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Palmerton technology teacher transferred to elementary level

Published July 13. 2018 12:35PM

Following a nearly hourlong executive session Thursday, Palmerton Area School District’s board of directors shot down a motion to reassign an elementary technology teacher to her position in the high school.

The board voted 7-1 against the motion, made by Kathy Fallow, who did not name the employee.

“My motion was to prevent the transfer of a high school technology teacher with 27 years experience to fill a newly created position at the elementary level,” Fallow said after the meeting.

“Palmerton’s high school technology staff has continued to decrease over the past 10 years from a staff of what was once five teachers to what will now be a staff of only two and a half teachers for the 2018-19 school year.

“This transfer means at least one technology subject will need to be removed from the curriculum guide, and the decrease of staff will also necessitate larger class sizes in most if not all of the advanced technology courses offered in Palmerton next year.”

The transfer, Palmerton Superintendent Scot Engler said, came at the end of a “yearlong evaluation of districtwide course offerings.” The decision, he added, came down to a matter of efficiency.

“We constantly strive to be efficient in our offerings while meeting the needs of our students and being ever-mindful of our taxpaying community,” Engler said.

“The reality of this transfer is that while the Photoshop course will not run at the high school, with 17 requests, more than 600 students at the elementary level will benefit from a new technology program. In this day and age, we are hard-pressed to find a greater efficiency.”

In past board meetings, Fallow has pushed for a stronger elementary technology program, but called transferring a teacher out of the high school, “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“Increasing an elementary technology staff by decreasing the high school staff is counterproductive and limits opportunities for our high school students,” Fallow said.

“My recommendation was to stall the transfer and use the upcoming year to build a K-12 technology curriculum that would provide foundational skills at the elementary level to support courses offered at the junior high level, which would in turn enrich the offerings at the high school level.”

Only Fallow voted for transferring the employee back to the high school. Director Josann Harry was absent.

Thursday’s meeting was not originally on Palmerton’s calendar. The district typically doesn’t meet in July, but advertised the special session earlier this week.

“Although my fellow board members did not support my motion,” Fallow said,

“I’ll continue to work with the board to promote a solid technology curriculum for all Palmerton students.”

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