High school classes updated

PAT FRIDGEN

A new president took the helm of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board on Dec. 3. Arnie Jansen was seated following a Kristy Faulkner/Howard Ritchey motion and a unanimous vote by the rest of the board. Mike Shindle was also given full support to remain vice president.

"Thank you, everyone, for the trust," said Jansen. "I hope to fill Dan's shoes and we'll continue as we have before."

Former president Dan Fisher and Charles McClain did not run for reelection, and their successors, Brian Hissong and Joel Fridgen, were sworn in Thursday night.

Programs of study

The board approved the 2010-2011 high school curriculum, which brings a number of changes to course offerings. Principal Ed Rife explained the proposals. "It takes a lot of hard work and teamwork between teachers and administration to accomplish this."

With changes analyzed beginning in the fall, the board was presented the information in December so eighth grade students and their parents could start scheduling classes during January conferences.

Seven major adjustments will greet students next school year.

The business program currently handled by Kaplan University will switch to Hagerstown Community College. Kaplan had shortened its semesters, which did not mesh well with Greencastle's calendar, Rife said. The school will bus students to HCC two days a week, instead of the former five. The classes available will be in business and accounting, management, marketing, business administration, and administrative assistant. Completion of some will offer a Letter of Recognition or Certificate.

A blended concept will allow students to take classes at the college campus or online.

The RN Pathways Program is a partnership with Summit Health and Franklin County Career and Technology Center. "We'll be the first school district  to offer this," Rife noted.

The fast-track to a registered nurse degree will start for four qualified juniors who attend a Health Career Institute at Chambersburg Hospital one semester, and Certified Nurse Assistant training at FCCTC the opposite semester. As seniors the students will participate in a co-op as a CNA one semester and attend class at G-AHS or FCCTC the other semester to finish classes needed for graduation. That August they will take the one-year licensed practical nurse program at the tech center and then enroll in the accelerated LPN or RN program at the hospital.

The benefit, Rife said, was students save one or two years of schooling to earn a nursing degree.

Jim Duffey from FCCTC and Cheri Kearney from Summit Health helped work out the details. Kearney was present at the meeting and said, "This program is for students who may not otherwise be able to follow this career path. And from the youth we have worked with in the past, Greencastle students always shine."

French II will be added to the curriculum as the resurrected French I class has 80 students.

In order to help struggling math students, Integrated Math I and Algebra I will be paired during the two ninth grade semesters for targeted kids.

The ninth grade music program will switch to the schedule for Concert Band and Choir, but on opposite days. Students will shift from half of seventh period during the school day to before school rehearsals. That will allow them to take more block courses, rather than only 'skinny courses' such as wellness, speech or study hall.

Social studies has been rewritten to offer interpretative or experiential American History and US in Modern World Affairs. The former would use historical novels in the classroom. The final test will be the same and students will choose a class based on their learning style.

Technology Education will drop Drafting, Graphic Systems and Manufacturing I in lieu of a new course, Design and Problem Solving. It will incorporate drafting, communications and production. The new class will be a prerequisite for higher level electives.

Appeal

Lipella announced that Jerr Dan was appealing a Franklin County decision refusing to cut its assessment in half. The difference would be $40,000 per year in property taxes for the school district. The hearing was that morning and the judge gave both sides 30 days to hire an appraiser, then two months for the appraisal to be conducted. The next hearing will be May 4.

Lipella said it wasn't worth it to fight all appeals, but he wanted to challenge Jerr Dan.

"This is a big one," said Superintendent Greg Hoover.

The board authorized solicitor Jerry Weigle to act on the appeal. The appraisal will cost $8,000 plus attorney fees.

Board member Eric Holtzman commented on Pennsylvania's tax system, which spurs such appeals. "It ties our hands. There's no reassessment process at all."

Citizen request

Parent Kurt Gipe asked the board to improve the field hockey field. "It's in poor condition and a safety issue because of the uneven surface." He had seen players hit by balls that bounced off the bumpiness.

The field is shared by girls soccer, but that sport wasn't as affected by the quality of the ground. He thought soccer could practice at Antrim Township Community Park and still play games at the school, but a rest would give the grass time to recover if treatment methods were applied.

Gipe said artificial turf would be best but expensive. Even new sod could cost $60,000 but the issue was watering. At a minimum, he hoped the field could be aerated, overseeded, fertilized and left alone for a season. He offered to find volunteers to help with labor and expenses.

Discipline

A 17-year-old sophomore boy at Manito was expelled. Board members agreed with the recommendation of the Pupil Personnel Committee. The youth was found with marijuana on Nov. 18. He had had other discipline issues in the past, Rife said.