CATAWISSA, RR — The Southern Columbia Area School Board honored it’s student of the month, third-grader Olivia Jones, for her exemplary behavior both in and out of school. The quiet, young lady stood before the board as Superintendent Paul Caputo offered his congratulations for her attendance record, behavior in the classroom and willingness to help others.
“She always R.O.A.R.s (Respects Others and Acts Responsibly),” expressed Caputo, as he presented Jones with a certificate of recognition from the board. While Jones declined to speak, those in attendance, including her family and friends, applauded her achievement. Jones was nominated for the award by her teacher Shelly Hower and smiled as she was photographed with Caputo and the other board members.
Wrestling trio recognized
The board also recognized the wrestling trio of head coach Jerry Marks, assistant coach Kent Lane and wrestling standout Gaige Garcia, who captured an individual state championship at 195 pounds. Marks and Lane were named head coach of the year and assistant coach of the year, respectively.
While the trio did not pose for a photo or receive an award, Marks offered a few brief words on their behalf.
“I’d just like to thank our school board and administrators for all of their support,” he said.
Prevention specialist update
Sarah Dobeck, updated the board on the Blended Program services at SCA, which she is responsible for coordinating.
“I started this position in November. I live close by and have really enjoyed becoming a part of the Southern Columbia family,” stated Dobeck. “My primary role is to serve as the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol liaison for the Student Assistant Program (SAP) for both the Middle School and High School. I provide feedback and community resources for the teams, as well as, complete screenings on all students approved for the SAP screening process. Based on the screening results, I then work with the student, their family and the SAP team to get the student and family connected with appropriate resources.
Dobeck pointed out that from her years of working at Columbia Montour Snyder and Union counties (CMSU), she has developed extensive community resources which she utilizes to support the students, staff and community of Southern Columbia.
“CMSU has provided evidence based programs to the school such as Teen Intervene and Too Good for Drugs which I teach to all 5th, 6th and 7th grade students. This program teaches social and emotional skills as well as drug education and prevention. These programs are paid for by CMSU, so there is no cost to the school. CMSU also set up and provided the funding for a neurological trauma training to all staff at Southern Columbia School District entitled The Trauma Informed Classroom,” she noted.
Dobeck also said that she was able to coordinate the CMSU Mental Health Awareness Day for SCA on May 9 and that the school sold 500 awareness shirts, had a green out day, poster campaign, morning announcements and a variety of other activities to support mental health awareness and stigma reduction. Students, staff, community members and even other school district staff bought and wore their awareness shirts.
“I’m grateful to have this position and the opportunity to make a difference at Southern Columbia School District and the entire surrounding area. I will continue to work hard and bring as many positive programs as I can to our school and local community,” she concluded.
Social worker services update
SCA’s school social worker Amy Kluck-Leonovich was not present but her supervisor Jennifer Snyder, read a prepared statement from her to the board.
“The skills we work on include, but are not limited to relationship building, social skills, communication, coping skills, impulsiveness and emotional regulation,” explained Kluck-Leonovich in her letter. “Overall, my hope is that I’m able to help the students, families and staff to continue to build positive support systems, boost self-esteem and self confidence, and create an open and accepting culture.”
Parent Resource page
Caputo also noted that SCA is currently working with parent to develop what he termed a “Parent Resource Page.”
“We’ve had several parents express their interest in forming a parental code of conduct (for parents only and not school officials or students),” explained Caputo.
He then showed a brief video which addressed disturbing parental behaviors such as “snow plow parenting,” where parents seek to plow away and remove any barriers from their child’s path in school and “helicopter parenting,” where they hover over their children, coaching them and trying to watch their every move.
“Students and parents must also be careful and avoid joining a social mob mentality, that seeks to attack and destroy others online through social media,” he said.
New student representatives named
Outgoing student representatives Emma Steely and Alexandra Willhouse were congratulated by the board for their willingness to represent their fellow students before the board for the past four years.
“We appreciate everything you’ve done and want you to know that many members of this board have changed their votes because of what you’ve told us,” stated board president Michael Yeager.
It was announced that the new student representatives will be junior Chloe Wegzynowicz and sophomore Micah Yemzow.