The Board of School Directors at the Schuylkill Valley School District held their regular meeting on Monday, May 18.

Kindergarten teachers, Mary Ellen Kummerer and Melney Reich, spoke about the “Being a Writer” curriculum used in kindergarten classes. During a powerpoint presentation, attendees learned that the curriculum teaches the craft of writing and “builds a writing community.” The teachers talked about the positive results of having students practice the process of “think, pair, share” in their writing and invited three students to share writing samples at the Board meeting.

President Moll summarized the portion of the meeting with his comments, “it seems like a wonderful program. It’s truly amazing.”

Retirees Michael George, Mary Beth Harner, Melney Reich and Susan Wood were honored for their service to both education and to the school district.

District Superintendent Mata commented that 80 percent of Schuylkill Valley students stay after school for clubs or other extracurricular activities. He went on to say regarding the participation level, “It’s a really good thing. It’s about the whole child.”

The Board recognized freshman Emily Gunkel for receiving first place at the Chinese language completion put on by the Eastern PA Chinese Teachers Association.

The Mock Trial Club was represented by members Tyler Shriver (junior), Leah Kellenberger (senior), Moriah Webb (senior), Vashti Faust (senior), Brianna Hill (senior) and Amanda Morelli (senior). The Club had their most successful season and won the Berks County championship after their recent competition against Fleetwood.

A presentation by the Schuylkill Valley Climbing Club was included during student recognitions. Bobby Simko, Jason Burkert and Ann Marie Misterkiewicz were on hand to explain their Club and what it means to them. Misterkiewicz described how the Climbing Club “became a therapy” to her through her involvement. Faculty advisor, Mark Chlebowski, confirmed that the Club helps students “make friends, keep friends, trust friends.”

Schuylkill Valley was recognized for participation in the World Quest competitions sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading. William Miller, World Affairs Council Board member, was on hand to express appreciation to the district for their participation and to thank Tod Witman, faculty advisor, for his involvement preparing students for competition. Club member Kyle Latshaw (senior) described the Club’s fundraising projects, including microlending for small businesses in second and third world countries and accumulating donations for relief to Nepal. Other club members present were Andrea Behler (senior) and Leah Kellenberger (senior).

During the Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent Mata again relayed information about the increase in enrollment, and detailed that 43 students were enrolled since January. He stated in regard to the increase that “right now we’re able to absorb it. It’s a good thing people want to move here.”

Mata also confirmed that the dropout rate at Schuylkill Valley is very low.

The recent school bus and motorcycle accident was briefly discussed, and Mata described how Schuylkill Valley students “made cookies and put them on the seats of the school buses. A quiet act of kindness.”

Curriculum and Technology projects that were approved during the May 18 meeting included upgrades for district-wide network and firewall improvements. The Vanguard School and New Story were approved to provide two students with extended school year education services. Richard J. Caron Foundation was voted to provide student program assistance for the upcoming school year for $11,882.

The Board of Directors appeared enthusiastic when they unanimously passed a resolution to support House Bill 168 which would eliminate the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.

The Board approved resolutions for traffic signal applications to be made to PennDOT for the Elementary School at Ashley Way and School Drive, the Middle School at Ontelaunee Drive and School Drive, and the High School at Lakeshore Drive and School Drive.

Board Member, G. Dane Miller, reported that eight boys and three girls were proceeding to the state level in Track and Field in Shippensburg. Miller stated, “The last two weeks have been a good time to be a Panther.”

The meeting adjourned at 8:48 p.m. with an Executive Session following to discuss negotiations.

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