Bethlehem Press

Thursday, February 22, 2018
PRESS PHOTOS BY MARK KIRLINBoard member Ralph Puerta receives an award from Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler. PRESS PHOTOS BY MARK KIRLINBoard member Ralph Puerta receives an award from Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler.
Saucon Valley HS Panther Marching Band Director Herb Payung speaks to the board along with members of the band. Saucon Valley HS Panther Marching Band Director Herb Payung speaks to the board along with members of the band.

Board presents special recognition

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by Mark Kirlin Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Two outgoing school board members received special recognition for their years of service.

Members Ralph Puerta and John Dowling are leaving the board. Puerta served from 2005-17 and in a previous stint during the 80s and 90s. Dowling served from 2013-17.

Both members were presented with a plaque of recognition by Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler.

The plaques read, “To honor your service to education by word and deed, your presence has enriched the lives of students and served as example for all.”

Butler also said, “You’re both gentlemen and it’s been pleasure working with you and you have helped me in ways you don’t realize.”

Puerta also received another recognition along with council member Sandra Miller. Both received awards on behalf of the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) for their 12 years of service. PSBA is the first school board association established in 1895 and its mission is to empower elected school board members to succeed by providing vital tools, superior training and powerful advocacy.

Also on hand was the Saucon Valley HS Panthers Marching Band. Butler asked the band to attend to celebrate its entry to the U.S. Bands National Championships, ranked 14 out 15 bands in their division. Despite their ranking they were able to finish second overall.

Another recognition was given to Saucon Valley senior Nathan Bernstein for finishing in 15th place in the PIAA State AA Cross Country Championship held in Hershey PA. Bernstein has also placed third in the Colonial League championship and is a silver medalist in the district 11 2A cross country race.

In other business, SVHS Principal Beth Guarriello presented a summary of proposed changes to the program of studies and handbook.

With a new schedule that will no longer involve study halls, students are going to be asked to choose elective English classes instead. Some of these classes include short stories and poems, contemporary literature and a winners course that looks at Nobel Prize winning literature. The goal is to get students interested in reading.

Also mentioned was new program in collaboration with Northampton Community College. The district will now offer a college level math class designed for students who aren’t convinced that they can attend college. The course will be offered at the high school and it will allow students to earn an actual college credit, free of charge. College professors will also visit and teach time management and organization.

Guarriello also outlined some proposed adjustments to the student code of conduct. The district continues to revise their policies after racial accusations involving students that have occurred over the last year. They are currently working on how to handle the use of words that can be perceived as hate speech. The board has not approved the changes, but the plan is to further discuss the matter and to clarify wording and procedures in the hand book.