Mt. View initiates ‘Pride’ awards

Mountain View students earning “Pride in Mountain View” recognition for NEIU Scholastic Scrimmage included, from left, Owen Flannery, Stephanie Virbitsky, and Andrew Adams. STAFF PHOTO/TOM FONTANA

BY TOM FONTANA

Correspondent

Mountain View is being spelled with a capital “P” this week.

Mountain View School Board took time out in Monday night’s meeting to recognize some stellar performances.

The beginning of the meeting was held in the elementary school gym to accommodate a crowd of students, parents and staff who attended to accept the awards or offer enthusiastic support for the outstanding accomplishments being recognized.

Superintendent Francine Shea said the awards were initiated for the first time this school year to acknowledge the conclusion of a season or an activity or when a milestone is reached.

Among the academic recognitions:

*NEIU Scholastic Scrimmage: Coaches Charlene Martens and

Mountain View students earning “Pride of Mountain View” recognition included art students who participated in the Feed-A- Friend “Battle of the Sculptures” competition against other Susquehanna County schools and won. From left are Alicia Belch, Kyle Arnold, and Chelsie Bartlett. STAFF PHOTO/TOM FONTANA

Karen Voigt; students Lucas Jodon, Ben Maitland, Stephanie Virbitsky, Owen Flannery and Andrew Adams.

*Arts (Feed a Friend “Battle of the Sculptures” Sculptures” winners): Advisor George Barbolish; students Dedra Congdon, Melinda Miller, Makenna Whitaker, Annie Johnson, Swann Kushmore, Kyle Arnold, Chelsie Bartlett, Alice Arnold, Chelsie Bartlett, Alicia Belch, Jennifer Molenko, Kelsey Twining.

In other business, the board heard the first reading of a policy that would allow board members to participate in meetings by electronic communication when they are unable to attend a board meeting.

The policy stipulates that a board member could use the remote system only “under extraordinary circumstances,” and the member must be alone, in a quiet environment, and agree to attend the entire meeting by either phone (audio) or video.  A request for remote participation must be submitted three days prior to the meeting and be approved by the board.  The district would provide the equipment for the remote participation.

Curriculum director Karen Voigt presented a review of the progress of committee members working on a comprehensive curriculum plan to meet required state standards.

“Mapping a curriculum is a big problem in Pennsylvania,” she said.  “Schools in the state follow a traditional path rather than an integrated path.  In some other states, all schools that follow the same [integrated] curriculum can all order the same text books.  In Pennsylvania, each school district follows it’s own [traditional] path.”

She also stated that the state doesn’t define clearly what the curriculum path should be for the comprehensive plan.

Board member Thomas Stoddard remarked, “[The state] wants us to make up a curriculum, but doesn’t know how to define it.”

Voigt’s biggest concern is finding time to complete the plan, which is about 75 percent finished.  “We have to be able to meet,” she explained, “but things come up.”

Voigt suggested that the district may need to plan regular days for early dismissal so that curriculum plan teachers and staff have extra time to meet and work together on the plan to meet state deadlines.

“This plan is important,” commented board member Elwood Williams, “and time cannot be an excuse.  Time needs to be made and this needs to get done.”

Concerning security at the schools, Stoddard expressed his concern that there is no way of knowing if all of the doors at entrances to both buildings are locked.  He and other board members suggested that a security company be contacted to meet with the board to discuss available security systems, including video surveillance and electronic indicators to monitor activity around the schools.

Concerning contract negotiations, Stoddard, who is chairperson of the Labor Relations Committee, complained that several meetings have been cancelled between the teachers union and the board.

“We’ve lost six weeks of negotiations so far this year,” he explained, “when meetings were cancelled because the union negotiator couldn’t attend.  We can have friendly meetings without the union negotiator there, so I don’t see why they should be cancelled each time.  Our next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20, and I’d like to keep that meeting.”

Board president Todd Adams pointed out that the board meeting would be the last one for business manager Janice Finnochio, who is retiring, and he thanked her for her service, stating that cake would be available in the district office on Friday, Nov. 16, to mark her departure.