Making Today Count: Educators Impacting Students!
Our 2018-2019 school year is off to a great start!
The year has started with great positive energy and vigor by both staff and students. As I walked through our nine buildings on that first day of school welcoming staff and students, accompanied by several of our School Board members, the excitement was palpable. The enthusiasm demonstrated by our staff created a warm welcoming environment for students of all ages.
While students were enjoying their summer breaks, there were many teachers and staff members at Manheim Township taking graduate level classes, attending professional development workshops and conferences, and participating in research studies, training programs, and national/international educational trips. Our staff was busy! Examples of these professional development activities include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Anita Shoemaker, Nitrauer Elementary, participated in the Keystones Technology Innovator STAR Summit at Shippensburg University;
- Dyan Branstetter, Brecht Elementary, participated as an Arts Integration and STEAM Specialist/Personal Coach for EducationCloset, an online resource for arts integration and STEAM;
- Olivia Good, Manheim Township Middle School, participated in the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s week-long summer institute at the University of Virginia studying the American Civil War, the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Teacher Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and the Lowell National Historic Park studying the rise of reform movements during the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, Olivia and middle school teacher Brian Booker, both attended the Days with Documents seminar at Gettysburg National Military Park to study the use of primary documents for learning in the classroom;
- Brian Booker also attended the 2018 PA Art Education Leadership Retreat at Kutztown University, learning about policies and strategies from impacting art education across the state;
- Ben Parker, Manheim Township Middle School, attended a research conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis titled “Cultivating Equitable Research Opportunities” that focused on the development of research ideas and academic publications that address educational issues present in marginalized communities;
- Donny Himelright, Manheim Township Middle School, participated in the PA Master Naturalist Training Program, a statewide partnership initiative that connects people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work;
- Amanda Stine, Manheim Township Middle School, attended the 2018 Art Education National Leadership Conference titled “The Artistry of Leadership” in Charleston, South Carolina, and learned strategies for building leadership skills and advocating for art education;
- Alex Swavely, Manheim Township Middle School, participated in a local training titled “Wellness Works in Schools: Mindful Choices;”
- Rich Nolt and Bill Ziegler, Manheim Township High School, spent three days at the STEM Teacher Externship at CNH Industrial, New Holland, learning about product lifecycle, engineering, and advanced manufacturing;
- Chris Manning and Missy Doll, Manheim Township High School, attended the American Association of Physics Teacher Summer Meeting in Washington, D.C. to develop and strengthen professional connections, learn from internationally renowned speakers, and attend workshops that provide opportunities to improve our physics curriculum;
- Lisa Lyons, Manheim Township High School, participated in a three-day “Computer Science for All Summit-National Initiative,” focused on providing equity in computer science for all students K-12 (including a strong foundation for grades K-5 students);
- Jen Breton, Rachelle Impick, Emily Heisler, & Kristin Bell, Manheim Township High School, participated in an EdCamp at Derry Township School District on the topic of Technology Integration;
- Ked Kantz, Manheim Township High School, joined educators from across the U.S. on a two-week educational tour of Germany with the Transatlantic Outreach Program, visiting German schools, historical monuments, museums, and German corporations, and meeting with contemporary historical witnesses. The experiences provided him with resources for enriching the relevant district International Baccalaureate courses and promoting global mindedness among students and colleagues;
- Nicole Eshelman, Manheim Township High School, attended a training to prepare her for a December 2018 trip to the Antartica, as part of her Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions;
- Steve Schulz, Manheim Township High School, participated in a two-week training at the U.S. Naval Academy involving the “Maury Project” (named after the Navy Officer Matthew Fontaine Maury) that provided him with a framework to lead teacher workshops that embed Oceanography concepts into STEM courses. The training program also involved the collection of data from a YP 686, the touring of the Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facilities in Washington, D.C., and a visit to the Baltimore Aquarium;
- Wayne Kantz, Manheim Township High School, continued his work as a Lancasterhistory.org-National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, utilizing the resources of the Lancaster Historical Society to develop curriculum.
As you can see, the summer was a busy time for educators desiring to grow in their academic fields and interest areas, for the benefit of the students with whom they work. Even further, this list is just a snapshot of learning activities conducted by 21 educators – they were many more activities completed by Manheim Township staff over the summer in preparation for their work with students during the 2018-2019 school year.
Another example of teachers making a difference is Ms. Ginny Wilson who was recently selected by high school staff and administration to be formally recognized as the Employee of the Month during our September 20 School Board Meeting. Ms. Wilson, a high school Health and Physical Education teacher, was honored for her ongoing service to students, leadership in the Health and Physical Education Department, leadership within the school, and mentorship to fellow teachers and coaches. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Wilson has served as the Manheim Township Assistant and Head Girls’ Softball Coach, Head Junior High Girls’ Basketball Coach, and Cross Country Coach. She has numerous accolades for winning seasons for several of her sports.
Ms. Wilson also works with the students in our Life Skills Program and other students to provide specialized Physical Education programs. Her colleagues shared that Ms. Wilson is very deserving of the recognition, noting that, “she always includes all students into every activity, and modifies as needed.” Other staff members added, “Ginny has been a stabilizing force within the Health and Physical Education Department,” and “She puts students first and always has time for them … she is well respected and is a positive role model for her students.” Given that this is Ms. Wilson’s 33rd year in education, she is well deserving of this honor as a Manheim Township Employee of the Month!
Each month our Board of School Directors recognizes the “Employee of the Month,” an employee who is nominated for recognition by his/her colleagues. These individuals have made a positive impact on students, staff, and their overall building. My blog this school year will include a feature on each of these nominated employees – their recognition needs to continue beyond the monthly Board Meetings.
Our school district is blessed to have highly dedicated educators and staff who are devoted to making a difference for children.