September 10, 2018 – School Board Meeting
Dr. Dennis Riker Outsources Student Pedestrian Safety to the Township
As someone who attends both the township and school board meetings, and who lives in Farmview Estates, I’ve had a 20-year front row seat to the issue of students crossing back and forth across Friedenstahl Avenue. When, following years of complaints, the District refused to take action , me and my neighbors took the issue to the Upper Nazareth Supervisors. The Supervisors responded by putting in crosswalks and lowering the speed limit on Friedenstahl Ave. Several Supervisors also took the time to monitor the crossings and, in fear of a student being hit, decided to add a crossing guard at 5th Street where there’s a 4-way stop. That crossing guard was pulled after the first day of school in response to an opinion by Patricia Quinn, the District Secretary of Transportation.
I asked the Board why they haven’t engaged with the township on this issue and why Ms. Quinn did not attend the Aug. 15th township meeting as she’d promised. The response was disappointing, but not unexpected. Dr. Riker claimed that he’d never been contacted by a UNT Supervisor, that he told Ms. Quinn not to attend the meeting, and that everything was the township manager’s fault for not being more aggressive about pursuing this topic with the District. In other words, Dr. Riker is going to do what the District’s been doing about student pedestrian safety for the past twenty years. Ignore it.
Mr. Vasko told me that Transportation Committee only handles busing, they’re not involved in pedestrian safety.
Me: “So, Mr. Vasko, when my son was run over 7 years ago by a car driven by a School District employee in a crosswalk with a crossing guard, which committee met to discuss what had happened?”
Mr. Vasko: “I wasn’t on the board at that time.”
Me: “So, no answer?”
Mr. Vasko: “Crickets”
At one point during the general meeting Kathryn Roberts said that, before she joined the Board she was amazed at the level of hostility and dysfunction she’d witnessed as an observer. Damn, did she ever get that right.
Dr. Riker repeatedly cautioned the Board that they should do nothing about student pedestrians because doing something might expose them to liability. Let’s hope the township Supervisors can do something about schoolchildren safety. And many thanks to Jodi Mammana for asking questions and showing some interest in taking action on this long-ignored issue.
Student Led Event
The student group, AEVIDUM, invited Board Members to an event on Friday. AEVIDUM translates to “I’ve got your back” and, since 2015, has worked to teach students to take care of each other and to erase the stigma around mental illness.
Dr. Linda Stubitz received a Certificate of Appreciation for Service from the Pennsylvania School Board Association.
Myla Hayes, from PSBA, did a brief presentation, explaining the services they offered: legislative advocacy, grant support, daily updates, job postings, policy services and an on-line learning portal.
Computers, Computers, Computers
The Board listened to 2 presentations which will make use of computer programs to ‘teach’ content: Paws in Job Land to teach career choices to 2nd graders and Stars and Exact Path to teach math to Intermediate and Middle School students.
Paws and Job Land features a cartoon dog who shows second graders careers such as being a stockbroker. (Seriously, that’s the example they showed.) Dr. Stubitz questioned the assessments used, pointing out that they’re similar to assessments in other software driven lesson plans and that the repetition isn’t good for students or parents.
Stars and Exact Path will be run as a pilot program in the Intermediate and Middle Schools and will replace Study Island. If adopted, they will cost $16,141 this school year. The presenters admitted the price could rise in the future.
Items 6, 7, 8 & 9 (item G was tabled) passed.
Item G referred to installing Lynn Chromiak to Acting Assistant Principal at Nazareth Area Intermediate School effective September 11th. Dr. Stubitz moved to table so the Board could discuss the appointment in Executive Session. The motion passed 5 to 4.
A link to the agenda and minutes can be found here: https://www.boarddocs.com/pa/naza/Board.nsf/Public
Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have a right to know what their government is doing and refusing to do.