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As Graduation Approaches, GASD Focuses on Helping Students Succeed

Gettysburg High School Principal Jeremy Lusk explained to the Gettysburg Area School District board directors on Monday how the high school staff was focusing on students to help assure they were all able to graduate on time despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Lusk said the school was recommending all hybrid students return to school as much as they can and that the focus was on 30-40 seniors who were perceived to be at higher risk. “We’ve contact their families and encouraged them to return… so that we get them to the finish line on time,” said Lusk.

Lusk, Pratt, and Hassinger

“We’re trying to get the right kids back in the building for as much time as they need to be successful. It’s a daily grind trying to communicate with families and sometimes trying to convince them that it’s to their advantage to come in for more time,” said Lusk.

Lusk said students and families had various reasons for not wanting to return including concerns they might lose time if there is another shutdown and about safety guidelines. “Its an interesting thing to see a push-pull effect in terms of numbers in the classroom and space,” he said.

Perrin encouraged students and parents to ask questions and teachers to reach out to help individual students.

“People in all places are stressed,” said Lusk.  “It’s trying for sure but we don’t stop. It takes a village.”

Board President Kenneth Hassinger said he appreciated Lusk’s efforts and encouraged the board to help communicate to the public the challenges and successes that teachers and administrators are facing. “I think there’s a lot of good things happening not just at the high school but at the middle school and elementary level that our general public here in the Gettysburg area has no clue about,” said Hassinger. 

Hassinger encouraged Lusk to continue communicating about these difficult issues “There’s a lot of good things happening that I don’t think are being communicated.”

Board member Kathleen Pratt thanked Lusk for his work saying, “When my children were students at your high school and other schools I knew the teachers and administrators cared about my kids. To listen to you talk about how important every student is to you … I’m almost brought to tears. I cannot thank you enough that you’re going over and above to do what you can so these kids get over the finish line and graduate.”

Lusk said decisions about graduation ceremonies had not yet been made and that the district was looking for the best way to allow students and families to celebrate, whether online or in an outdoor setting.

“We listen, we care, and want to get it right. There’s still a lot of school work to do before that,” said Lusk.

The next scheduled school board meeting will be Tuesday April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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