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Hackett announces retirement

At the virtual Whitehall-Coplay School Board meeting Nov. 9, Whitehall-Coplay School District Superintendent Dr. Lorie Hackett announced she will be retiring June 30, 2021. She will stay on for the remainder of the school year to help with the transition to a new superintendent.

“I feel very honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to work and spend time in WCSD for the past 32 years,” Hackett said. “I’ve served as elementary teacher all the way through my superintendency here for the past five years, serving as an educator and leader in a variety of roles.

“I sought to provide education and leadership to the district, an educational community throughout my career, but most of all, I’ve cherished the relationships developed with so many people in this district over the years. While I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life and spending more time with family and friends, it’s the interaction with all of the staff here that I will truly, sincerely miss the most,” Hackett said.

In other news at the meeting, Hackett reminded parents that although WCSD remains in the blended model, contingency plans should be made in the event the district or an individual school would need to shut down or switch to the virtual model due to rising numbers in COVID-19 cases.

“It is our hope and desire to keep students in school as long as possible. We will continue to monitor the spread and maintain a safe environment for all of our staff and students,” Hackett said.

Hackett also announced school will no longer be canceled due to snow days and instead will be held virtually. More detailed information will be forwarded to parents from individual building administrators.

Hackett reminded parents Nov. 13 is a professional development day for staff, and no instruction will be held for students that day.

Hackett relayed information from Whitehall-Coplay PTO PLUS President Toni Fillman about an upcoming online fundraiser selling discount cards for restaurants and other Lehigh Valley businesses. Fillman will also be making a special video, donning her elf costume and reading a holiday story to students.

The PTO PLUS is currently working on a website in order to share videos, pictures, fundraisers, events and other information.

Morgan Kelly, third-grade teacher at Steckel Elementary School, gave a short presentation about third grade’s mock election for class president. Students brainstormed and wrote their own speeches, explaining how they would make their school and the community better. Kelly showed a video of her students’ individual campaign speeches, with many of the pint-size presidential hopefuls formally dressed in suits.

The students’ ideas included an American Idol singing contest during virtual music class that would be judged by nursing home residents, creating a garden and growing vegetables for the less fortunate and setting up an Alex’s Lemonade Stand at lunch to raise money for children with cancer. Students elected Sophia Casey as president of the third-grade class.

Also at the meeting, the board approved field trip requests for the boys basketball team to travel to Loyalsock High School Dec. 11 and 12, with lodging paid for by the Booster Club, at the cost of the use of school vans; for the wrestling team to travel to the War on the Shore Tournament, Ocean City, Md., Jan. 15 and 16, 2021, with lodging paid for by the Booster Club, at the cost of the use of school vans; and for the baseball and softball teams to travel to the Ripken Experience, Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 24-28, 2021, using a chartered bus, with all accommodations/expenses covered by the Booster Clubs, and two school days missed, at no cost to the district.

Approved requests are subject to change based on travel restrictions, state guidelines, and district and administration discretion at the time of the trips.

The board approved a contract with PPL Center, Allentown, to hold a graduation ceremony 7 p.m. June 7, 2021, subject to solicitor and administrator approval.

At the virtual WCSB meeting Oct. 12, board members approved several appointments for club and music advisers at Whitehall-Coplay Middle School, including Emily Pisco, Katherine DeSalva and Julie Pittas, Aevidum Club, at $233.33 each; Daniel Danneker, Art Club, at $700; Samantha Neas, Science Olympiad, at $1,250; Rhiannon Sorrentino, Science Olympiad, at $600; Courtney Hunsberger, Ski Club, at $700; Miranda Dangler, Lisa Barr and Michelle Brownback, Student Council, at $700 each; Daniel Danneker, yearbook, at $700; Donald Ryan, choral, at $550; Matthew Tanzos, instrumental, at $550; and Natasha Lewis and Miranda Dangler, Reading Olympics, at $350 each.

Approved teacher induction participants include Michelle Le, mentor to Mary Nehme; Michael Quickel, mentor to Amy Stinner; and Jane Dolin, mentor to Brooke Minnich, all at $650 each.

Committee meetings on operations/transportation, finance/personnel and education/student activities will be held 4 p.m. Nov. 23 and Dec. 21. A reorganization meeting will be held 5 p.m. Dec. 7, followed by a special school board meeting 5:15 p.m.

The next school board meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 14.