Upper Dublin Community,
It is my pleasure to share this brief report focused on District events and updates. Our Newsworthy News includes:
- We would like to congratulate 16 of our students who have been named National Merit Semi-Finalists. These students are Allen Cai, David Cai, Allison Chang, Aaron Dorsey, Robert Frazier, Michelle Furmansky, Benjamin Helzner, Belinda Jin, Rose Listman, Connie Liu, John Palmer, Mario Petushi, Amelia Shaddinger, Ardyn Solomon, Hannah Xiao, and Judy Zhong. Semifinalists must have an outstanding high school academic record, meet SAT score requirements, submit an essay, and get a recommendation from a high school official. To advance to the finalist stage, semifinalists and his or her high school must submit an application detailing the academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership, employment, and honors received. Scholars are chosen based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in college.
- Prior to the first day of school, we had three days of professional development with our staff. At our annual convocation, all District employees were invited to be part of a celebration of our “One Team.” With a focus on making decisions in the best interests of our students, our convocation set the tone for the school year. Many thanks to everyone who took part in convocation and who helped facilitate three outstanding days of professional development.
- We are now into the third week of the school year and visits to schools show that our students and staff have developed great relationships and are working through areas of the curriculum together. Overall we have had a great start to the school year!
- The beginning of the year brought a significant heat wave with it. Thank you for everyone’s patience as we dismissed four of our six schools early on two days due to the excessive heat. After a great deal of research, we have identified the costs of bringing a temporary solution to our buildings with no air conditioning to ensure that we keep classrooms at acceptable temperatures during hot periods of the year. On Thursday evening during our Operations Committee, we will invite engineer Dimitri Ververelli to speak about our options for cooling our buildings.
- Our four elementary centers and sixth grade had outstanding Back to School Night events last week. Hundreds of families visited each school and learned about our curriculum and what the year will hold for our students. We thank everyone who attended these events!
- Our leadership team has begun a process of learning walks where administrators are visiting classrooms and observing teaching and learning with the intent of answering the essential question: What is the evidence of student learning? This process will refine our leadership team’s ability to provide high quality and high impact feedback to our teachers. The goal is to continually increase the efficacy and capacity of our teachers to ensure our students receive the very best education we can give to them.
- Mr. Philip Vinogradov, our Director of Technology, has been selected to be part of Stanford University’s Design School. Chosen from a pool of nationwide candidates, Mr. Vinogradov will participate in a small cohort of thought leaders to harness design thinking to bring about innovation and change in the best interests of our students here in the District. We look forward to what Mr. Vinogradov will share with us when he returns from Stanford.
- Last week the FDA announced that teen vaping is now an epidemic. A recent study indicates that there has been a 900% increase in the number of high school students (and even some younger students) gaining access to vaping devices. Even when teens and young adults use them for flavored oils, their access to the devices often leads to using them for more harmful substances such as tobacco or worse. Given the latest news on vaping, we plan to provide education to our students and families about this important topic. Please stay tuned to eNotifications for information.
- On Friday afternoon, an open letter addressing the issue of the proposed bus garage was shared with the community. In that letter, the Board of Directors discussed that we currently lease a bus garage facility. The District’s lease on that facility ends in 2021. While that seems like a long time from now, the District must identify a new location for the bus garage. We desire a location within the District and on property that the District owns. This would prevent the District from acquiring more debt and losing additional tax revenue by purchasing property in the Township. The location must also be in proximity to Township facilities to provide the opportunity for this to be a joint project between the District and the Township. As stated in the letter, the Board and administration will work to determine the best location for the proposed bus garage.
- During last evening’s meeting, I provided a brief overview of my goals for the 2018-2019 school year. As a summary of my goals for the year, the presentation provided the highlights of the work that I will engage in with members of our District staff in the best interests of our students. Later this week, a more comprehensive document containing my goals will be available on the District website’s “Superintendent’s Spot.”
- Congrats to our fall sports teams and our marching band for a strong start to the season! Student talent abounds in the School District of Upper Dublin!
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Steven M. Yanni, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools