Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk
(As published in the Dec. 7 edition of the Rocket-Courier)
The Dec. 4 Re-organization Meeting of the Wyalusing School Board got off to a late start on Monday due an expulsion hearing held beforehand. The only official discussion on the matter was the approval of an attorney engagement with Ms. Cassandra Blaney, Esq. later in the meeting.
Nonetheless, the agenda moved along quickly as school board president Chad Salsman was nominated and unanimously reelected as president. Board member Gene Anne Woodruff commended Salsman for a “job well-done” during his previous four years as president, and Salsman thanked the board for their continued support. Matt Muench was elected as vice president. Board Committee assignments also remained unchanged from the previous year.
The Wyalusing Varsity Football team was honored by the board for their PIAA District 4 Championship. Coach Jordan Clark (above) commended the boys for their outstanding cohesion and development as a team since he took over as coach last spring, calling them a “great bunch of kids.”
Sophomore quarterback Shane Fuhrey (below, right) said that team building and the playoff journey were the most exciting experiences yet in his scholastic athletic career. “We bonded in ways that I didn’t know high school boys could bond,” Shane remarked.
Superintendent Jason Bottiglieri (above, left) related that he was approached by a school board member from another district who was impressed by Clark’s leadership, telling Bottiglieri that Clark “creates gentlemen first and good moral citizens.”
Elementary library director Chelsey Whitmiller, who returned to the district at the beginning of the year after being furlowed, presented a report on how she is making the library more accessible to pupils based on their grade levels and reading skills.
In addition to color-coding books based on the Lexile Level of reading proficiency, Whitmiller (above) plans to start a Rewards for Reading program in January and more project-based assessments. The goal, she noted is to have all students reading at a purple (7th-grade) level by the time they leave the sixth grade. She has also been hiding golden tickets inside books that have not been checked out in a while that are redeemable for prizes.
For kindergarten and first-graders unfamiliar with how a library works, she has been affixing recognizable icons to books and grouping them to help students make selections that might be of interest. The initiative has also proven successful in getting the books back where they belong.
With regret, the board accepted the resignation of Special Education director Leslie Harrington and welcomed back Beth Schulze, who will fill in on an interim basis until a suitable replacement can be found.
Two Mansfield University students will be joining the faculty in the spring as student teachers; Edward Garcia, under the direction of Susan Kilmer, and Johnathan Katzmaeir, under the direction of Korrie Kunkle.
In their student reports, WVHS senior Jonathan Morrison (below, right) noted that turnout was high for auditions for the spring musical, “Rags,” and that several of his fellow football team members had secured roles.
Elementary representative Olivia Haley (above, left) told the board that the sixth graders enjoyed their recent class trip to Washington DC., where they were welcomed by rep. Tom Marino. When asked what she enjoyed most about the trip, Olivia responded, “I liked the Jefferson Memorial because you can see the tidal basin and the Washington Monument from there.”
Unruly Riders Protested
The meeting closed with comments by substitute bus driver Jerry Kipp, who said that discipline on the school buses is becoming an issue. “Most of the kids who are out of control are special needs kids and elementary students,” Kipp (below) remarked. “We’re driving with one eye in the mirror.”
He continued that students are disrespectful of the drivers and tell them that they have no authority over them. “They’re telling us where to go in no uncertain terms,” said Kipp. “We have some very discouraged drivers out there.”
There was no response from the board other than to thank Kipp for his time.