CASD honors board, students
Members of Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education were recognized for their work Jan. 9 during the regular meeting of the board.
In honor of School Board Recognition Month, each member received a little gift, and CASD Superintendent Robert Spengler took time to share his appreciation for the board members, their contributions to the school district and their collaborative and open spirit.
Board member Penny Hahn was sworn in at the start of the meeting. The remaining seat on the board was filled by Stephen M. Becker. Becker was elected to the board and will serve a two-year term from Jan. 9, 2018, through December 2019.
Sheckler Elementary School Principal Eric Dauberman was at the meeting to announce the Students of the Month. The first-graders were Alexa Wright and Aria Kern; second-graders were Brielle Dorn and Cole Schwartz. The students named for third grade were Ethan Bonilla and Kara Monette, and the fourth-grade honorees were Dakota Velas, Stephanie Robinson and Lilian Delabar.
The Catasauqua Middle School Star Players of the Month for December were announced by Principal Melissa Inselmann. The students were fifth-grader Daniel Jones, sixth-grader Donovan Bonilla, seventh-grader Olivia Burnett and eighth-grader Kaleb Croft.
Community liaison and high school Spanish teacher Leslie Estrada shared her community outreach efforts with the board. Estrada has been reaching out to the families who have children enrolled in charter schools to discover what made them choose a charter school over the CASD schools. She is compiling their responses, but she did mention many families simply didn’t know anything about the school district. She is working on rectifying that problem by increasing the school district’s social media presence, often employing the students to help with video projects.
Douglas Taylor, principal of Innovative Arts Academy Charter School, provided the board with an update on the school’s plans. According to Taylor, enrollment at the charter school is up, but still fluid, with approximately 400 students. Of those students, 77 have special education requirements. Taylor informed the board the school updated and revamped its special education program to meet the need.
Taylor also told the board the charter school is moving toward an entirely digital system. It recently purchased Chromebooks to aid in the shift. He said the school is planning on using only electronic textbooks in the future. In response to board member Jason Bashaw’s concerns regarding the shift to digital tools, Taylor said there will be an instructional coach on staff to train the teachers and faculty in the digital medium.
Lisa Roth shared photos with the board from the recent Shop with a Cop program. In partnership with Random Acts and Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, several CASD students were given money to go Christmas shopping for their families. Police officers assisted the students in choosing the gifts and helped foster a healthy relationship between the youths and law enforcement. Roth noted the program has grown from last year, and there were 14 participants this year.
Board President Carol Cunningham informed the board of a new welding lab that is coming to Lehigh Career and Technical Institute. Ground breaking is set for spring.
Dominic Bellucci was appointed the assistant boys basketball coach, and Jason Hartranft was appointed the assistant wrestling coach. Both positions are volunteer.
The board approved CHS Principal David Ascani’s intent to retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Members agreed he will be missed and thanked him for all he did for the school and the students over the past 14 years.
The board unanimously voted to approve the establishment of the Mark Reccek Scholarship Fund. Spengler shared heartfelt and sincere sentiments for Reccek, a Catasauqua Press reporter who dutifully covered the school district. Reccek died in December 2017.
The next board meeting will be 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in the district administration office conference room.