Superintendent’s Message October 27, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members, 

I have several items of interest to share with our community.

American Education Week is almost here! Watch for notification from our schools about the activities and opportunities for participation that will occur during the week of November 13-17.

I have recently engaged in conversations about student achievement in the Upper Dublin schools. There is a sense among some of our community that our student achievement has declined in recent years. This concern appears to be based on the reports of our student achievement data from the School Performance Profile (SPP), which is based solely on student achievement as measured by the PSSA and Keystone standardized test data. The District has now received our 2016-2017 data and I am pleased to share that we have improvement in our student achievement scores, which have increased at UDHS, SRMS, JTES, FWES, and remained stable at TFES and MGES. I attribute this to our continuous improvement efforts addressing curriculum, instructional practice, scheduling and restructuring in our schools. Our building administrators are sharing these positive achievement results with our teachers and staff, and they will collaboratively analyze the results. As previously shared with our community, our SAT and AP scores continue to be very high; last year we experienced more students taking more AP tests with more scores of 3+ than ever before. Comprehensive reports on our achievement data will be presented during upcoming Education Committee and Legislative meetings.

I would also like to update our learning community on the status of planning for the facilities project at Sandy Run Middle School. The next Community Forum at SRMS will be held on November 14 with tours of the buildings beginning at 5:30 PM, followed by a 7:00 PM presentation including a Question & Answer session. Presentations from the Forums held in September and October may be accessed through the Sandy Run Facilities Project link on the District website homepage. The Board has accepted the recommendation of the SRMS Project Review Committee and all artifacts from the work of the committee, including the recommendation, are posted on the District website. At this time three options are under consideration: implement select capital improvements with no program improvements, renovate with an addition and site improvements including demolishing the Annex, and constructing a new building with site improvements.

The next step in the process is to have architectural firms review, validate and provide alternatives to these options if appropriate. Last evening the Operations Committee of the Board of School Directors reviewed the following timeline for issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for architects.

November 14, 2017: Board issues Request for Proposals to select school architects.

November 21, 2017: Architects review District information and walk through SRMS.

December 11, 2017: Architects respond with validation of existing options or submit alternative options, outline their proposed fees, provide information pertaining to their professional experience in school design projects, and complete all other RFP requirements.

January 8, 2018: Board announcement of short list of architects.

January 29, 2018: public presentations of architects’ proposals.

February 12, 2018: Board to select architect.

Information pertaining to this process will continue to be presented during the Board’s Operations and Finance Committee meetings and Legislative meetings.

Cardinal Point of Pride! Fourteen representatives of our Excellence and Equity Committee presented information about our District’s diversity work at the annual statewide PASA/PSBA conference. We were honored to be invited to share our presentation, One District’s Journey to Partner With Our Community, which featured the work of our seven student, parent and faculty committees addressing the variety of perspectives existing within the Upper Dublin school community. As a district we are committed to providing equitable opportunities for student success, and our excellence and equity groups provide insights into these perspectives as we partner to expand our capacity to meet the needs of all UD students. We are committed to “hearing, honoring and celebrating” our diversity and working to make UD Better Together.

Important information from our Human Resources department for our school volunteers and those who may be interested in employment with the District.

Our volunteers play a vibrant and important role in assisting our students and teachers, and in supporting the programs in our district, and we are very appreciative of those who continue to engage in this work. We now have a group of volunteers whose background checks are close to expiring and must be updated.

We urge all volunteers to check the expiration date on your card. If your card is close to expiring please update your background checks with our Human Resource Office before the expiration date.

More information about the volunteer process can be found on the School District Human Resources page:  http://www.udsd.org/departments/human-resources/#toggle-id-6

Additionally, the District is actively seeking bus drivers and food service workers along with substitute teachers, teaching assistants, and cafeteria/playground assistants. The District will now provide training for bus driver candidates.

If you know of candidates who might be interested in any of these positions, please refer them to the District website or to our Human Resources Office at 215 643-8800, ext. 0.

The Board of School Directors will hold their next Legislative Meeting on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. in the Cardinal Room at UDHS. All members of the community are encouraged to attend. Members of the public may access agenda and documents through BoardDocs on the District website. Go to the Board of Directors page under Board agendas tab and click on the meeting listed on the appropriate date. Agendas and materials will be available approximately 48 hours before the meeting.

As always, I invite interested members of the Upper Dublin community to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have. I can be reached at 215 643-8802 or through dwheeler@udsd.org . Follow me on Twitter @UDSDSupt.

Sincerely,

Deborah S. Wheeler, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools