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Successful start in WCSD

At the Sept. 14 Whitehall-Coplay School Board meeting, Whitehall-Coplay School District Superintendent Dr. Lorie Hackett updated the board on a successful start to the school year, stating students and staff have been able to stay 6 feet apart, transportation of students has been running smoothly and students are doing a good job wearing their masks throughout the day.

According to Hackett, WCSD staff participated in three professional development days over the summer, where they were trained in five areas of technology to help prepare for instruction, as well as COVID-related and trauma-informed care training.

Staff also planned for in-person and online instruction, and teachers in fourth through sixth grades received instruction in the new math series being introduced this year.

Hackett also announced Pennsylvania adopted free meals for all students through Dec. 31. While students are in school, breakfasts and lunches are free. Meals for the days students do not eat at school can be picked up 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays in front of Whitehall High School and do not need to be preordered.

During the meeting, WHS Student Council President Jalyn Jimenez also discussed this school year and announced a virtual Homecoming is being planned for this year due to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.

Each club will nominate two students, and a poll will be sent to WHS students to select the next Homecoming king and queen. Student Council’s theme for the year is TEAM, which stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.

In other business, James Hanna, project manager at D’Huy Engineering, Bethlehem, discussed change orders for the WCSD stadium and WHS renovation projects. These projects include the relocation of water and sanitary lines on the home side of the stadium where the foundation for the lights was built, all new aluminum natatorium sockets, steel to support one new HVAC unit on WHS’ roof, a new module interface for the existing LGI lighting system at a cost of $7,120.68 and new breakers for the higher amp ventilators.

The board approved David Hein, Parkland School District, as president-elect of Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Michael Gossert, Cumberland Valley School District, as treasurer; and Michael Faccinetto, Bethlehem Area School District, and Marianne Neel, PSBA past president, as trustees on the PSBA Insurance Trust Board.

The board approved a motion to elect Sabrina Backer, Franklin Area School District, as PSBA vice president.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the revised WCSD athletics health and safety plan, which gives the district the ability to change the plan to adhere to released orders for guidance of federal, state and local authorities before board approval.

The board approved the reappointment and second term of Denise Shaffer to Whitehall Township Public Library’s board of trustees.

The board also approved the contract between ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation and WCSD to modernize the Whitehall-Coplay Middle School elevator and the ZOOM EDU licenses with ZOOM Video Communications Inc. through Sept. 9, 2021.

Approved retirements include Robin Dorney, reading paraprofessional at Steckel Elementary School; Patricia Lindsay, districtwide bus aide; and Edward Lutz, districtwide bus driver.

Approved resignations include Adrienne Corrigan, English teacher at WHS; Jack Moyer, cafeteria monitor at WCMS; Linda Eckert, districtwide bus aide; Sarah Moussa, emotional support paraeducator at WHS; Megan Colletti, nurse at WHS; Debra Resh, nurse at WCMS; Danielle Tavares, cafeteria monitor at Gockley Elementary School; Laura Tiers, ES paraprofessional at Steckel Elementary; Simone Granison, fourth-grade teacher at Zephyr Elementary School; Amanda Thompson, math paraprofessional at Gockley Elementary; Diane Molchany, cafeteria monitor at Zephyr Elementary; and Alicia Sands, ESOL paraprofessional at Steckel.

New appointments include salaried substitutes Vanessa Blose, English teacher at WHS; Michael Massimo, sixth-grade teacher at WCMS; Laura Tiers, seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at WCMS; and Joan Crowley, learning support teacher at WCMS, all at $51,048 per year. Long-term substitutes Michelle Lindenmuth, virtual teacher at Gockley; Erin Patcher, virtual teacher at Steckel; Stephanie Steinberg, virtual teacher at Zephyr; and Jazlee Figueroa and Elizabeth Courtney, family and consumer science teachers at WCMS, were also approved, at $150 per day.

Other additions include paraprofessionals Frances Shehab, reading paraprofessional at Gockley, at $19.59 per hour; Vivian Bashour, fifth-grade learning support at Zephyr, at $19.59 per hour; Isabel Szoke, fourth-grade inclusion at Zephyr, at $18.44 per hour; and Lama Farres, ESOL at Steckel, at $18.44 per hour, as well as James Walter, cafeteria monitor at Gockley, at $13.10 per hour; April Norris and Kathleen Ashton, districtwide bus aides, at $14.52 per hour; and Lori Gober and Stephanie Feliz, salary and rates in accordance with the bus drivers’ agreement.

Also approved was the appointment of Stephanie McFadden as human resources manager, at the prorated annual base salary of $60,000.

The board approved Shavar Hussett as a WCMS volunteer football coach.

Approved teacher induction participants for the 2020-21 school year include Christina Stoudt to mentor Caitlin Johnson, Amy Shoup to mentor Shawn Hazim, Elaine Kloss to mentor Joan Crowley, Corey Frantz to mentor Michael Massimo and Michelle Abbadessa to mentor Vanessa Blose, all at the additional compensation of $325; Emily Hadersbeck to mentor Laura Tiers at $130; and Brian O’Donnell to mentor Laura Tiers at $195.

Approved WHS Marching Zephyr Band advisers include Morgan Guiher, color guard, with the additional compensation of $1,878; Matthew Tanzos Jr., band director, at $6,410; Matthew Tanzos Sr., percussion arrangement/instructor, at $1,878; and James Walter, winds director, at $1,878.

In an email update from Whitehall-Coplay PTO PLUS President Toni Fillman, the first fundraiser of the year is a coupon book. Order forms will be posted online, and coupon books will be delivered directly purchasers’ homes.

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. Oct. 12.

Committee meetings on education/student activities, operations/transportation and finance/personnel will be held 4 p.m. Sept. 28 and Oct. 26.