Kennett School Board selects architect for building upgrades
● By Steven Hoffman
The selection of an architect for building upgrades, the adoption of a school calendar for the next year, and the approval of summer school programs topped a full agenda for the Kennett School Board during the March 11 meeting.
The Kennett School Board approved retaining the services of Marotta/Main Architects of Lancaster, Pa. to provide architectural and engineering professional services for vestibule and face renovations as outlined in the Facilities Long-Range Plan presented at the Feb. 4 meeting of the district's Finance Committee. Mark Tracy, the assistant to the superintendent for business affairs, explained that the school district is undertaking renovation work to enhance the vestibule areas for each of the district's school buildings as a way to enhance security. The district is planning this work for all the schools in the district except for Bancroft Elementary, the district's newest school building, which does not need the design upgrades.
The school board also approved the replacement of the rooftop HVAC units at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.
The good work of students in the Kennett Consolidated School District were highlighted at several different points during the meeting. The high school robotics team is once again having a highly successful season, and could soon qualify for the district championships at Lehigh University. Demon Robotics has qualified for district championships six times in eight years, and a strong showing at the district championships could earn the team a spot in the world championships later this year.
More than three hundred students at Kennett High School took part in the Mini-Thon event in February. The event, which is modeled after Penn State’s highly successful dance marathon, raised approximately $42,000 for the Four Diamonds Fund to benefit pediatric cancer research and families whose children are battling the disease. School board members were elated that the event continues to be such a success for a worthy cause.
The school board adopted the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. The calendar includes 182 days of instruction for students as well as 8 in-service days for instructional staff members, in accordance with the district's Collective Bargaining Agreement. The 2019-2020 school year will begin on Aug. 26 and is tentatively set to end on Friday, June 5, 2020. Graduation is scheduled for Friday, June 5, 2020.
Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti outlined some of the programming for this year's Summer School.
“We have a lot going on in the summer,” Tomasetti explained.
A STEM camp will be offered to rising sixth graders who are interested in exploring automation and design. This project-based camp will take place from July 8 to 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a $150 cost to attend the camp, which will be held at the Kennett Middle School.
A coding camp that offers students the opportunity to receive an introduction to coding concepts will take place from July 15 to 18. This camp is for rising third through eighth graders. It will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for rising third through fifth graders, and noon until 3 p.m. for rising sixth through eighth graders.
A remedial program for middle school students offers instruction to students who fail one or two academic subjects during the school year. The program consists of a mathematics course and a verbal/study skills course. Students are required to pass one of the summer courses in order to be promoted to the next grade for the 2019-2020 school year. The Monday through Thursday program will run for four hours a day from July 8 to Aug. 8, and will be held at the high school. The cost for each course is $300.
For high school students, there will be a make-up credit opportunity during the summer. This high school summer camp program will offer make-up courses to students who fail courses that are required for graduation in the four major content areas—English, science, social studies, and mathematics—as well as health. The program will run for 20 days with each course meeting for three hours a day, Monday through Thursday, beginning July 8 and ending on Aug. 8. The cost of each course will be $300 for resident students and $450 for non-residents.
Original credit courses will be offered for English, science, mathematics, social studies, and health courses. This original credit courses will be available online at a cost of $600 for resident students and $900 for non-resident students. Students will attend class for six hours a day beginning July 8 and concluding on Aug. 8.
Keystone remediation courses will be offered in algebra, biology, and literature to any student who participated in a Keystone Assessment but has yet to attain a score of proficient or advanced. The program will run for 10 days, with each session lasting three to six hours a day beginning July 15. Students will be expected to retake the assessment July 29 through Aug. 1. There is no cost for the program.
Tomasetti pointed out that the school district set the costs for the various summer school programs at a rate that is sufficient only to cover what it costs the school district to provide the programming. The summer school offerings are intended to be revenue neutral.
Parents are responsible for providing transportation for all summer school programs. Financial assistance will be provided to those students who demonstrate need.
There are also summer academies for elementary and middle school students. The elementary summer academy is a five-week mathematics program funded through Title 1 and local funds. This summer academy runs three hours a day, Monday through Thursday, from July 8 through Aug. 8. Students must meet eligibility requirements and transportation is provided to and from the program.
The middle school Summer Academy is a five-week literacy and mathematics program for students entering the sixth grade that meet the eligibility requirements. It runs three hours a day from July 8 through Aug. 8.
Tomasetti said that these summer academies have proven to be very popular with students since the school district started offering them.
The school board approved more than a dozen personnel items, including recommendations for employment and requests for leaves of absence.
The Kennett School Board will meet again on Monday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor @ chestercounty .com.