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Preschool program for low income students to be offered

Published August 14. 2012 05:01PM

A preschool program for low income children will once again be offered in the Northern Lehigh School District.

The school board unanimously agreed on Monday to authorize Community Services for Children to operate the Head Start Pre-K Program at Peters Elementary School from Sept. 4, 2012, through May 21, 2013.

That decision came after the board heard a report from Assistant Superintendent Karen Nicholas, who said the program will be held at no cost to the district. The only obligation of the district is to provide one classroom.

Nicholas said Community Services For Children - with whom the district has a working relationship with - has received a grant to cover the costs associated with the program.

However, Nicholas noted that "it will be a self-transport program."

"It is fully enrolled," Nicholas said. "We have 20 three-and four-year-old children who will be attending."

As of March, the fate of the program appeared as though it would be in jeopardy after Nicholas told the board at that time that the Accountability Block Grant - the source used to fund the program - would not be continued this coming school year.

Nicholas then updated the board on the Title I Program, of which the district received an increase in funding because the community has additional low income families.

"We will be using the money to the best of our ability," she said. "Most of it will go for teacher salaries, and also technology and parental involvement."

Also on Monday, Superintendent Michael Michaels told the board "administration is working very diligently to figure out AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress)."

"Our new goal is not to make AYP," Michaels said. "It's about improving the skills and knowledge, not just test-taking."

Nicholas said 11th graders will have to take Algebra I, Biology and English as part of the Keystone Exam, which they must pass to graduate.

As part of that, Nicholas said the district is working on a new math curriculum for grades K-6; high school teachers are piloting a new math program; and one teacher at the middle school is piloting a new math program.

"Our curriculum needs to be upgraded and very rigorous," Nicholas said. "I want to thank the board for allowing us to continue to strengthen what we need to strengthen."

In other business, the board:

- Renewed a five-year agreement with K.L. Fulford Associates, Inc. for the operation and management of the Peters Elementary School sewage treatment facility. Fees for the service will be $9,300 per year, which reflects no increase over the previous five year agreement.

- Agreed to rescind the Agreement of Sponsorship to Attend Another Pennsylvania Community College for Allie Fritzinger, which was originally approved at the June 11, 2012 board meeting. Ms. Fritzinger will be taking her general education classes at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

- Authorized the superintendent to execute an agreement between the district and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21 to provide special education services for the 2012-13 school year.

- Authorized proper officials to enter into an agreement between the district and the PATH PA Treatment & Healing Center for the purpose of furnishing educational services for disruptive students for the 2012-13 school year. The daily tuition rate is $53.

- Authorized proper officials to enter into an agreement between the district and Behavioral Health Associated Licensed Private Academic School for the purpose of furnishing regular education or special education programs for students for the 2012-13 school year.

- Approved the purchase of Follett Educational Services Kaplan 12 Practice Tests for the SAT 2012 for students in grades 9-12. The total cost of these materials is $406, and is being paid from the district's curriculum and instruction budget.

- Approved Christopher Bennett as helping teacher for Andrew Kern, inductee, and Amanda Beer as helping teacher for Amber Kuntz, inductee, for the Northern Lehigh School District Induction Program for the 2012-13 school year, each at a stipend of $750.

- Approved the request of the senior high school class to close the Class of 2012 account in accordance with the Student Activities Account guidelines. The account balance is $1,259, and the Class of 2012 is recommending that the funds be used to landscape the outside of the high school cafeteria, and to purchase picnic tables for the student body to enjoy lunch outdoors. A 2012 dedication sign will also be purchased to display in the area.

- Approved the request of the senior high school to close the NLHS FBLA and German Club Accounts due to inactivity, and to transfer the monies to the Principal's Discretionary Account, a total of $4,592. This money will be used to purchase televisions and wall mounts for classrooms for the future television studio to be viewed throughout the classrooms.

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