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Derry Area board plans vote on device use policy

| Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

Derry Area school directors met on Thursday for a special meeting to make personnel moves and review the agenda for the Sept. 4 regular meeting.

Superintendent David Welling reviewed proposed changes to the district's policy on electronic devices that would allow students to use personal electronic devices during the school day and during class time if directed by teachers. The policy will be up for adoption at the Sept. 4 meeting.

“We recognize that's another tool, another resource, and we want to make that available to our teachers so those things can be used properly in our classrooms under the direction of the teachers,” Welling said. “... At non-instructional times, in other words, sitting in the cafeteria at lunch, in hallways between classes, coming to school on a school bus, you can use them appropriately. You cannot misuse them; that's going to carry consequences.”

Welling told the board about a new victim service plan developed by high school Principal Kathy Perry and guidance counselors throughout the district to provide support for students who are victims of incidents at school.

“There's always this focus on the person who did the wrongdoing,” Welling said. “Sometimes in those situations, there's also a victim. What we want to do is also to recognize that there was a victim and to be able to say to that person, ‘We realize you went through a traumatic event. We want to make sure that we're meeting your needs to come back in the school building and assisting you with whatever happened and making sure we're supporting you so you feel comfortable and can be successful.' ”

The board voted to hire Sadie Bertsch as an extended day-to-day substitute for Anna Mack and accepted the retirement of Martin Johnson, effective Sept. 19.

School directors voted to hire Jennifer Battaglia as a technician for the Pennsylvania Information Management System at $20 an hour for an average of 15 hours per week, with pro-rated benefits. The board set the overtime rate for technology support technicians at $20 an hour.

Total enrollment in the district is up by 15 students from the end of the 2013-14 school year, with 2,146 enrolled as of the third day of classes. Middle school enrollment jumped from 449 to 476 since the last day of school while high school enrollment is down from 733 to 703. Enrollment at Grandview Elementary increased from 949 at the end of last year to 967.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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