Superintendent Dr. Beth Yonson has had a full plate since she took over the reigns of the Upper Perkiomen School District last February. She isn’t, however, letting that slow her down.
At an Aug. 9 school board meeting, Yonson revealed her vision for the district. Some of her top priorities include improving communication and morale and strengthening the curriculum at Upper Perk schools.
“I want to make sure everyone is heard and valued; that’s number one for me,” Yonson said of her goals, noting that with a pared down staff everyone is doing more. She also said she wants to provide more support for special education and elementary level administrators.
Her goals for education include increasing the rigor of the curriculum and eliminating applied courses at the high school level. She also wants to increase course offering for high school students. While she spoke about language offerings like Mandarin Chinese, possibly through a cyber course, she said any new courses would be part of a blended curriculum.
In line with curriculum changes, Yonson said she wants to identify a curriculum renewal cycle, along with processes and procedures that need to be followed, in order to keep Upper Perk students on the receiving end of a first-rate education.
She also wants to implement the recommendations in the math department audit report done in May 2012. Those recommendations include better program coordination and articulation from the elementary through middle school level.
An expanded budgetary line for technology is also on her agenda, including the option to have the school board go paperless, as is bringing back students to the Upper Perk Virtual Academy who have opted to enroll at other cyber charter schools.
Yonson said that while the past several months have been non-stop as she met personally with administrators, support staff, teachers, community members and local agencies, she doesn’t anticipate that will hinder her future goals which also include negotiating agreements with all employee groups, identifying what a true zero tax increase would look like for next year’s budget and, importantly, establishing an improved culture of trust, respect and transparency with all the stakeholders in the district.
In other district business, the board announced they are seeking interested community members to serve on the board of the Upper Perkiomen Education Foundation to replace school board directors Jeff Feirick and Raeann Hofkin in order to make the non-profit more of a community-driven entity.
The education foundation will be holding a “Vegas in the Valley” event October 13, which, they announced Thursday night, will be funding the Upper Perk High School TV studio, computer technology for special needs students and mini grants for teachers. All proceeds from the foundation this year will go towards those needs.
The group is also looking for donations for baskets to be raffled off and for people to attend the event which has all its costs covered to date. Tickets, $30 per person, can be purchased at any school building office. For more information, contact Jeff Feirick or Raeann Hofkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, respectively.
Board members also agreed to look at the possibility of broadcasting school board meetings, through the high school TV station or another venue, in workshop meetings next month.