February Message to Community

February 26, 2016

Greetings to Parents, Students, and the PRSD Community,

Similar to last month, I would like to highlight and celebrate several of the accomplishments happening in our district. Pine-Richland Middle School has again been recognized in the Schools to Watch program operated through the Pennsylvania Association of Middle Level Education. This initiative was initially launched by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 1999. It focuses on three main criteria: (1) academic excellence; (2) developmental responsiveness to adolescent needs; and (3) social equitable to support all children. The structure and design of the program are reviewed against the program criteria. PRMS is one of only a few schools in Pennsylvania to be recognized with a third re-dedication. The original award occurred in 2007 with re-dedication in 2010, 2013, and now 2016. Congratulations to the staff, students, and parents!

The 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Award ceremony was held on February 20, 2016. These regional awards recognize student achievement in the visual arts in multiple categories, such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and also in writing. This process includes adjudication by a panel of judges. Based on this evaluation, qualifying student work may then earn a gold key, silver key or honorable mention status. Our high school art department staff have promoted this competition for many years and actively support students in the submission of entries. For 2016, we had 40 students earn gold or silver awards through this process and some students even earned financial rewards.

Continuing in the arts, the middle school drama department recently performed Annie, Jr. It was obvious that the students – through many hours of hard work during practices and rehearsals – learned how to produce and carry out a quality performance. The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric. We also know that many parents volunteered their time to assist in the production. The high school is preparing to perform The Music Man next week. Please show your support for our students and the arts by planning to attend.

By mid-March, we will publish a new strategic plan section of the Pine-Richland School District website. Throughout the development of the plan, we kept a strong focus on implementation. The site will provide quick navigation through the major categories of the plan and the specific action plans aligned to the long-term goals. The status of each action plan will be updated quarterly to monitor progress. One element of the plan relates to an annual parent survey with a series of questions about satisfaction and engagement. We expect this survey to be administered in the late spring. Thanks again to the many parents, staff, board members, community members, and students who participated in the strategic plan design.

In a final area of recognition, it has been an extremely successful winter campaign for our athletic teams. Many of our teams and individuals are competing in the WPIAL championships. Similar to the arts, our students live out the idea that learning requires “effort and persistence” and occurs “inside and outside of the classroom.” These are two ideas connected to the vision at Pine-Richland School District. Evidence of that learning is clearly displayed on the court, mat, pool, or stage.

Thank you again for your support and engagement in the Pine-Richland School District.

Brian Miller