Welcome to the Halifax Area School District!
“In summer, the song sings itself.”
William Carlos Williams
Dear Halifax Community:
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as District superintendent this past school year. I am honored to lead the Halifax Area School District and grateful for your support of public education. As summer gets into full swing, please remember there is a great deal of activity in the district involving almost every stakeholder as the team and I prepare for a new school year.
As you can tell from the disheveled appearance of the School District’s front lawn, renovations to the middle/high school are progressing on schedule. It is exciting to see the project take shape. Please remember to avoid the parking lot areas. For your convenience, the middle and high school offices have moved to the high school modular classrooms for the summer. Staff and students will begin occupying finished areas when school starts on August 31, 2015. The superintendent and business offices will remain at Halifax Elementary School until December 31, 2015. Kudos to our support staff as they work diligently to prepare our school buildings for a new year.
For our teachers, summer is an important time to build upon the best practices they use to help their students achieve at the highest levels. All of the District’s teachers will be engaged in differentiation/inclusion training and technology workshops during the summer hiatus. Several teachers are participating in a Student Assistance Resource Day, while others are writing curriculum to prepare for new courses. Many of the elementary teachers are reviewing data from the implementation of the Wonders Reading series, while Mr. Czaplicki is leading a team of teachers and support staff in a three day Autism training at PATTAN. Our science teachers will spend two weeks at a STEM Academy sponsored by Lebanon Valley College and Lancaster-Lebanon IU #13. It is not unusual for many of the District’s teachers to use the summer months to complete course work toward permanent certification or an advanced degree.
For the administrative team, summer provides much needed time to reexamine district goals and plan for the future. In the coming months, we will engage in professional development to help us better understand poverty as a barrier to student achievement. We are also developing a health and wellness plan for staff, creating guiding principles to study campus consolidation, and making plans to reestablish the ‘Halifax Herald,’ a district-wide newsletter. The comprehensive plan will be drafted using input from recent committee meetings and the Halifax Wildcat Education Foundation will be launched. We are eager for the August 11th school board meeting when the results of a student survey will be revealed. Two members of the administrative team have committed to doctoral programs this summer, while another administrator will attend a student services leadership academy.
For students, summer is the time to participate in the Little Cat Summer Camp, scheduled for August 3rd through 13th. In the past, more than 50 students have benefitted from this week-long enrichment event. Many students are receiving music lessons from Mrs. Schade. A group of teachers and instructional aides are providing extended school year services every Tuesday and Thursday in July from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Several members of the 4th grade team are hosting a summer reading club or tutoring individual students. Even the high school’s student council remains busy as they prepare to host the state leadership conference in November. We are excited to offer, for the first time, a biology enrichment course to eligible high school students. Before we realize it, band camp will be in full swing at Enders-Fisherville Elementary School and our fall sports teams will be preparing for a new season.
And finally, for the community, the Halifax Area School District, with the assistance of the Food-4-Families Task-Force, is hosting a full schedule of summer luncheons. Our ‘Summer Food Service Program’ is a federally funded program that provides a well-balanced meal to folks of any age, at no cost. No registration or identification is needed. The District is grateful to the many volunteers who so generously give of their time in support of this community service project. Please click the cafeteria link found in the “District” tab of the HASD website for more information.
As always, my door is open for you to address concerns, share ideas, or to simply say hello. All the best to you and your family for a relaxing summer full of the songs of the summer season.
Michele M. Orner, Ed.D.-Superintendent of Schools