Dear Parkland Community,
Welcome back to school! Nurturing and retaining the right people at every level of our organization is critical to our success. Parkland’s strength lies in the collective talents of a well-trained and dedicated staff. To that end, we will continue to focus on the theme “Academics, Arts, and Athletics - Educating the Whole Child” as we start the 2019-20 school year. Our leadership team believes that this theme has become synonymous with Parkland School District and describes best the values that our community desires in the delivery of a Parkland education.
Among the most gratifying experiences we can have in education involves our daily interactions with students. I continuously reinforce with our staff this thought from Steven Covey, “Students do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Building relationships with children opens the door for improved student achievement. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the key we utilize to unlock the door, allowing our students access to learning. SEL is an educational process for learning life skills. Many aspects of SEL are contained in our educational programming, such as: Character Education, Mindfulness, Bullying Prevention, Drug/Alcohol Prevention, and Positive Behavior Supports. SEL is a process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, which allows them to set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. That is why, on opening day, I challenged each staff member to establish and maintain at least one new positive relationship with a student each day this school year.
In thinking back over my 36 years of working in education, I shared that retired PHS teacher Bob Steckel, Sr. was a person who exhibited care and concern for children in his role as a teacher and coach. I witnessed him work magic, building relationships with children, and I have seen his work through my experience as a high school student, a teacher, a coach, a principal, an assistant superintendent and superintendent. It was a pleasure to honor him in front of our full faculty on August 27th. Bob intrinsically understood how a social and emotional focus would allow students to be actively engaged in their learning. And, after hearing from community leaders via video about their most memorable teachers, I discussed how little had to do with content and much had to do with building relationships. We went on to recognize Parkland educators who best employ characteristics focused upon building and maintaining positive relationships with students and/ or staff in each of our schools.
The commended staff members are listed here and I thank them for their dedication to children:
Cetronia Elementary School – Jessica Brans, Julian Taibi
Parkway Manor Elementary School – Meghan Thomas, Kelly Richenaker
Fogelsville Elementary School – Daniel Ryan, Liz Blose
Schnecksville Elementary School – Sarah Marsh, Joanne Marshalek
Ironton Elementary School – Tiffany Houser, Matt DeFazio
Jaindl Elementary School – Sara Bartos, Lauren Meeker
Kernsville Elementary School – Adrienne Kashner, Deb Newhard
Kratzer Elementary School – Nicole Jones, Tara Kuder.
Orefield Middle School – Danielle Condly, Thomas Bryant, Christie Schlaner
Springhouse Middle School – Jim Haines, Kerin Steigerwalt, Sara Yazujian-Wehr
Parkland High School – Frank Lane, Dave Martin, Jen Smith, Eric Roberts
If you’ve driven down Schantz Road lately, you may have seen that Veterans Memorial Elementary School is fully erect and starting to look just about finished from the outside. We are pleased with its progress and it is our goal to announce new sending area boundaries at the end of October. And, in my eyes, it can’t open soon enough. Our southern elementary schools are crowded and some grade levels are closed, forcing the displacement of families from their community elementary schools. We understand that this causes stress and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation as we excitedly await the opening of a new elementary school in Upper Macungie Township. All families who will be affected by the new boundaries when the school opens next fall will receive a letter by November. Karen Dopera, previous Principal at Schnecksville, has been appointed the Veterans Memorial Principal and is already spending lots of time at Fred J. Jaindl and Fogelsville Schools with the goal of getting to know many families. We will have much more to report on with regards to the new elementary school in the December edition of the Parkland Newsletter.
I wish you all a wonderful BACK TO SCHOOL season.
Richard T. Sniscak, Superintendent of Schools
SUPERINTENDENT’S OBJECTIVE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR
- Developing, Implementing and Monitoring of School District Goals and Objectives
Establish short-term and long-term goals and objectives for the School District through research and analysis including input from the Board and the staff and continue to monitor the implementation and attainment of all goals and objectives taking into account future needs of the School District.
- Measuring and Assessing Student Growth and Achievement
Oversee the use of multiple data sources to assess student growth and achievement. Such sources may include Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), Advanced Placement Test (AP), National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI), Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Keystone Exams, Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment (PVAAS), School District assessments and other assessment tools. Oversee student growth and achievement with the goal of developing and expanding student growth and achievement in accordance with their abilities in curricular programs, co-curricular activities and extra-curricular school sponsored activities (including academics, arts and athletics).
- Employing Problem-Solving Skills
Identify the problem and the relevant information toward finding a solution through an unbiased and objective view by using appropriate and different skills, strategies and techniques (methods and tools) that allow for workable and functional solutions tailored to the problem.
- Providing Leadership
Have the ability to observe and be aware of what is going on within the School District; make timely decisions to serve the best interest of the School District; know when to act unilaterally or collaboratively; look for constructive solutions with a focus on moving forward rather than a focus on past mistakes and assigning blame; take responsibility for the entire School District by monitoring the effectiveness of policies; take steps to solve problems timely and efficiently; act with confidence; use strategies that have been well-researched or thought out; communicate positively with solutions in hand or the willingness to find solutions to problems; demonstrate honesty, ethical behavior and act reliably within and without the School District; plan ahead taking into account possible impacts of decisions and being able to consider viable alternatives or contingencies for decisions that do not work out; and inspire others to be the best they can be by giving them the support, tools, training and latitude to pursue goals and objectives for their success and the success of the School District.
- Delegating of Responsibility
Know when to delegate; know to whom to delegate; know how to delegate by clearly defining what needs to be done and when; maintain control by establishing timelines and open communications; address questions and progress; and review all work following completion to assure quality work that meets pre-established standards and expectations.
- Establishing a Working Relationship with the Board of School Directors
Prepare agenda and other meeting materials in timely fashion; attend and participate appropriately in meetings of the Board; keep the Board informed on all matters that may require Board action and on other matters deemed to be appropriate and necessary; provide recommendations based on research and analysis to the Board for formulation of Board policy and other matters that require Board action; implement and interpret Board adopted policies and recommend changes as necessary.
- Managing Personnel
Recruit and assign the best available personnel in terms of their qualifications, eligibilities, certifications and competencies; develop and execute sound personnel policies and practices; accept responsibility for maintaining liaison between staff and the Board; conduct a staff supervisory program; work with supervisory employees in a timely and constructive way to carry out performance evaluations and to correct deficiencies to increase effectiveness.
- Overseeing Curriculum and Instruction
Understand and keep informed regarding all aspects of the instructional program; organize and plan a continuing program for curriculum; evaluate and improve curriculum; utilize the abilities and talents of the professional staff and community to provide input for new and improved curriculum; oversee studies conducted by staff or committees to examine, evaluate and recommend curriculum changes.
- Overseeing Business and Finance
Evaluate financial needs both short-term and long-term; make recommendations for adequate funding for both operating expenditures and capital expenditures; utilize funds efficiently and maintain effective controls to monitor district expenditures to stay within the adopted budget; oversee the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States and pursuant to the regulations of the Commonwealth; and oversee the design, implementation and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement.
- Maintaining Communications with Staff, Students and Community
Speak effectively in front of large and small groups; express ideas in a logical and forthright manner; respond timely to questions and requests; listen, absorb and process both verbal and written communications; be receptive to recommendations, new ideas and complaints; and share information openly and frequently.
- Developing and Maintaining Relationships to Foster Community Needs
Develop cooperative relationships and work effectively with the following persons, groups, and organizations to foster community based needs: parents/guardians and patrons; news media; business community; non-profit organizations; charities; service organizations; law enforcement; emergency services; legislators; local, state and federal agencies; governmental entities (including townships and other political subdivisions).
- Engaging in Self and Staff Development
Maintain professional development through engagement in educational pursuits; engage in educational related endeavors (read educational materials, teach educational courses, matriculate in educational courses, attend educational conferences, and participate on educational committees both professional and non-professional); visit or communicate with other public school districts, as well as charter and private schools.
The Superintendent has met the above Objective Performance Standards for the 2018-2019 school year.