Wyalusing Ahead of Others in School Security

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Under the direction of Ellen Coates (top, far left) Wyalusing Elementary School third graders (continuing from left) Aleta O’Connor, Michael Phillips, Emily Johns, Abbie Tuttle, Shay Gartland, Caitlyn Wurle, Charlotte Sitas, and Bradyn Johnson serenaded school board members on April 9 with a spirited Irish folk song. Above, Billy Scarborough and Alec Tuttle explain the process of creating props with the use of a 3D printer to Wyalusing school administrators.

Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)

In the course of his monthly IU17 report, Wyalusing Area School District (WASD) board member Doug Eberlin related that security concerns topped the most recent BLaST meeting he had attended. Participants from Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties shared the security measures that they are currently employing and those they are considering. WASD has already implemented most of them.

We are the only district to be using the camera and door systems and the phone systems,” said Eberlin. “I was proud to know that Wyalusing is ahead of the curve.”

Superintendent Jason Bottiglieri added that another program had been activated on Monday. Any 911 call generated within the school campus will automatically be relayed to all central staff and administrators. In the event of an intruder, for example, the precise location from which the call was generated will be known so personnel can react accordingly.

Student Accomplishments

Music and technology were highlighted in student performances during the April 9 meeting, beginning with a trumpet duet by PMEA state qualifier Katie Mills and music teacher Bryan Carr, who took a few moments to explain to the board just how challenging it was for Katie to work her way to the state competition. Each level of succession is bittersweet for the students, he noted, because it means much more practice and a greater intensity of judging.

Katie, in turn, credited her teachers and the school district for providing the opportunities that she has enjoyed as a student musician. Each festival, she related, offers a different atmosphere and new experiences.

The musical performances during the meeting fell on the heels of March as Music in Our Schools Month and included a rendition of a rousing Irish folk song called “Rattlin’ Bog” by a number of third graders led by Ellen Coates.

Students in the Elementary Gifted Program have been learning how to use one of four 3D printers on campus, creating characters, props and backdrops for a play. Gifted Program instructor Melissa Bennett invited students Billy Scarborough, Alec Tuttle, Katherine White, Gavin Evans and Alysha Botts to explain the process to administrators and board members, while one of the 3D printers whizzed and whirred at the center of the meeting room, creating a small plastic dog.

Boosters Pitch for Dugouts

Tammy Bird approached the board about the need for dugouts for girls softball players. A raw and windy spring has exposed the students to often miserable conditions that will soon be followed, she noted, by heat and glaring sun. “We feel that it affects how the girls play,” Bird (below) remarked. At a recent game, the visiting team arrived with a make-shift, temporary dugout, while the Wyalusing girls hopped up and down and huddled together for warmth, she related.

Fundraising efforts have been successful, Bird continued, and enough money is available for the construction of two three-sided, pressure-treated shelters that can be manufactured by Gary Rouse within two weeks of being ordered. If the school could commit to removing the sod for the base, Tony Bennett has offered to lay stone for the boosters, who would then put the dugouts in place.

Board members were receptive to Bird’s plea and acknowledged her sense of urgency but cautioned that the situation and the request would have to be fully reviewed before consent could be granted. “There’s no reason that the girls should not have the same thing that the boys do,” said Barb Prevost. “We don’t have to be sold that this is something we have to do.” Nonetheless, she added, proper protocol and adherence to bureaucracy is necessary to bring every good project to fruition.

Staff Changes Noted

The board approved the resignations of teacher’s aid Marcia Gary, speech and language pathologist Amanda Tohme, and short-term substitute elementary teacher Brian Salsman. Bottiglieri noted that Gary has been with the district for more than 35 years and that Tohme is moving with her husband to Texas, where he will be serving in the military. Heather McMicken was approved as a new short-term substitute teacher to replace Salsman.

Graduation for the Wyalusing Valley High School Class of 2018 has tentatively been set for Tuesday, June 12.

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