This section of the superintendent's website will include information regarding important matters impacting our students, our district, and our community. Please visit this page often, and bookmark www.methacton.org/communityconversations to stay informed.
If you have feedback for my consideration on any of these matters, please send it to email@example.com.
Welcome to the first edition of my COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS for the 2019-2020 school year. #BeTheOne to EMPOWER, ENCOURAGE, and INSPIRE others to Learn, Lead and Succeed is our theme for the year and parents, students and the community at large can join us in sharing all the great Methacton moments where students, staff, and parents are being the one to do extraordinary things.
I am proud to announce that we will be starting a Pre-K Counts program at Arcola Intermediate School for up to 20 children run by the MCIU beginning in October. Parents interested in learning more about this can go here for English / here for Spanish.
While vaping is not a pleasant matter to discuss and not the topic that I want to start the year off with, it is, however, certainly a concern. Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes are challenging Methacton and other school districts across the country. What is more concerning is the misconception that these devices are safe alternatives to smoking. According to the CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health departments, there is a significant rise in the outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use. The CDC is clear: "The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults." The addictiveness and student-friendly flavors make e-cigarettes increasingly popular. The use of an e-cigarette is NOT a safe alternative to smoking - and in the opinion of health officials - it's even worse! So please talk with your child(ren) and share the attached document as you see fit from the Montgomery County Department of Public Health outlining the issues.
Staying on my topic of concern for student wellness, the Methacton School District and the Methacton Education Foundation are working to enhance the individual and collective wellness of our students through a wide range of programs and services focused on an individual’s state of physical, mental, environmental, occupational, financial, spiritual, emotional, and social well-being. It is clear that student wellness is directly linked to success in the classroom and in life.
While our curriculum and programming in health and physical education, school counseling, the Student Assistance Program (S.A.P.), and our Instructional Support team efforts at all grades levels are supporting this effort, there is a nationwide trend taking shape that clearly indicates a need for a wider, more intensive and applicable scope of programs and services.
Methacton students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 participate every other year in the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) funded by the Department of Education, Department of Drug and Alcohol, and Commission on Crime and Delinquency. PAYS seeks to gather information about youth knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards alcohol, tobacco, drug use, gambling, depression/suicidal ideation, violence, and bullying. This anonymous survey provides valuable information that helps us better determine the type and level of supports needed. The survey is again being administered this year during Oct/Nov.
One of the more recent supports implemented in the Spring of last school year is Safe2Say Something. This confidential reporting system is designed to educate students on how to recognize warning signs and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. Last school year, Methacton saw 45 Safe2Say tips in the following categorical areas including Alcohol Possession, Anger Issues, Bodily Injury, Bullying, Anxiety, Drug Use, Violence, and Suicide. I have provided a Safe2Say parent brochure and our schools will be providing student training in the coming months as part of our annual training on this system and warning signs.
Lastly -- it gives me great pleasure to remind all of our students, parents, staff, and the community that Methacton Homecoming is just around the corner starting with Spirit Week on Monday, October 7 and culminating with the homecoming student dance on October 12. I invite the community to join us at the homecoming football game on Friday, October 11. The tailgate is hosted by MHS Senior Officers and begins at 5pm. The game starts at 7pm.
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools