problem solvers, seek information, be able to present what it is that they learn - and I think, ultimately, we want to motivate them to become lifelong learners because, truly, we live in an ever-changing world,” Long said.

Kusko created a breakout room for her gifted third-graders, where students were “locked” in the classrooms and had to escape by solving puzzles.

“They had to solve nine riddles, and all of the riddles were from the novel that we’re working on, titled ‘Treasure Island,’” Kusko said.

After solving the puzzles, many of which integrated math and science skills, the students earned keys and were able to escape the room and receive treats from a treasure chest.

In other news, Matthew Tanzos, Whitehall High School Marching Zephyr Band director, and band members attended the meeting to show the board a video of their Oct. 26 performance in Hershey at the 2019 Cavalcade of Bands championships.

For the third year in a row, the MZB was the winner of the 2019 Cavalcade of Bands American Open Class, with a score of 97.5. The band also took home awards for best music and best visual, and they tied for best overall effect.

“Out of all 85 schools that competed at Cavalcade of Bands championship events this year, we scored the highest of any band all season, regardless of band size,” Tanzos said.

In other business, the board approved field trip requests from Carolyn Radon, for WHS Student Council to travel to Westmont Hilltop High School in Johnstown Nov. 7-9 at the cost of one bus; Tony Pangaio, for the eighth-grade career and business class to travel to Bloomsburg University to participate in an entrepreneurship competition March 26, 2020, at the cost of one bus; Matthew Tanzos, for the Whitehall-Coplay Middle School chorus and band to travel to Hershey Park May 9, 2020, for the Music in the Parks competition, at the cost of three buses; and Joseph Krempasky, for the WHS London Club to travel to Europe for an EF Educational Tours trip, titled “World War II in England and France,” for 11 days, starting approximately June 24, 2020, at no cost to the district.

The board approved the resignations of Christina Figueroa, Writing Club adviser at WHS; Liza Engelbrecht, life skills paraeducator at WHS; Hannah Sommer, districtwide speech and language paraeducator; Pauline Meouchi, English language learner paraeducator at WHS; Juana Lopez, Jose Burgos and Rasha Hadeed, districtwide bus drivers; and Jermaine Page, districtwide van driver.

The board approved the retirement of Carol Strohe, health and physical education teacher at WCMS.

Approved appointments include salaried substitute Elyse Glose, fourth-grade teacher at Zephyr Elementary School, at the rate of $52,666; salaried substitute Nicole Morin, WHS math teacher, at the rate of $49,345; long-term substitute Mary Katherine Citera, WHS art teacher, at the rate of $150 per day; Kristen Riedy, Steckel Elementary School secretary, at $18.03 per hour; Brooke Minnich, districtwide nurse assistant, at $20.27 per hour; Diana Bet, Zephyr Elementary MTSS math paraeducator, at the rate of $18.03 an hour; Judith Larkin, Gockley Elementary School cafeteria monitor, at $13 per hour; and Scott Biery, bus driver.

Approved coaches include Mark Freeman, assistant swimming coach, volunteer, and Shane Schmeckenbecker and Frank Rudolph, assistant wrestling coaches, at $1,977.

Also approved was WHS Writing Club adviser Amanda Snyder, no compensation listed (pilot program).

Approved teacher induction participants included Kristine Eichelberger, mentor to Nicole Morin, at $325, and Kelly Repasch, mentor to Elyse Glose, at $325.

Committee meetings, including education/student activities, operations/transportation and finance/personnel, will be 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 16.

The board will hold a reorganization meeting 5 p.m. Dec. 3, followed by a special board meeting 5:15 p.m.

The next school board meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 9.