2019-2020 School Year

Making Today Count: New Beginnings

High Students smiling on first day of school
We love to see students’ smiling faces on the first day of school!

My visit to Ms. Shannon Wright’s class at Nitrauer Elementary finds a group of happy, excited students who are enjoying a special lunch with their teacher (known as the “Lunch Bunch”)

The promise of a new school year brings fresh possibilities, renewed excitement, and the wonderful opportunity to establish new relationships with others. The 2019-2020 school year is off to a great start.

At Manheim Township, we are rolling out quite a few new learning opportunities for our students K-12 this year in our continued work to meet the goals of our district Comprehensive (Strategic) Plan.  A highlight of several of these new learning opportunities includes building the social-emotional health of our students (as part of our attention on developing the “Whole Child”), expanding our STEM/STEAM curriculum, and an expanded focus on college and career readiness. I’ll briefly summarize some of these learning opportunities in this blog, and will introduce more of our new K-12 learning opportunities in future blogs (i.e. expanded early learning programs and partnerships, new Grades 1-12 virtual learning program, NuPaths Information Technology certification program with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Link Crew and WEB programs at the middle school and high school, organizational framework for trauma-informed care and practices, and more).

Regarding our focus on the “Whole Child” and building positive social-emotional health in our students, last year our K-4 elementary schools implemented daily Class Meetings that promote relationship building, social-emotional development, and positive learning behaviors. This year we are implementing these daily Class Meetings in grades 5 and 6 at Landis Run Intermediate School. The new schedule offers the ability for teachers to facilitate these Class Meetings, and also allows for the incorporation of two new STEM/STEAM (a.k.a. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) courses for all students in grades 5 and 6. We are grateful to our Manheim Township Educational Foundation (MTEF) for providing funding and support for these new courses. Our Educational Foundation continues to financially support our innovative programs and enrich the education our students receive.

Our middle school has a new College and Career Readiness course with a focus on career pathways, time management, organization, and goal setting for our students in grade 7.  This course actually replaces the former Study Skills course, and aligns nicely with our College and Career Readiness course implemented last year for 8th grade students.

Similarly, our high school is offering an expanded internship and apprenticeship program through a partnership with the Lancaster Chamber and Lancaster County STEM Alliance. These organizations have collaborated to develop a work-based learning network for employers and schools in Lancaster County, and through the use of the “Inspire” software program, students can access workplace internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing, and other employment opportunities. The Inspire platform allows local employers to connect with interested students and their career counselor. You can read more about this beneficial program at Inspire Platform.

It’s exciting to be able to share these introductions to our new and/or expanded student offerings. Many of our district educators and administrators have dedicated much time and energy to the creation of these learning opportunities (and ones not yet introduced). We thank them for their continued commitment to the further development of an incredible school district – one that values an intentional focus on meeting the learning needs of the Whole Child, as well as increasing the opportunities for them grow academically and socially for lifelong success.

Employees of the Month

Our employee recognition this month goes to two educators – Jennifer Deibler and Nicole Eshelman. They were co-nominated by their colleagues for “their teamwork to successfully bring Link Crew, a transition, orientation, and mentoring program, to  the high school.” Jennifer and Nicole are both teachers at the high school and Link Crew Team Leaders. For the past 5 years, Jennifer and Nicole have advised the school’s Connect Club, supporting new students and incoming 9th graders to the high school.  While the Connect Club was successful, Jennifer and Nicole were constantly looking for ways to improve our transition program. Inspired by a transfer student to Manheim Township High School, a young lady who had experienced a program called Link Crew at her former school, Jennifer and Nicole approached the administration on several occasions with the vision to bring Link Crew to the building. Their perseverance paid off and this past spring semester, Jennifer and Nicole, along with two Middle School teachers and administrators, were trained in a transition, orientation, and mentoring program through Project Boomerang. Project Boomerang’s Motto is, “you get back what you give.” Jennifer and Nicole have given their time, energy, and dedication into a new initiative, and in return, our high school now has Link Crew. Their colleagues and school administrators have shared that, “Jennifer and Nicole have been TREMENDOUS additions to our building as teachers, leaders, and student advocates; they are excellent examples of educators who demonstrate a commitment to the students of Manheim Township that goes far beyond the classroom walls and the academic day.”