And We're Off And Running - Welcome To The 2022-23 School Year

And We're Off And Running - Welcome To The 2022-23 School Year
Posted on 08/30/2022

Good evening and Happy New School Year!  Welcome back!   Special welcome to our parents who are new to the district, especially those parents who have Kindergarten students entering Quakertown Community School District's Class of 2035.  It is also a special time for parents who have a senior in the Class of 2023.  No doubt, it will be a very exciting year for our upcoming graduates.


As we open the new school year, I would like to share what’s new and a few items that may interest you at the macro-level.  Most exciting is a tool for teachers and parents called Finger Tip Reports.  Right now, Finger Tip Reports captures all of last year’s student assessment scores on one page for you to review. This is for parents who have child(ren) in 1st through 12th graders. By the end of September, parents of Kindergarteners can expect to see the beginning year DIBELS assessment data.  To see this data you must first  log into LinkIt and follow the instructions.  You will receive (or have received) an email from LinkIt! with your registration code.  Your username will be the email address found in Powerschool where you received the registration code. You will then be directed to create your password. 


When it came to reopening schools yesterday, Quakertown was probably at its best place in many years for having our teaching positions fully staffed.   Principals have spent an inordinate amount of time screening and interviewing teacher candidates throughout the spring and summer to replace those that retire, the few who accept a teaching position in another district, and for 12-and-a-half new teaching positions that the Board approved in the spring.  Yesterday, we were only short two special education teachers and one English teacher.  We are still short numerous classroom aides.  If you are interested in joining our team or have a friend, relative, or neighbor who is, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Human Resources Department.  


Across the elementary schools you may see new faces in your building that served in different buildings last school year.  Transfers happen for multiple reasons.  For example, this year, Pfaff Elementary is a designated Title I school while Richland Elementary is not, so Title I staff from Richland are now at Pfaff.  The threshold for being designated a Title I school, the poverty rate must be at or above 35% based on the previous year’s socio-economic enrollment data.  With a higher poverty rate, there comes greater academic challenges and issues for the teachers and staff to work through.  For a school, Title 1 designation brings with it federal dollars that pays for additional teaching and support staff members to help students.  As the poverty rate continues to increase across our school district, it varies each year from building to building.  See chart below. 



PES

QES

RES

NES

TES

20-21

32.85%

58.56%

40%

41.01%

26.84%

21-22

34.79%

53.5%

41.07%

38.46%

31.10%

22-23

35.36%

55.71%

33.8%

44.16%

34.34%


As birth rates continue to decline across America since the Great Recession of 2008, we expect to see continued impact on our enrollment, at least in the next five years.  We reopened school on Monday with 4,806 students on paper.  This does not include former students who have left the district, but not officially withdrawn yet.  On average we should have over 200 more students withdrawn from the districts and removed from our rolls.  What was exciting this month is to receive 26 new students across grades K-12 from new housing construction at Twin Lakes, Reserve at Woodside, and Fonthill.  Last year, we only received five new students from those new neighborhoods.  


There are two surprising new enrollment numbers so far.  The first is Kindergarten.  With Universal Full Day Kindergarten in all elementary schools for the first time, instead of going up, our enrollment slipped slightly this year to 283 students from 306 last year.  The other is an increase of students at the 6th grade level with twenty one new students.  Nine of these students came in from charter schools and private religious schools, the remainder came from other districts.  We are also thrilled to welcome a few new students from the Ukraine.   (See Enrollment Data file)


Last week the Board’s Facilities Committee approved moving to the full Board a recommendation to construct a new Varsity Baseball Field.  The selected site for the new artificial turf field is the Junior Varsity Baseball field site by the 6th Grade Campus.  In the off season, the baseball field will become a multi-purpose field - for field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse. The cost is $5 million.  This project spent more than eight years in the drawing room and the Facilities Committee, which has considered four different possible construction sites over that time. The Varsity Baseball Team has been using the Memorial Park since the QNB Field construction began in 2016. Our baseball program will still have access to the Memorial Park Field in a partnership with Quakertown Borough.  


Thank you for reading.  For your feedback and/or comments please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Have a wonderful new school year!


Bill Harner

Superintendent


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