CLAYSBURG — Claysburg-Kimmel School Board tried out the learning programs their students use with their new technology and welcomed a familiar face back to the board.

Claysburg-Kimmel’s January voting meeting started with the appointment of Jeremy Knott of Greenfield Township to the board seat vacated by the resignation of long-time member Cathy Barnes. Barnes left the board at the end of last month, citing health concerns.

Knott previously served on the board from 2011 to December of 2017. He served as board president for two years until his term ended after he failed to win re-election.

Knott said he was eager to get back to the board and told other members he was “passionate about the success of our district.”

He finishes out Barnes’ term through November of 2019.

Board members had a chance to use the elementary and secondary software students are using with the new iPads they received at the beginning of the year as part of the district’s 1 to 1 initiative.

Elementary Principal Matt Hall showed the audience Lexia Learning’s Lexia Reading Core 5 and Lexia Strategies.

Lexia Reading Core 5 and Lexia Strategies target reading skills and allow teachers to see learning gaps as they emerge. It also provides teachers with data and resources they need to help remediate students.

Superintendent Darren McLaurin also demonstrated IXL Learning, another program that provides skills across all subject areas. Again, McLaurin said, it provides teachers input on where students might be lagging as they run through skills sets.

Board president Rich Gergely said he, for one, wants to see the district continue to explore ways to improve students’ learning experiences, saying the board members “have been attacking the challenges the district has faced.

“We have been pushing for more tools” and he said he favors continuing to provide what staff needs when it’s in the district’s funding capabilities.

McLaurin said the Claysburg Area Education Foundation has been critical to introducing the initiatives.

The foundation was to spend about $200,000 in the past year for the school district’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula, including the purchase of iPads and other technology.

In other items, board member Gerri Mock asked whether the federal government shutdown would impact school lunches, which are federally supported for students who receive free or reduced-cost lunches.

McLaurin said the payments to the district are already a couple months behind. But if the shutdown were to drag on, Business Manager Michelle Smithmyer said, the administration would simply come to the board for a transfer from one fund into the cafeteria account.

The board gave approval for a district-sanctioned ski club. Smithmyer said 25 students had expressed an interest in joining the club.

Principal Steve Puskar said members are scheduled to take four ski trips to Blue Knob. Physical education teacher Rebecca Benton was approved as the adviser at a stipend of $600.

The board also approved a resolution that will it will not raise property taxes above the 3.4 percent allowed by the state Department of Education for 2019-20. Smithmyer said if the district were to take the rate up to the allowed index, it would raise about $80,000.

The board also approved the following:

—Policy recommendation including a change in transportation that allows audio or video recordings on buses. The district’s contract with A&M requires buses to have recordings if the district warrants it.

—Early dismissal for students on Feb. 15 and April 18, which is a change in the school calendar.

—Recognition of three first graders students whose artworks were voted as tops in the school. Mallory Dodson, Ava Gordon and Autumn Frazier were recognized with a certificate. Art teacher Debra Theyes made a calendar with a collection of submitted artwork from students who used anti-drug themes.

Contact Elizabeth Coyle at; 623-1151, ext. 105.


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