Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education holds first meeting of the school year

Meeting featured presentations by representatives from the district’s action planning teams about strategies for the year ahead.

The latest meeting of the Lenape Regional High School District was the first since the beginning of the school year. As such, the meeting included information about things happening in the district throughout the summer, and strategic planning for the year ahead.

Superintendent Carol Birnbohm opened the meeting highlighting continuing activities throughout the district during the summer months.

This summer, several district buildings hosted extended school year programs for special needs students, summer enrichment programs, SAT prep classes and college application writing courses, according to Birnbohm.

Some 36 Lenape High School student leaders from various clubs and athletic programs completed the Positive Coaching Alliance training program on how to create positive and welcoming school cultures as well.

Teachers from all four high schools attended AP Summer Institutes, district and building leadership attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence and Equity two-day workshop, and all assistant principals attended a presentation on the brain and how it impacts learning at the Franklin Institute.

The bulk of the meeting consisted of a series of presentations by representatives from the district’s action planning teams covering strategic plans for promoting student health and wellness, student achievement and soft skills for career and life.

First up was Dave Maier and PJ Mehigan, who presented an action plan for student health and wellness. 

Objectives included opening lines of communication about health and wellness topics with students, using digital technology appropriately, improving existing resources for students, developing new programs to meet the health and wellness needs of students and the establishment of a student center dedicated to serving students with anxiety and helping them transition back into the classroom.

“We believe these five plans are going to help keep our kids achieving even higher because it’s going to help kids meet their social and emotional needs. We already know that our district is high-achieving, but we have kids who have these social and emotional needs, and we believe this plan will help with that,” said Maier.

Representatives Karen O’Neil and Craige Bookwalter presented ideas and objectives their team came up with to create learning environments to help students reach their full potential.

Objectives included opening up the district’s program of studies to see how the courses offered reflect modern life and career practices and creating opportunities for students to explore vocational and career experiences.

Their plan included offering opportunities for staff to grow as well.

“Within this objective, we envision a district-wide professional development team to help plan and develop opportunities for our staff so that they can become better at removing any of these barriers that may stand in the way of student growth,” said Bookwalter.

Representatives Joe Dejulius and Jess Legrange began their presentation by defining just what soft skills are and their function within a curriculum.

“Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people,” explained Legrange. “Soft skills may sound like attributes that are innate, however recent studies show that they can indeed be learned, which is great news for us as educators.”

Objectives included ways to infuse students’ experiences in and out of the classroom with opportunities to demonstrate soft skills in an intentional way. Strategies to develop skills in communication and expression of ideas, collaboration and team-building, conflict resolution and time management were all discussed by Dejulius and Legrange’s strategic planning team.

The next meeting of the Lenape Regional High School District is scheduled for Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lenape District Administration Building.