Autumn Alleman, Member Services Manager from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, presented Upper Adams school board member Elaine Jones on Monday evening with a certificate of appreciation for her 16 years of service to the Upper Adams School District (UASD).
Alleman said school board members spend “hours and hours away from their family to perform unpaid service to their community.”
District Superintendent Wesley Doll said the administration was beginning the planning progress for a fuller return for middle and high school students who are currently on an A/B hybrid schedule. “We have started administratively to talk about a timeline for a plan”, said Doll. Doll said he was not sure what the outcome of the process would be due to the number decisions that have to be made.
Board member Cindy Jancyzk said she was encouraged to hear that the administration was beginning to think about a fuller reopening. “Parents are eager to see that their kids are educated properly,” said Jancyzk.
Jancyzk said she thought the district could better highlight “the positive things that do come out of this. We haven’t had any positive cases that were hospitalized. There haven’t been any positives that have infected others in the community,” said Jancyzk.
During the community comments session, local resident Dustin Kramer questioned the appropriateness of buying Apple products for the students. “This district does not have a large tax base. I cannot understand how this district can justify purchasing the most expensive computers and devices available – in example Apple laptops, iPads and iPhones,” said Kramer.
Kramer said only seven percent of businesses use Apple products and so children are being trained to use systems “they will never see again after they graduate.”
Kramer said he was currently Zooming in to the meeting using a four-year-old Chromebook that cost him $180. “I honestly feel they don’t have the best interests of the residents and taxpayers in mind,” said Kramer.
Board President Tom Wilson said the board would take Kramer’s comments under consideration.
Board member and legislative liaison Chris Fee said the state had delayed finalizing its 2021 budget from June to November and so the state funding for next year was not yet known. “It’s hard to see how the state is going make up the budget shortfall. Things don’t look good,” said Fee.
Director of Student Services Dr. Anne Corwell announced the district would be receiving a grant of $9,000 from a federal special education COVID grant. The grant is dedicated to improving parental outreach.
Jancyzk said teachers are “doing a phenomenal job under extenuating circumstances and that she appreciated Biglerville Elementary School Principal Jamie Kerstetter mentioning in his report to the board that student learning had suffered from the lack of in-person learning last spring. “It’s a tough admission, said Jancyzk. “We’re in a really tough situation.”
Jancyzk asked Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Department Head Joseph L. Albin about student learning. In response, Ablin said “the transition to the new year has been a challenge. Some students are behind.” Albin said programs were in place to help with make-up work and remediation. We’re optimistic these gaps will close,” said Albin.
The next board meeting, to be held via Zoom video, will be on November 3.