Recent Stafford School District BOE Meeting Has PLC Flavor

Mar 01, 2017

The most recent Stafford Township School District Board of Education meeting had a distinct Ronald L. Meinders Primary Learning Center flavor to it, particularly at the beginning when the board often recognizes outstanding achievement during its monthly public sessions. And this time around, PLC Principal Lori Coyne had the honor of presenting a good-sized list of those she wanted to recognize before the board on Feb. 23, including one special youngster named Max Adams, who was given a Good Citizenship Award.

“Max is consistently demonstrating a selfless attitude toward his peers,” Coyne began. “He’s always following directions. He’s always respectful and stays focused throughout the day on everything he does. He is an awesome listener, and he sets a great example for other students. He’s very kind and shows very good leadership skills.”

Amid rousing applause, a smiling but seemingly bashful Max accepted the award without a word, before Coyne continued on to present a commendation to PLC guidance counselor Kristin Ducker, who according to Coyne recently went above and beyond in a supervisory role.

“Occasionally, the principal has to be out, especially when she has something like pink eye,” Coyne said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “And it just so happens that Mrs. Ducker was in for me, and several things occurred while I was away. One was an unplanned fire drill, and Mrs. Ducker handled that very calmly, during lunch. A couple of days later, she had to handle an unplanned evacuation of the building because of a suspected gas leak. Mrs. Ducker stepped up to the plate and got our students safely over to STAC until everything was all clear.”

According to Coyne, the alleged gas leak was a false alarm, but she still had more certificates to hand out. Those went to the school’s STEAM team, including teachers Cathy Sbailo, who helped organize a highly successful STEAM Night on Jan. 12, Bernadette Dreher, Lisa Toci and Karen Hughes.

“These are some of our movers and shakers in the STEAM world at the PLC,” Coyne said. “They also were volunteers at our very special, district-wide Family STEAM Night. So, this is what I refer to as the awesome STEAM team under Mrs. Sbailo, who is in charge of everything STEAM at the PLC, and I just have to say thank you.”

Following the departure of most of the crowd, district Director of Pupil Services David Ytroebe offered to the board a report regarding the recently completed Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying self-assessment. The report by Ytroebe detailed a year-to-year comparison for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years and how each school’s staff matched up to the state’s protocol regarding internal HIB programs.

“We have a school safety team chaired by our anti-bullying specialist, along with our administration and a group of parent volunteers as well as other staff members, and they sit around in the spring and assess out HIB programs for the year,” Ytroebe explained. “They are very tough on themselves, making sure we hit all these marks set by the state. And this is a tough process.”

Ytroebe provided a brief glimpse into the self-assessment grades, which are doled out for eight different programs and have maximum scores ranging from six to 15. Each school in the district is then given a total assessment score, which can total a maximum of 78, and then the district-wide score is averaged depending on the number of schools.

In the case of Stafford Township School District, the Primary Learning Center received a maximum score of 74, receiving maximum points on five of the eight programs – Curriculum and Instruction on HIB and Related Information and Skills, HIB Personnel, School-Level HIB Incident Reporting Procedure, HIB Investigative Procedure and HIB Reporting, Ytroebe explained.

Oxycocus School scored a total of 73, receiving a max grade in the category Other Staff Instruction and Training Programs, while McKinley Avenue, Ocean Acres Elementary and Stafford Intermediate all scored 72. None of the schools had a maximum grade in the categories of HIB Programs, Approaches or Other Initiatives or Training on the BOE-Approved HIB Policy, Ytroebe reported.

Compared to the previous year, Ocean Acres increased its total assessment score by three points, while Oxycocus scored a point higher, Intermediate stayed the same, and McKinley and PLC dipped by a point, according to Ytroebe’s report.

With regard to regular business, the board approved a professional service contract totaling $632,800 for upcoming infrastructure work related to the recently approved referendum, with $285,000 appropriated for building upgrades at the Oxycocus School and $157,600 and $111,000 appropriated for upgrades to the McKinley and Intermediate schools, respectively.

— David Biggy

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