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WCSD updates evaluation expectations

At the Whitehall-Coplay School District Board of Education meeting Oct. 11, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Steckel discussed the success of the district’s professional development day, also held Oct. 11, which allowed teachers and staff to work on updated evaluation expectations under the new Act 13 and to train on I-Ready programs in math and reading.

Steckel also said teachers and staff watched a presentation from public speaker and author Jonathan Mooney. Mooney shared his story of growing up as a student with learning disabilities. He overcame his challenges, graduated from Brown University and became an award-winning author.

“His message focused on finding the good in every student and designing a system that meets the needs of all and how students need adults who genuinely care about them,” Steckel said.

In other news, Steckel wished a wonderful retirement to both Ann Carpenter, supervisor of financial operations, and Sandy Rex, supervisor of curriculum and instruction.

“Personally, both of them were instrumental for me, as an incoming superintendent, to easily transition to the district, so I want to publicly thank them - both Sandy and Ann - for what they did for both me and the entire school community,” Steckel said.

Also at the meeting, board President Wayne Grim thanked Kathy Ibrahim of ALDI Inc. for the coordination and donation of school supplies; Staples of Whitehall for the donation of school supplies; and Edward Norman and the congregation of Union UCC of Neffs for school supply donations.

Whitehall-Coplay PTO PLUS President Toni Fillman thanked volunteer Tracy Corteen, who coordinated the Scholastic book fairs at the elementary and middle schools.

According to Fillman, Zephyr Elementary’s sales equaled $7,800, earning $1,000 cash and $1,681 Scholastic dollars. Scholastic dollars are used to purchase books for the schools.

Steckel Elementary’s sales totaled $6,526, earning $850 cash and $1,392 Scholastic dollars. Whitehall-Coplay Middle School’s sales were $6,909, earning $900 cash and $1,460 Scholastic dollars. Gockley Elementary’s book fair was only held for one day, but it still managed to sell $3,330 worth and earn $1,259 Scholastic dollars.

Fillman also thanked everyone who was involved in planning the Homecoming dance.

Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative President Shari Noctor said volunteers are preparing for Thanksgiving and are in need of donations of boxed stuffing, boxed mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. There is also a list of general items needed on the website, whitehallcoplayhungerinitiative.org.

WCHI also offers free hot community takeout meals for the first 100 guests to arrive. Meals are offered on the first Sunday and third Tuesday of every month. Locations vary and are available on the website.

Noctor updated the board on the Snack Pack Pals program, reporting 186 packs were recently dropped off for the Columbus Day holiday weekend. The only items the program currently needs donations of are rice and pasta sides. She thanked the community for its support and donations.

In other business, the board approved a motion to appoint J. Michael Malay Jr. as business manager effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027, and to further approve the employment agreement governing his compensation and fringe benefits over this time period.

The board approved the authorization of Fox Rothschild LLP to enter into an agreement for the property located at 2001 MacArthur Road, identified as Parcel ID number 549872328571 1, setting the assessment of the property at $12,659,300 for tax year 2022 (school tax year 2022-23) and for each subsequent tax year, until a change in the property’s assessment pursuant to applicable law.

The board approved the appointment of Tina Champ as WCSD’s alternate trustee to the HealthCare Benefits Consortium and the appointment of Champ as WCSD’s alternate delegate to the Lehigh County Schools Joint Purchasing Board.

Approved field trip requests, based on travel restrictions, state guidelines, district and administration’s discretion at the time of the trip, include a choir trip to Penn State University in State College Oct. 16, with the use of district transportation and no school days missed; a Student Council trip to the 85th Annual PASC State Conference at Mt. Lebanon High School, Pittsburgh, Nov. 4-6, using a chartered bus and two school days missed; and a Ski Club overnight trip to Killington Mountain Resort in Killington, Vt., Jan. 7-9, 2022, with the use of a chartered bus and no school days missed.

The board approved the WCSD Emergency Operations Plan for the 2021-22 school term.

Also approved was the Standby EMS Services Agreement between WCSD and Cetronia Ambulance Corps.

The board approved the McMahon proposal for transportation engineering services.

The board approved an amendment to the Master Services Agreement between Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects and WCSD, changing the original agreement, which was effective March 9, 2017, to an agreement for the period from Aug. 26, 2021, to Aug. 26, 2024.

The next school board meeting will be 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

Committee meetings on transportation/operations, finance/personnel and education/student activities are 4 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov 22.