Students Were the Story at School Board Meeting

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board:  

Strath Haven High School 10th grader Peter Armour led the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance to commence the board’s Monday night meeting.

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Armour, who lives in Swarthmore, later presented a slide show documenting his recently-completed Eagle Scout project, which board president Richard Sonntag noted was of direct benefit to the school district and the community. Armour and other members of Troop 112 worked with community members and WSSD staff to resurface the running track at the Rutgers Avenue School in Swarthmore, spreading and compacting 90 tons of limestone fines on the freshly edged and regraded oval. The project was finished last month and is seeing heavy use.

Student representative Danielle Berman of Wallingford presented updates from each of the district schools. Highlights she reported include:

• Wallingford Elementary students sang the national anthem at a recent Wilmington Blue Rocks game, visited the Philadelphia Zoo, competed in games and dunked teachers on Field Day.

• Nether Providence Elementary musicians performed their instrumental and rehearsed for their choral concerts, with an intermission for their field day last Friday.

• Swarthmore-Rutledge School students are in a busy social season, with the end-of-year celebration last week and the Globetrotters end-of-year celebration coming up on Tuesday, May 31. Fifth graders were finishing up their Dimensions in Art mosaic project.

• Strath Haven Middle School athletes enjoyed great sports seasons, including an undefeated baseball campaign. Middle school musicians performed in a music festival in Kutztown, as well as instrumental and choral concerts at SHMS.

• Strath Haven High School athletes enjoyed great successes in girls and boys lacrosse, girls track (sending athletes to the state tournament in three events) and ultimate Frisbee (with wins in district and city tournaments.) Concert season is in full swing.

Special Education directors Gina Ross (elementary) and Megan McCullough (secondary) presented “These Are Our Stories,” narratives focusing the board’s attention on four students whose educational journeys have involved various areas of support through the district’s office of special education.

Two are elementary students. Helena Roberts of Rutledge, age 9, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after birth. She attends an out-of-district placement at a specialized school and is making great strides in learning to read and developing age-appropriate math skills. Eight-year-old Lara Bruno of Media, who has Down Syndrome, is part of the WES academic and social community, participating in a general class setting, with targeted interventions and supports.

Two older students were present at the meeting on Monday. Julia Tyler of Swarthmore was a student in WSSD schools from kindergarten through high school; she “walked” with her Strath Haven HS class in 2014 and will receive her diploma this June. Julia’s family worked with the special education department to develop and modify IEPs for Julia, who has Down Syndrome, through her school transitions, development as a student and evolving interests. Her involvement with the district has continued post-graduation with employability training, arrangement of internships, and recently, placement in a paid position at the Compendium retail store in Swarthmore.

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SHHS senior Tyana Clements of Media spoke eloquently about the journey that has led her to the brink of graduation and matriculation at Clark Atlanta University. She recalled the beginning in elementary school of a sense that other students were understanding things that eluded her, and the relief when a “mysterious lady” helped her develop learning strategies and the confidence to begin participating in class again. This support specialist was succeeded by middle school and high school learning support teachers who helped Tyana remain engaged, develop independence and “value the resources that were there for me.” She was deeply involved in the Strath Haven community during her high school career, which culminated in her participation in the Penn Relays as a member of the 4×100 relay team this spring.

Summit Sale Completed

In non-student reports, Interim Superintendent Michael Pladus said that WSSD has completed the sale of the former Summit School property to Nether Providence Township. The school board voted unanimously to appoint Sally Morbeck as board treasurer, beginning July 1; to renew its food service contract with Aramark for the coming school year; and to approve (subject to solicitor’s review) a 3-year agreement with Broadview Networks for VOIP phone service.

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