Mannheim Twp. School board reviews 3 key initiatives | community news

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When: Meeting of the School Committee of the Municipality of Manheim, March 16th.

What happened: The meeting included three major initiatives, including a change in the middle school schedule, a new language arts curriculum, and a new plan for special education programs.

middle school: A new schedule has been proposed for the 2022-23 school year, put forward by a committee of teachers and administrators that met last year. The school day would start at 7:25 am. The new schedule will change to 50-minute classes and bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, into middle school. One of the downsides of the current schedule is the lack of time – 42 minutes per lesson – for math, science and social studies. Communicating with the community is one of the next steps to implement the new schedule.

K-6 Art of the English Language: Jessica O’Gorman, Supervisor of K-12 ELA and Federal Programs, The current program called “Storytown” is outdated and does not align with the district’s multi-level support systems for all students. The new program would reflect components such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and would offer online access for teachers, among other benefits. In 2021/22, the “Into Reading” program was carried out at Neff primary school; “MyView Literacy” implemented at Schaeffer Elementary; and a team in each grade level was started at Landis Run. The estimated cost is between US$870,000 and US$891,000, with US$828,000 allocated to the district fund balance for the six-year programs. If approved, the programs will be added to the 2022-23 budget. The board will consider the proposal next month.

Special education: A 15-member steering committee of staff, teachers and parents created a comprehensive 2022 plan that follows state and national guidelines, including the least restrictive environment, with shared tuition agreements at Landis Run Intermediate, middle school and high school.

Quotable: “Students are excited about the stories,” said Sharon Schaefer, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

COVID-19 health and safety: The board changed its plan to align with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Feb. 25 guidelines that no longer require masking. The plan states that in the absence of a legally binding mask requirement for students and staff when attending schools and/or school activities, masks are welcome and optional.

Report of the Superintendent: According to Robin Felty, 5,939 students are enrolled in the district this month, up from 5,934 last month and 5,834 at this time last year. “We appear to be returning to registration before the pandemic,” she said. The district is also keeping a close eye on Nitrauer. Two years ago, Spanish Immersion moved to Reidenbaugh Elementary to make room at Nitrauer, but from last March to this March enrollment increased by 55 students. The district is also keeping an eye on high schools, where numbers continue to grow, Felty said.

Likewise: Felty said the Manheim Township Education Foundation has developed a new three-year strategic plan. It includes leveraging the faculty and staff grant program, building brand awareness, building extensive fundraising, and creating lasting relationships that open an opportunity for Student Impact grants of $1,000 or more for a project a student is pursuing would like. A teacher and an administrator will review and help manage this project and funds.

childcare: Board member Janet Carroll announced that Envisions, a before and after school child care program, is using the former sixth grade building.

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