Time for a school change
TREVORTON - The first two meetings to help students transition to the new building alignment in the Line Mountain School District next school year have been positive, according to elementary principal Jeanne Menko.
She said the meetings are helping to build a sense of unity while the district undergoes significant change.
"They (the meetings) are important because we are Line Mountain," she said Thursday. "The more we pre-plan, the better experience the children will have.
"I want them to be safe and secure in their buildings," she added. "I want parents to feel safe. I want us to be united."
Elementary schools in Leck Kill and Dalmatia will close at the end of the school year, and all students in grades kindergarten through fourth will be housed at Trevorton, where an addition will be constructed this spring and summer. Also as part of the $3.4 million plan, an addition will be built to the seventh- and eighth-grade wing at the junior/senior high school in Mandata, which will also then house all of the district's fifth- and sixth-grade students.
The purpose of the transition meetings - the first ones were Dec. 6 and Wednesday - is to allow the community to express concerns and brainstorm ideas that would help.
"There are so many aspects to look at. I don't want anything to be missed," Menko said.
At the December meeting, 10 parents and four teachers were present. On Wednesday night, there were 18 parents and two teachers. Both meetings were at the Trevorton building.
Additional transitional meetings will be held Feb. 7, March 6 and April 11 at the auditorium at Trevorton Elementary.
In addition to the meetings, Menko said the district is working on activities to ensure children become familiar with each other, "so they're not walking into a place they don't know and are not comfortable."
A plan is in place to have movie nights at the Trevorton Elementary auditorium targeted at different grade levels. On Feb. 8, kindergarten and first-grade students will be invited for the movie, followed by a relay race. On March 15, it will be movie night for second- and third-graders, who will do crafts afterward. And on April 4, fourth-grade students will do puzzles after their movie.
Also, on March 1 at Trevorton, there will be a Minute to Win It game for all elementary students.
Students at each grade level from Dalmatia and Leck Kill will visit Trevorton to meet their teachers, experience lunch at the cafeteria and tour the building. Activities will be held throughout the day for students to meet others in their grade.
And, Menko said, Field Day May 15 at the Trevorton Foundry/Recreation Area Complex will involve all district elementary students.
High school visit
Current fourth-grade students will be taken to the high school for a tour of the that campus in anticipation of their attendance there next school year.
Current fifth- and sixth-grade students have already been to the school for career day, an assembly and a pep rally, Menko said. On March 15, sixth-grade students will visit the technical education department to build a bird house, and fifth-grade students will do the same on March 26.
"Fifth and sixth don't have the 'getting-to-know' hurdle to pass, since they already know each other," Menko said, referencing that those grades are educated at the Trevorton building. "They're getting adjusted to a new physical location."
'Letting people talk'
Superintendent Dave Campbell and School Board Director David Scott Bartholomew attended Wednesday night's transition meeting.
Batholomew said Menko is doing a "wonderful job," and the transition should be easier with her guidance, he said.
Campbell said he loves the concept of the transition meetings, and complimented the staff and Menko for welcoming community's involvement.
"She's letting people talk, and that's a good way to get the information out there through parents," he said. "The more we open our building up to the community, the better we become."
Menko is pleased, too.
"The parents and the community want the best for their kids; they are willing to work together and share ideas, and I'm feeling positive about it," she said; "It's going to be a lot of work, but I think there are a lot of people who want to help with that work, and it will make it easier."