Stephen Butz Superintendent
Southeast Delco School District
Board & Community Update
Special Education Programs
There are currently 888 students or 21% of the total enrollment of the district who require specially designed instruction, including 65 students who require accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (504 Service Plan.)
The special education department has experienced an increase of students with behavior difficulties and / or mental health issues. One reason for this may be increased foster care homes within the district’s boundaries. With this increase of students with significant issues, district staff is considering ways to increase school psychology / social work services. The district is required to provide individual and group therapy to students who need these services. The district is also required to develop positive behavior support plans for students whose behavior disrupts the student or other students’ learning.
504 Service Plan
Speech & Language Support
Multiple Disability Support / Physical Support
Life Skills Support
Deaf & Hearing Support / Visually Impaired & Blind
Out of District
888Another area of need for the high school special education program is intensive reading intervention. The district has a large transient population and when students transfer into our district with severe reading difficulties we are limited with what we can do to help remediate them. The district currently provides corrective reading and Wilson reading to a limited number of students at the high school. An intensive reading program that provides dedicated reading intervention throughout the day on 45 minute cycles could significantly impact the reading achievement of our high school special education students.
The negotiation team has met with representatives of the teachers’ Association regarding their collective bargaining agreement a total of twenty-six times since January 2012. The contract has expired and the teachers are currently working under the terms of that expired contract. In August 2013, a tentative agreement was reached but was voted down by the general membership on September 18th. We later learned through the Association leadership some of the reasons that the membership voted down the tentative agreement and we are attempting to negotiate a new agreement that considers the Association members concerns. The next negotiation session is scheduled for early February.
Support Staff Negotiations
The collective bargaining agreement between the Southeast Delco Federation of Support Staff and the Board of School Directors expires on June 30, 2014. The two parties held their first meeting on January 8, 2014 to begin negotiating. The purpose of the meeting was to meet the requirement of Act 88 of 1992 mandating school districts and the unions representing school employees begin bargaining 150 days prior to the expiration of their current contract. The next meeting will be held in early February.
Afterschool and Credit Recovery Programs
The Kids’ College After-school program at our elementary schools and the after-school Credit Recovery and Saturday School Success Academy at the high school are funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants.
Approximately 400 elementary students are serviced by the Cohort 6 grant, and the nearly 200 middle and high school students are serviced by the Cohort 6A grant throughout the school year. Through the summer, we serve an additional 400 students.
These programs offer additional academic assistance for our students by including tutoring, intensive intervention, credit recovery, and homework help. The programs also incorporate character education and team building instruction in the form of organized games and activities. Through these programs, we have also extended our community connections by establishing positive relationships with community members and local organizations.
Each grant is active for three years. Our Cohort 6A grant, in the amount of $377,320, is in its second year and will expire on September 30th, 2015. Our Cohort 6 grant funding, in the amount of $480,000, is in its last year and will expire on September 30th, 2014. Our budgeting of this grant will allow us to serve elementary students throughout the summer tutoring program; however, when this grant ends it will likely mean the end of the elementary program.
We are exploring other sources of funding, including the possibility of applying for another 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant if an opportunity becomes available. We are also researching our eligibility for other grants. If additional funding is not secured, however, we will not be able to service nearly as many students in the fall.
Under the direction of Dr. Monica Watson, school and central office administrators have created a curriculum cycle at the elementary and middle school levels that reviews and updates curricular content and textbook series in a manner that benefits both students and district stakeholders. The district has recently adopted a new series in both reading and mathematics. These adoptions have been in alignment with the 21st Century skills needed by our students to be successful in the classroom and to be college and career ready.
At the high school level, a similar review and adoption process is underway. Central office administrators, with the assistance of high school administration and staff, are developing a plan to allow for the creation of adopted curricula and corresponding textbook series. The first areas to be addressed at the high school will be the English and mathematics departments.
For the 2014/ 2015 school year, our curriculum cycle will focus on science K-12, which indicates that we will be updating our texts and curriculum to align with the PA Common Core and to prepare our students for the high stakes PSSA and Keystones assessments in science and biology. The pilots will occur during the 2014 / 2015 school year with purchase of new resources in the spring of 2015.
This year, our curriculum is focused on updating English / language arts. In our current spring 2014 semester, English / language arts teachers in grades 6 through 8 will continue to pilot a second series, Collections, from Houghton / Harcourt. Because we are updating our high school literature texts and resources at the same time, we will possibly be piloting one or two series during the second semester in grades 9 through 12. A decision, after much discussion and comparison, will be made in May 2014, to be purchased for the next school year.
This spring, the district will also be providing fiction and poetry text exemplars for grades K through 8 in reading / language arts to be used for our proficient and advanced readers. Next school year, we plan to add non-fiction texts sets, as well, for our proficient and advanced readers to be used during daily enrichment classes.
Led by teacher, Wiaan De Beer, a small group of eighth grade students at Darby Township School will be participating in the PETE & C competition in Hershey, PA. PETE & C is a videography conference and our students are currently learning how to storyboard, video record, edit both sight and sound, create titles, and lastly synthesize all these skills together to be able to produce a polished video product. On February 11th, the students will attend the conference where they will be expected to create a three minute video from start to final product within the course of the day. Our students are engaged, enthused, and creating highly educational and entertaining products.
Middle school science teachers have partnered with the Widener Science Department on the development of inquiry-based unit plans. Teachers have worked with archeology, chemistry, and biology professors in learning about the inquiry method of teaching and will be taped in the coming months teaching a lesson from this inquiry-based unit, which will be simulcast to Widener professors who will then provide immediate feedback on their lessons. We are excited to have this opportunity to support teacher growth in best practices in teaching science in the middle school.
REACH Associates’ Jody Pittock will be working with groups of teachers next week on the following topics: Guided Reading for Kindergarten teachers; Close Reading with Text Dependent Questions for teachers in grades 2 through 5, and Literacy Design Collaborative Module Scoring with middle school English language arts (ELA) and social studies teachers.
Save the Date: District Family Literacy Night - May 28th at Darby Township School.
Southeast Delco School District has chosen to provide transportation for public, parochial, and private school students who reside within district boundaries. The adopted district policy states that elementary students who live over 1.5 miles from their school and high school students who live further than two miles are eligible for transportation services. Parochial and private school students fall within the same guidelines, up to a maximum distance of ten miles from the district boundary. There are some exceptions to these rules, which affect special education students and students who walk to school along paths with have been determined to be hazardous.
According to our Transfinder software system, which tracks bus routes and the students who utilize transportation services, Southeast Delco currently provides transportation to over 100 schools. It is the responsibility of the transportation department, along with central office administrators, to determine the most effective and efficient way to deliver these services. District officials are continuously refining the district’s delivery of services to meet the needs of the students while remaining fiscally responsible.
The district bus fleet has a total of 63 vehicles, including buses and vans. Thirty-seven of these vehicles are leased through Wolfington Body Company. The leases are structured so that they do not expire at the same time. The first group of leases includes 11 vehicles with a lease term that will expire in November 2014. In the upcoming months, the district will need to begin conversations regarding renewing the leases. The district also began exploring the option of having cameras installed on all transportation vehicles. Wolfington Body Company is on the state bid list for camera equipment and they along with district officials are currently exploring the most cost effective way to have cameras installed on all of the transportation vehicles.
Future Board Meetings
Board Business Thursday, January 23, 2014 7:00 PM
Committee of the Whole Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:00 PM
Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday – January 20th – No School for Students or Staff
District-wide Science Fair – January 28th – APHS
Teacher In-service – February 14th – No School for Students
Presidents’ Day Holiday – February 17th – No School for Students or Staff
Progress Notices Issued – February 21st
Southeast Delco School District
Stephen Butz Superintendent
Educational Service Center
1560 Delmar Drive Folcroft, PA 19032