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Students report excellence in school activities

The Salisbury Township School Board held a curriculum and technology committee meeting May 10 and received reports from student representatives, a teaching and learning update and a presentation given by two high school students about their experience as library interns.

Student representatives Michael McWhorter and Olivia Cudd reported the end of a successful spring sports season is fast approaching. The tennis team recently competed in districts and the track and field team’s district competition is currently underway.

The Salisbury High School twirlers recently competed in the Scholastic Twirler Competition held in Wildwood, N.J. and came home the 2023 Open Champions.

In other news, the high school auditorium premiered the film “Friends” to a crowd of more than 200 attendees. The film was written and directed by SHS student Charlie Morton.

Model UN students attended the MUN Conference at Cornell University where Cameron Kubinsky placed third in the four day competition against students from around the world.

The STARS club hosted a mock crash event at the high school in an effort to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.

Several members of SHS recently competed in the Special Olympics along with members of the Key Club who volunteered at the event.

While the SHS Theatre Club anxiously awaits the results of the soon to be announced Freddy Award nominations they were to host a Broadway Night May 19 in the high school auditorium.

On May 9 the annual Spring Art Show was held featuring masterpieces created by Salisbury students K-12. A special thanks was given to high school teachers Jay Linsenbigler and Rachel Reinecke who organized the event and the accompanying musical performances.

The students took the time to give a shout out to all their dedicated teachers in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week.

In closing, the Class of 2023 will graduate 6 p.m. June 4 at the SHS Stadium.

Middle school students Brinlee Neitz and Gracelyn Williams were happy to report Pennsylvania System of School Assessment testing is now behind them. The middle school student council held spirit days with encouraging themes throughout the testing period.

Recently, a schoolwide field day was held for all students which included fun games, inflatables and Kona Ice during lunch periods.

On May 8, sixth grade students took a field trip to the Franklin Institute and will soon begin taking part in outdoor learning which will include a trip to the fish hatchery when fish are released.

Activities for fifth grade students include taking a field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo which coincides with student animal study projects, honing questioning skills by interviewing a classmate and creating a ME book for them and also touring Lehigh Career and Technical Institute May 19.

In alignment with eighth grade civics standards students are working on debates in Beth Prokesch’s class and will be visiting the Lehigh County Courthouse to learn more about the judicial system.

Students also noted the Salisbury Middle School Spring Concert was to be held 7 p.m. May 18.

Salisbury Elementary School students Braelon Brinker and Katelyn Cunningham reported on the happenings at the school.

Students in second grade recently went on a field trip to Quiet Valley Farm and fourth grade students took a trip to Hawk Mountain.

Third and fourth graders have completed PSSA testing for the year.

SES students have also enjoyed many fun activities like T-shirt day, pajama and movie day, a K-2 field day and the May 9 art show.

Upcoming events include third and fourth grade field day, a walkathon, fourth grade tours of the middle school, kindergarten and first grade field trips and a June 1 graduation for fourth grade students.

Kindergarten registration is ongoing and parents can sign up online at www.salisburysd.org/kindergarten.

SHS students Mikayla Lighting and Katie Updegrove shared their valuable experiences working with Jane Brennan at SES as the first library interns in the district. Both students received class credit for their service and gave an in-depth presentation outlining for the board what they learned through their work as interns.

The students cited how the internship allowed them to interact with children and work collaboratively while trying to creatively solve problems from copier paper jams, processing 34,000 books, repairing books and learning the computer system used to keep track of books. They remarked how rewarding their work was saying it was their favorite part of the day and they hope the internship program continues as it benefits both students and teachers alike.

Assistant Superintendent Kelly Pauling shared two contracts renewed annually and will be brought to the board for approval at the June 14 meeting. The district has been using both Discovery Education Mystery Science to support the science curriculum and Fastbridge, which is an assessment tool used to gather student data.

Both of these programs are supported through federal funds.

Pauling also noted in an effort to address new science standards a number of teachers have received Next Generation Science training facilitated by the Da Vinci Science Center. While some of the training was paid for through grant money, more training is in the offing which will be paid for by Title II moneys for professional development.

During the teaching and learning update portion of the meeting SES Assistant Principal Brian Muschlitz reported Principal Zach Brem and the data team will soon be meeting to review end of year data in an effort to determine the benefits of this year’s utilization of a multitiered system of support and the subsequent schedule changes that needed to be made in order to meet the needs of learners.

Once they analyze the final data adjustments will be made to ensure even greater success in the coming school year.

Pauling spoke about the success of a well attended cultural celebration coordinated by the district’s ESL teachers. Students shared their work, took part in many planned activities and families contributed foods from their own cultures providing a valuable learning experience for all involved.

In other curriculum news, Pauling made the board aware teachers in third grade have noticed a curriculum gap in the area of phonics instruction in the new Wit and Wisdom reading series. At the upcoming June board meeting she will be asking the board for approval to pilot three phonics programs in an effort to determine which program best closes the gap at the third grade level.

Pauling also brought some good news to the table in the form of a $75,000 dual enrollment grant which she and SHS Principal Heather Morningstar applied for in March. Thanks to Gov. Josh Shapiro, Salisbury was one of two districts awarded the maximum allowable grant which will ensure that lack of funds will not impede students who want to participate in the dual enrollment program.

These funds can be used retroactively from August of 2022 which means some students who took courses this year may be reimbursed. Funds can also be used up to June of 2024.

Pauling ended her presentation by outlining the many summer programs available to support student learning. Among them are Camp SOAR, Camp LCTI, STEAM camp, Extended School Year, Tech Titans, Young Stemologists Academy, Summer Reading and Title I Summer Camp.

School Director Christopher Freas led a discussion about the Pennsylvania School Boards Association’s legislative platform. He displayed a document he and fellow directors Rebecca Glenister and Sarah Nemitz created that took ideas from the PSBA’s legislative platform and applied these ideas as they relate specifically to Salisbury School District.

Some of the items included are related to balancing the special education budget, relief from state mandates, adjusting the charter school funding formula, adjusting the mileage rule for charter and private school as well as adjustments for districts with a high percentage of tax exempt properties.

Freas solicited feedback from other board members as well as administration in an effort to finalize the document so it can be approved at the June board meeting.

The next meeting of the curriculum and technology committee will be 7 p.m. June 14 in the administration building, 1140 Salisbury Road, Allentown.