Mountain View unveils comprehensive plan

BY TOM FONTANA

Correspondent

The Mountain View School Board was presented Monday night with a final draft of the district’s PA Comprehensive District Plan.

Karen Voight, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction said, “This is a living document.  It will never be perfect. It can always be subject to change and tweeking.”

The Comprehensive Plan is an outline of the district’s long-range mission and goals.

The final draft addresses goals such as improving the graduation rate, reinstituting math and reading clinics during the school day (which have been offered as after school programs in recent years), and focusing on transition programs for special education students.

“This is a six-year plan, but we’re not locked into anything,” Voigt reiterated.  “The NEIU may find it too ambitious.”

The deadline to present the document to the state is January 31, and it will be available for public review for the next 30 days.  Voight said comments and suggestions were welcome.

In other business, Michael Slesinski who became the district’s director of special services in August, gave a review of the district’s special education program.

Most of his work was aimed at becoming familiar with the various aspects of the program, but much of it was learning about required forms and procedures for Medical Access since the state switched to a new vendor, PCG.

At the Mt. View board meeting Monday evening, Nov. 26, Slesinski presented a detailed overview of his activities since the beginning of the school year.

“I’ve met with the NEIU 19 and a PCG consultant to implement the new procedures,” Slesinski told the board, “created a list of medical service providers under Access, and attended training on the new procedures.”

Slesinski said the biggest part of the implementation with be retraining other district staff who will need to ‘unlearn’ the former procedures.

“I have a slight advantage because I’m new, so I don’t have to unlearn old methods,” Slesinski said. “The paraprofessional staff will need to become familiar with all new forms and rules.”

He was planning to hold a session with them to offer guidance on complying with new Medical Access requirements.”

He also informed the board that he reviewed daily schedules of paraprofessionals assigned to assist special education students, and found deficiencies in some use of time.

“New schedules have been created for all high school paraprofessionals,” he said, “to ensure that required services are being provided during all periods of the school day.  Elementary paraprofessional schedules are also being reviewed regularly.”

Other aspects of his overview included his becoming familiar with aspects of: the district’s state-mandated Comprehensive Plan; NHS (an area mental health services provider) and its Partial Hospitalization program at the high school; other area health service providers; the influx of special education students from other districts and a review of each student’s Individual Education Plan; and various contracts.

The native of Orange County, N.Y., who holds master’s degrees in educational leadership from Lehman College in New York City, said his presentation to the board was the result of a request by district superintendent Francine Shea.

Some board members questioned the need for chaperones on two field trips being conducted by high school staff.  One involves 30 students on a half-day trip to the FBLA Regional Leadership Conference at Sayre High School in Sayre on Dec. 17.  The students would be accompanied by Corinne Ross and Ernie Griffis.

The other trip would be conducted by guidance counselor Donna Porter, with 40 ninthth-grade students for a tour of the Career Technology Center at Elk Lake on Dec. 5.

“Those are a lot of students on each trip,” board director Roy Twining pointed out. “It seems there should be more chaperones or parent volunteers for that many students on a trip.”

The board decided to address both field trip requests at its annual reorganization meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3.

The board also approved Whitney Twining of Thompson as a volunteer for the girls varsity and junior varsity basketball teams for the school year.

Superintendent Shea offered congratulations to both the girls and boys soccer teams, citing the girls for making the playoffs, and the boys’ state championship accomplishment.

“I’m looking into getting a banner acknowledging the championship for out front of the school,” She said, “and banners in the gym for both boys and girls teams.  I’m also in contact with PennDOT about road signs for the boys’ team.”