The Northampton School Board met Monday, July 17 to discuss curricula revisions and regular agenda items.
Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik and Assistant Superintendent Michelle Schoeneberger began with a presentation on curriculum updates.
Schoeneberger explained that curriculum changes can be triggered by a five-to-seven-year curriculum cycle, academic progress, state requirements and new standards, new research/knowledge of student learning and effective instruction/assessment, new instructional tools and/or resources and changes to building schedule or graduation credit requirements.
Additionally, curriculum revisions for existing courses may undergo minor revisions, which can include updates to scope and sequence, wording of objectives/skills/content, technology/resources and assessments, or courses may undergo major revisions for reasons such as alignment to new academic standards, change of primary instructional resources and new instructional approaches, and new course curricula may occur when there are updated state requirements, students’ interest, programmatic enhancements and staffing reasons.
The proposed curriculum for the 2023-24 school year includes major and minor revisions to existing courses, as well as a curriculum for a new course.
The minor curriculum revisions outlined affect Grade 6 computer technology, Grade 7 world government and civics, K-8 art, world languages (French II, French III, Spanish I, Spanish II and honors Spanish III) and Grades 9-12 FACS: child development and family nutrition, interior design and sewing.
The major curricular revisions affect K-5 reading, Grade 8 exploratory world language and Grades 9-12 art: media production, and the new course being added will be Grades 9-12 health and physical education: HIIT the ground running, which focuses on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and healthy habits.
The major literacy curriculum changes in Grades K-5 are due to the current curriculum (Units of Study) not meeting the needs of all students. For example, Units of Study did not include specific phonemic instruction, so that is being supplemented to address deficits in learning. The revised curriculum will now include instruction on reading comprehension, types of text, school readiness, handwriting/cursive/typing, phonics, word recognition, phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, science, social studies, speaking and listening, skilled reader, skilled writer and craft and structure, which will use Units of Study but supplement additional resources where Units of Study was lacking.
During regular agenda items, the board unanimously approved all personnel/voice vote items, which included the following: professional and support staff transfers; Craig Neiman as Open Records Officer and Jason Williamson as alternate; one employee leave of absence; the job description for a 10-month middle school secretary; and three resignations.
Under personnel/roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the following: attendance of PIMS/Child Account Coordinator Susan Hertzog at the Attendance/Child Accounting Professional Association Workshop in September at a cost of $290.52; attendance of Luke Shafnisky at the Pa. Summit 23 for Educational Leaders in August at a cost of $954.47; the list of summer library workers and their compensation; and for new substitutes to be paid one day’s substitute wages for completion of all required training to become a substitute for the district.
The board also unanimously approved the following hires for the upcoming school year: Ian Luberti as TPE business, computer and information technology teacher at the middle school; Harry Schwartz as TPE special education teacher at the middle school; Adriana Huaman as TPE kindergarten teacher at George Wolf Elementary; Jennifer Edwards as study hall instructional assistant at the high school; Joshua Deutsch as technology technician-assistant technology assistant; Elizabeth Leibenguth as cafeteria monitor at the high school; August Chien as long-term substitute ESL teacher at the middle school; Carly Suarez as long-term substitute Grade 1 elementary teacher at George Wolf Elementary; Jacqlyn Mondschien as PE Grade 5 elementary teacher at George Wolf Elementary; Dana Alyse Schaffer as PE special education teacher at Lehigh Elementary; Katie Peluszak as 10-month secretary at the middle school; Kaitlin Sauerzopf as PE Grade 4 elementary teacher at Lehigh Elementary; and Emma Garneau as TPE Grade 4 elementary teacher at Siegfried Elementary.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the revised curricula for K-5 reading, Grade 6 computer technology, Grade 7 social studies, K-8 art, Grade 8 exploratory world language, French II, French III, Spanish I, Spanish II, honors Spanish III, child development and family nutrition, interior design and sewing, HIIT the ground running, and media production.
Under facilities, the board unanimously approved a quote with Johnson Controls, Inc. for upgrades to the district’s HVAC’s direct digital controls systems at a cost of $147,940 and a five-year service agreement effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2028 with Johnson Controls, Inc. for service to the district’s HVAC’s direct digital controls systems at the following costs: 2023-24- $21,500; 2024-25- $24,811; 2025-26- $25,556; 2026-27- $26,323; and 2027-28- $27,113.
Next, the board unanimously approved the following agenda items listed under finances: a three-year agreement with Gorman & Associates, P.C. to provide auditing services for the district and public library through the 2025-26 school year; 2023 real estate tax exonerations for three of the district’s Route 329 property parcels in the amounts of $1,036.21, $11.14 and $105.85 due to being a tax-exempt entity; bills for payment; and the treasurer’s report.
Last, the board unanimously approved the elementary and secondary student/parent handbooks for the upcoming school year.
The next Northampton School Board meeting will be held on Monday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northampton Area High School auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.