Deer Lakes School District Community:
In many ways, August is the most exciting month on our annual school calendar because that’s when we finally have the opportunity to begin anew and help your child take their next step in their educational journey. Our custodial and maintenance crews are putting the finishing touches on our beautiful campus for the start of the new school year and our returning students will soon fill our hallways with an energy only students can provide.
As we focus on transforming today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders, it is imperative that we remain forward-focused. That’s one reason why we are so proud to have become one of only a handful of Pennsylvania schools to be a certified Google Reference District, a Common Sense School District and a member of the prestigious Future Ready Pennsylvania collaborative.
We are also pleased to announce that we have added four new school buses to our fleet, making for a safer commute for our students to and from school. We will send out specific routing information and times next week via Skyward.
One major staffing change that may be of interest to particular parents of elementary-aged students has come at East Union Intermediate Center, where longtime respected teacher Jodi VanderSchaaff has assumed the leadership reins as the acting principal for the 2019-2020 school year. Also, we have added new members to our staff whom we believe will serve our students well, including a new full-time STEM teacher in the middle school and an additional district-wide mental health liaison and behavior specialist.
Also, this summer, we have completed several significant capital improvement projects that include a finished roof at Curtisville, a new gymnasium floor and bleachers at the middle school, a refinished gymnasium floor at the high school and a brand new, state-of-the-art sound system for the high school auditorium. We have also made improvements to the parking lots at Curtisville and East Union..
Within our schools, the computer lab at Curtisville has been transformed into what we are calling the CoLABoratory – where students can collaborate and innovate as teams or individuals to try to find solutions to various challenges. Thanks in part to a grant from Matt’s Makers, East Union has also modernized its library into a 21st century learning space called The Launch Lab, with redesigned learning areas, a large television and true MakerSpace areas.
The elementary schools will also offer standards-based grading, which will give students and their parents a more detailed account of their academic progress and specific areas where they could improve.
Though breakfast and lunch prices remain the same as last year, our food services department has implemented several exciting new changes designed to streamline the school meal experience for our students and their parents. Those improvements include a new Point of Service System where students, parents and employees can look at their account activity, add money to their account and apply for Free/Reduced meals. Also, starting later in the fall, the food services department will introduce a “share table,” where students can donate unused or pre-packaged items to their fellow students to reduce waste.
Students in grades 1-12 begin classes on Thursday, Aug. 22. Kindergarten students will have their get acquainted half-days from 9:30-11 a.m., on Aug. 22 and 23, depending on their classroom assignment. They start in earnest on Monday, Aug. 26.
Finally, on behalf of our entire staff, I want to offer a very sincere thank you to our students and their families for helping to make Deer Lakes such a special place to work and to partner with students on this chapter in their lives.
Janell Logue-Belden, Ed.D
Superintendent, Deer Lakes School District