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W’sport School District ready for the start of the new school year

The “state of the district is good” heading into the opening day of school, slated for Aug. 29, said Dr. Timothy S. Bowers, Williamsport Area School District superintendent.

Bowers told the school board this week the district has a full complement of professional staff ready for the upcoming school year. There is still a need for support staff, however.

“Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to get professional staff on board. Lots of districts across the Commonwealth cannot say that,” he added, referencing the shortage of professional staff that has plagued many districts including others in the region.

Bowers reported 323 students are registered for kindergarten, and encouraged parents who have not registered their children to do so.

Fall sports started this week in the district with Bowers sharing that about 90 students had gone out for football this year.

“We’re starting to get that feeling. Things are ramping up and schools are looking good,” he said.

Under personnel items, the board accepted the resignations of Bonnie M. Maddox, full-time administrative support, and Jill P. Yaple, full-time library aide, both for the purpose of retirement.

The following people were hired: Alexis S. Llewellyn, part-time aide, Lycoming Valley Intermediate School; Alicia N. Differ, full-time districtwide K-12 principal, $93,000; Candice Sampson, full-time 1st grade teacher, Cochran Primary School, $53,633; Christina Bowers, intermediate teacher (assignment and location to be determined), $53,633; Colton T. Miller, full-time groundskeeper/custodian, the high school; Danae M. Roles, long-term substitute teacher effective Aug. 24 through the first semester, primarily at Lycoming Valley Intermediate School, $53,633; Daykeema Sessoms, full-time aide, Curtin Intermediate School; Eric P. Holz, long-term substitute teacher, primarily at Williamsport Area Middle School, $53,633; Gerardo Pena, part-time aide, Lycoming Valley Intermediate School; Hannah Bitler, full-time 2nd grade teacher, Jackson Primary School, $53,633; Hope Woolway, long-term substitute teacher, primarily at Cochran Primary School, $53,633; Loriann E. Rose, full-time 5th grade teacher, Curtin Intermediate School, $60,923; Nancy L. Hamilton, full-time administrative support; Rachael L. Eck, part-time aide, Lycoming Valley Intermediate School; Taron D. Dinkins, part-time aide, Lycoming Valley Intermediate School; Charles M. Goodmond Jr. and Karen Gerardi, substitute administrative support/aides, $12 per hour; Don Smith, James Gardner, Joshua Rogers, Ronald Shellhammer, Tammy Robbins and Tyler Henry, non-certified substitute teachers, $90 per day for first 45 days and $110 per day for days beyond the 45th day; up to a maximum of 180 days per year; Erika Edler, substitute teacher, $120 per day for the first 45 days and $130 per day for any time after that with a maximum of 180 days per year.

The addition of a school social worker was approved. Funding for the position will be initially through a School Mental Health grant.

The following finance items were approved:

• Purchase of chairs for Curtin Intermediate School at a cost of approximately $5,500.

• Purchase of door hardware to upgrade doors at Cochran Primary from Nelson Installations LLC, Jersey Shore, at a cost of $15,560.

Under curriculum, the board approved:

• The purchase of Edgenuity for the Virtual Academy for the 2022-23 school year at a cost of $85,250. This includes 31 full-time, six-course seats, with additional seats available as needed for an additional $275 per course per semester.

• Renewal purchase of comprehensive site licenses for Edgenuity for grades 6-12 for the 2022-23 school year at a cost of $42,000. Costs will be paid through curriculum funds.

• An agreement with the US Center for SafeSport to provide an online training program for all current and new coaches hired in the district. The cost is $20 per coach; certification is good for two years. Costs will be paid through the athletic department budget.

• The purchase of 33 Verkada door access controls, 33 Verkada 4AH backup batteries, 130 Verkada card readers, and 130 Verkada Access Control Cloud licenses from Gov Connection Inc., Merrimack, NH, at a total cost of $233,206. The door access controls, card, readers and Access Control licenses integrate with the district security camera system to provide a safer school environment. Cost will be paid through the School Safety Grant.

• The purchase of seven Verkada Guest Licenses from Gov Connection Inc., Merrimack, NH, at a total cost of $100,000. Verkada Guest is a visitor management system that integrates with the district security camera system to provide a safer school environment. Costs will be paid through the School Safety Grant and district funds.

• The purchase of 450 Zoom Edu Licenses from Zoom Inc., San Jose, Calif., at a total cost of $19,552. The Zoom licenses will be used to provide remote instruction and video conferencing for the 2022-23 school year. Costs will be paid through district funds.

• The 2022-23 tuition agreement with New Story School (Selinsgrove) to provide one student with special education requirements all related services at the rate of $397 per day. Costs will be paid through the special education budget

• The purchase of 1,575 site licenses from IXL for the 2022-23 school year at a total cost of $17,463. Costs will be paid through the elementary, secondary and special education budgets.

The board will next meet at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the District Service Center, 2780 W. Fourth St.

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