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Chester County Press

U-CF School Board approves repairs for Hillendale

04/21/2015 12:25PM ● By J. Chambless
At their April 20 meeting at Hillendale Elementary School, Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board members first shared a cake honoring the 25th anniversary of  the school, and later voted to spend a considerable amount of money to fix lighting and carpeting throughout the building.
Hillendale, a former museum that was converted into a school, has outdated lighting with bulbs that can no longer be replaced, and the board voted unanimously to authorize $246,966 to install new fixtures over the summer. The board also approved spending $66,515.63 to replace about a third of the building's carpeting this summer.
Hillendale principal Steve Dissinger greeted the board and administrators by announcing that 86 runners from Hillendale raised almost $2,500 in the Run For Our Sons benefit held last weekend. He also gave certificates to students who have been researching previous erosion problems at the Hillendale site and the fixes made in 2013, including storm water basins, a rain garden and tree plantings. The fourth-graders studied the situation and fixes for two years and turned the real-life project into in-depth learning. 
Several retiring staff members were honored, including Chadds Ford Elementary head custodian Bonnie Eroh, Unionville High School math teacher Sharon Kittle, Unionville High School English teacher Susan Thomas, and Unionville Elementary School instructional support teacher Marguerite Musacchio. Also on the list of retirees is bus driver Donna Mattson and Unionville Elementary School second grade teacher Susan Orgovan. 
An amendment was approved for the school calendar, turning the current quarterly grading schedule into a trimester schedule for grades K-5. Board member Kathleen Do said, “This is a win-win for teachers and students. We are eliminating one marking period, which will reduce time spent on assessments and provide more instructional time. Teachers are very excited about this change, and the reaction has been universally positive.”
In finance, the board approved spending the district's share for the Chester County Intermediate Unit's Core Services Budget ($42,356) and the CCIU Occupational Education Budget ($767,466). 
In his report on the Intermediate Unit, school board member Jeff Hellrung reported that a team of students from Unionville High School will be working with students from other county high schools to change the starting time for high-school students in the district. Hellrung cited research that indicates that the early starting time for teens impacts their natural sleep cycles and affects their in-school performance. 
“The students will be mentored by the I.U., and they are very excited about this,” Hellrung said. “I think we've got a real chance of changing the shape of the school day in our entire county, and if we do, it will be led by our students. This is something that is being implemented around the country, including one district in Pennsylvania.”
For more information and updates on the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, visit

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail [email protected].