Stephen Butz Superintendent
Southeast Delco School District
Board & Community Update
The 2nd Annual Southeast Delco Math Night
On November 2nd, Darby Township School hosted the 2nd annual Southeast Delco School District Math Night. Students and parents were invited to dinner and a night full of math games and activities ranging from kindergarten to grade 8. The night was organized into three sessions of twenty minutes each. For each session, students and parents had a variety of activities from which to pick, which were organized by grade.
In kindergarten through grade 2, there were dice games, number games, and an informational session on our math program’s interactive website, Think Central. In grades 3 through 5, there were calculator games, print and play games targeting different math skills, a version of Snakes and Ladders that focused on division word problems, and the popular “24” game. In grades 6 through 8, families could choose from games on fractions and the product game. The games and activities offered could easily be recreated and played at home.
Throughout the evening, a raffle was held and ten lucky winners were able to take home exciting math games. Students enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with their parents in celebrating their math knowledge. With increased participation this year, this event has begun to build a bridge between school and home in the development of students’ math skills across grade levels.
Dr. Jeffrey Ryan, assistant superintendent, recently returned from a conference that detailed the changes in the way mathematics is perceived and taught in today’s schools. The conference included several well-known presenters who spoke on a number of topics. The opening presenter, Marilyn Burns, spoke about the idea of teaching mathematics in the same manner that we teach reading. This means conferencing with children while we watch them do mathematical problems to better understand the way they think about the problems they are presented with.
The closing speaker on the first day was Dr. Emily Diehl who presented the work of colleague Dr. Carol Dweck on growth versus fixed mindsets. She stated that students should be encouraged to have a growth mindset; meaning that any task or skill can be learned with enough effort and perseverance. Many children think of learning with a fixed mindset, that people either “get” or “don’t get” the same skills and tasks, leading to a belief that some things are easy for others but not for them.
The second day’s speakers were three researchers, including one from Harvard. Dr. David Dockterman spoke at great length on rebalancing the equation for raising math achievement. He detailed the personal connections students need to make with math content, their teachers, and other students in the class to develop a deep understanding of mathematical principles. Two other researchers, Dr. Jeremy Rochelle and Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, discussed the need for mathematical models that include motion and how emotion can help students connect better with concepts respectively. There were also two sessions sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) highlighting programs they provide to help struggling students in math. The district has implemented one of these programs in the high school and will be researching a second program for implementation in the elementary grades.
The final day of the conference was highlighted by Dr. Daniel Willingham, an educational researcher from Virginia who spoke of the math wars in the early part of the 2000s, which debated whether students would become more adept at math via process or algorithms. The answer now, he concluded, is that students need a variety of both to connect the learning. He also highlighted the need of teacher preparation programs to change the way they instruct prospective teachers to think about, understand, and teach mathematics.
The local auditors from Barbacane and Thornton completed their audit fieldwork on November 6th. The draft version of the 2014 / 2015 district audit should be completed within the next few weeks. The final version of the audit will be presented to the board for review and approval at an upcoming board meeting.
The administration is currently beginning preparation of the 2016 / 2017 proposed preliminary general fund budget. The deadline to adopt the proposed preliminary general fund budget is January 27, 2016.
Delaware County Healthcare Trust
The Healthcare Trust achieved a milestone during its October 20th meeting of trustees when the members approved the list of preferred health insurance plans for member school districts to offer their employees. Once the votes were counted and the motion passed the trustees took a moment to celebrate, signifying the magnitude of this accomplishment. The goal of creating a list of approved providers was achieved through the commitment of both labor and management to come together for the common good of the member school districts.
About a year and half ago, the trustees formed a plan design committee, which worked to reduce the number of medical plans offered by member districts from thirty-two plans down to ten plans. Director of human resources, Tom Haupert, was a member of the plan design committee and played an active role in selecting the plans that made the list.
Southeast Delco School District will be choosing from the approved list of medical plans when we negotiate with our labor unions starting in the spring of 2017.
The students are enjoying the new bathroom facilities that were recently renovated at Delcroft School. The upgrades utilized energy efficient equipment and water conservation applications, saving both resources and dollars.
Work was recently completed at Harris School involving a man-hole access for electrical wiring. The box was re-built and a final asphalt top coat is expected to be installed within the week.
Winter is on its way! We must all be conscience of the effects of slippery roadways, driveways, and walkways. Be aware of your surroundings and wear proper clothing and footwear during inclement weather.
Southeast Delco has participated in a “Demand Response” program for several years. The program pays school districts, manufacturing plants, hospitals, and other businesses for curtailing energy during high impact times through the summer months. The program will be experiencing some growing pains over the next 2 years and reductions in opportunities are expected.
However, Southeast Delco has partnered with Johnson Controls for this program and is working with them to manage energy usage within our buildings. They will assist with providing alternate methods of gaining revenue through advanced conservation methods and optimizing our current building management systems.
Southeast Delco is committed to energy conservation and will continually monitor usage and provide for adjustments as necessary.
Future Board Meetings
Board Business Meeting Wednesday, November 18, 2015 7:00 PM
Board Organization Meeting Monday, December 7, 2015 6:00 PM
Board Business Meeting Thursday, December 17, 2015 7:00 PM
Sharon Hill School Student Council Chuck E Cheese Night – Wednesday, November 18th – 6 PM
Report Card Conferences – APHS – Thursday, November 19th
Report Card Conferences – Grades K – 8 – Monday and Tuesday, November 23rd & 24th
Early Dismissal – Grades K through 8 – November 23rd, 24th & 25th – 12:45 PM
Thanksgiving Holiday – No School for Students – Thursday and Friday, November 26th & 27th
Early Dismissal – Wednesday, December 2nd – APHS – 11 AM / Grades K – 8 – 12:45 PM
Delcroft School Winter Concert – Wednesday, December 9th – 7PM – APHS
Harris School Winter Concert – Thursday, December 10th – 7 PM
Darby Township School Winter Concert – Monday, December 14th – 7 PM – APHS
Academy Park High School Winter Concert and Art Show – Wednesday, December 16th – 7 PM
Sharon Hill School Winter Concert – Monday, December 21st – 6:30 PM – APHS
Progress Reports Issued – Friday, December 11th
Winter Family Festival – APHS – Friday, December 11th – 6 PM
Winter Break – Thursday, December 24th – Friday, January 1st – No School for Students or Staff
Teacher In-service – District-wide – No School for Students – Friday, January 15th
Martin Luther King Holiday – No School for Students or Staff – Monday, January 18th
End of 2nd Marking Period / 1st Semester – Friday, January 22nd