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Derry Area School District prioritizes wellness

Jeff Himler
| Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:29 a.m.

Derry Area School District's wellness committee is brainstorming ways to support the health and fitness of district staff, as well as its students.

On Thursday, the school board heard proposals from committee leaders about providing employees access to the new fitness center at the high school.

The board discussed allowing the employees to use it before the school day, from 6 to 7 a.m., or after classes are dismissed, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Athletic Director Brandon Rapp said a survey indicated most employees would prefer to use the center after school.

Board president David Krinock, who is a Derry Area baseball coach, said after-school use could have employees vying for equipment with young athletes involved in spring sports.

“I wouldn't want our kids in there when the staff is in there,” he said. “It would be too jumbled.”

During baseball season, he said, “We're going to be in there with 24 kids at a time. It's not going to work.”

Rapp suggested requiring staff to sign up in advance for time in the center, with the understanding that their session would be bumped if students needed to use the fitness equipment.

“That's great if they use it,” Krinock said of the proposed sign-up procedure.

He suggested that district solicitor Ned Nakles draft a proposed waiver form that employees would be asked to complete, stating that they are healthy enough to use the center equipment.

Superintendent David Welling noted the district is considering creating a new supplemental position — a worker whose duties would include maintaining the center equipment.

Kelly Tatone asked if employees might use the high school's indoor swimming pool for an aquatic workout during nonschool hours, but fellow board member Lucinda Nicely pointed out the district would have to provide a lifeguard.

Joe Koluder, the district's administrative assistant for business affairs, discussed plans for promoting wellness at Derry Area by offering health screenings and educational sessions for employees.

As a first step, he suggested arranging for a mobile Highmark lab to visit the school to offer blood pressure checks and screenings for various health conditions including diabetes. Welling said the screenings could be offered to employees at a reduce rate of $25 with no extra costs for the district other than those associated with holding an in-service day.

The employees also could receive a “Healthy Moments” monthly newsletter and go online to answer questions as part of a health assessment, Koluder said.

Board member Steve Kozar suggested providing the proactive health screenings for employees could have the beneficial side effect of containing the district's worker's compensation costs.

Because Derry Area obtains its health coverage through the Westmoreland County Health Consortium, Koluder said others among the consortium's roughly 20 member school entities would have to also use the health screening and assessment program for it to have any impact on the district's health insurance rates.

During a brief voting meeting held in conjunction with the workshop, the school board accepted the resignation of high school secretary Lynn Bumar, for health reasons, and hired Michelle Dorazio and Jessica Snyder as assistant varsity softball coaches.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or

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