SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
The curriculum and technology committee meeting of Salisbury Township School District met at Salisbury High School Jan. 28 to discuss program updates and proposed changes to the 2019-2020 curriculum.
A presentation on the Emerging Health Professionals Program was given by three participating seniors, Elizabeth Raines, Kaitlyn Keller and Ashley Bowersox. The students detailed the rigorous requirements of the intensive dual-enrollment program for those interested in careers in medicine.
The program is designed to provide high school students a head start on college with exposure to a variety of health care careers through hands-on training and clinical studies at partner facilities including Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network among several others.
Program partners, Penn State University- Lehigh Valley and Lehigh Carbon Community College offers enrolled students the opportunity to earn a total of eight college credits after completion of a mammalian anatomy and lab course in the fall, followed by a physiology and lab course in the spring. Courses are taught by doctorate and masters-level science faculty.
The students described a typical week as spending one-half day immersed in the program curriculum at LCTI to gain an overview of the health care industry. Next, the students spend two half days in science courses at either Penn State University – Lehigh Valley or Lehigh Carbon Community College. In addition, these students are given the opportunity to shadow health professionals by rotating through different departments at Lehigh Valley Health Network, St. Luke’s University Health Network Allentown campus, Country Meadows and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.
Raines, Keller and Bowersox all opted to experience overnight shifts at the participating health facilities. They described their firsthand experience of witnessing blood transfusions, patients dealing with drug overdoses and suicidal conditions, a number of snowboarding accidents and shadowing the neonatal staff while watching procedures like an emergency surgery performed in Labor & Delivery. The students are also CPR and first aid trained and certified.
In other business, Salisbury High School math teacher, Angela Xander, presented proposed changes to the advanced applications course to help prepare students to take college level math courses by implementing a college readiness component using Pearson MathXL, a digital support solution to help students improve math scores. In a partnership with Lehigh Carbon Community College, students who pass the proposed program’s end-of-year placement exam will also satisfy the math test requirement for admission to LCCC.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Programs, two-thirds of high school seniors are not prepared for collegial level algebra courses resulting in time and money spent playing catch up on non-credit bearing remedial courses with some taking as much as three semesters worth of no credit classes.
According to Xander, this year’s advanced applications class, however small, is comprised of 16 students, seven of whom intend on starting their college careers at community colleges which will benefit from this program. Even for students who intend to pursue other educational plans after graduation, the program emphasizes use of logic and critical thinking beneficial for all students beyond high school graduation.
The gifted program will be revamped as a result of Salisbury High School’s acceptance into the highly competitive AP Capstone Diploma Program administered by the College Board. The revamped gifted program will incorporate an honors gifted seminar, Innovations and Innovators and How To Think, in addition to a seminar in research which will potentially allow students to earn a Capstone diploma. The program will be phased in a two year span headed by Katie Miller Newman.
Salisbury Township Middle School adopted the Safe2Say Something Tipline program, an anonymous threat reporting system for middle and high school students. The program aims to teach students as well as administrators, parents and community members how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to provide a system students can use to alert trusted adults in anonymity.
Salisbury Middle School Assistant Principal Robert Sawicki, spearheaded the program in conjunction with a five member team from the school district and the Office of Attorney General. Students in grades six through 12 were trained on the system using a three step model – Submit, Manage and Disposition.
Here’s how it works: To initiate an anonymous report, students (or anyone) must submit the tip in one of three ways: phone, web or app. A live person based at the Office of Attorney General will receive the tip, gather as much information they can, categorize the call and send that information to the districts.
The team has access to the P3 dashboard which allows communication directly with the tipster to allow for more information gathering. The Office of Attorney General stays in contact with the school district team to assist with information for reports that come in after school hours for life threatening situations like suicide. With Pennsylvania being the first state in the nation to deploy the threat reporting system statewide, so far, the program is proving successful as the program’s initial week already received 615 tips and calls across Pennsylvania as of Jan. 24.
Last week, Safe2Say Something tips in Hazleton led to police interception of a threat of gun violence delivered through SnapChat by a 14 year old. Upon investigation, police found a licensed Glock .45 caliber handgun in the home, unsecured and loaded. Police transported the 14 year old and adults in the home to the station for questioning with criminal charges pending.
The committee discussed the school district calendar, regarding the return from the holiday break in December. Since Christmas falls on a Wednesday, the school district is contemplating whether to return from break on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 or prolong the break and start with a full week on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. A decision will be made at the next board meeting.
Lastly, the district was awarded a PA Smart Grant for $35,000 to expand computer science and STEM programs. Funds will be directed toward creating and integrating STEM lessons into core class content, developing a STEM Lab for middle school students and expanding opportunities for afterschool activities and experiences for kindergarten through eighth grades.