Entries from December 2009 ↓

What’s in a Name?

One of the first issues which we were asked to vote on at the December 7 meeting was the name for the new elementary school on the Panorama/Mt. Nittany site.  Several suggestions were made and the board consensus seemed to be Mt. Nittany Elementary which would make it similar to the Park Forest Middle School/Park Forest Elementary situation on that site.  Board member Dorothea Stahl came up with a great idea of letting the students from Panorama Village and Boalsburg Elementary vote on it.  We came up with three names for them to choose from: Mt. Nittany Elementary, Brandywine Elementary — named for Brandywine Drive, and Panorama Elementary.

The board was informed just before the December 21st meeting that the winner was Mt. Nittany Elementary (MNE).  Congratulation to the students and staff at both schools for turning this around so quickly.  Thanks also to Dorothea for being a strong advocate for this process.  What a great idea to get the students involved in the naming.  As a member of the District Wide Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee, I look forward to a brand new Mt. Nittany Elementary School.

Easterly Parkway Visit

On December 10, the board visited Easterly Parkway Elementary (EPE) School.  It was the first school visit which I attended.  The visit was well attended by board members and administrators.  Our host was EPE principal Brian Peters.  Mr. Peters gave us an overview of the thoughts on education and explained some of the changes he’s made in his short tenure there.  He told us he employs what I would call a peer learning team experience in his faculty meetings, where groups of faculty read articles and share information and best practices with each other.  My Penn State IT Leadership Program involved many of these type of activities and I’m a huge advocate for this style of learning.

Mr. Peters also uses the Penn State Professional Development School program extensively at EPE.  This program is much more involved than a standard student teaching assignment and creates College of Ed graduates who are very prepared for a teaching career.  One of the EPE teachers I spoke with was a PDS student at the school just last year.

All of the staff and students were welcoming.  We ate the cafeteria lunch (I owe David because I forgot my wallet) and had a very good lunch discussion with Mr. Peters and those teachers who happened to be eating their lunches at the same time.  I tried not to be too disruptive to instruction, but I did enjoy some of those candid classroom moments.

Thanks to Mr. Peters and his excellent staff and faculty.  So far, this is the best part of being on the school board.

And so it begins…

Monday, December 7, was the Board Reorganization Meeting.  Judge Thomas Kistler was on hand to hand to swear in Penni Fishbaine, Gowen Roper, David Hutchinson, Jim Pawelczyk, and me.  Judge Kistler did a wonderful job and gave the ceremony the pomp and circumstance accorded by his office.  His goal was to be respectful and brief and I think he accomplished both.

Thanks to Judge Kistler, and Dr. Mextorf for putting together this ceremony.  A special thanks to the old board for both your service and making Penni and me feel so welcome.  I’m still a little overwhelmed, but the old board, the superintendent, and his staff have really eased my transition to the school board.  Thank you!