Bethlehem Press

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Early Spanish learning finally a go

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Heather Nigrone Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy presented each board member with a certificate from the Pennsylvania School Board Association at the Jan. 22 meeting. This was in recognition of the excellent service the board provides for the district

Liberty HS student representative Sarafina Schultheis was amongst those recognized, and she spoke with great excitement about the current school year at Liberty. Students have participated in numerous county band, orchestra and chorus events, and on Jan. 26 they held a Latino Youth talent show. Students continue to prepare for April when they will be hosting a mini-Thon fundraiser event, as well as performing the “Wizard of Oz.”

Recognition also surrounded the Sodexo food services backpack program. BASD has received a grant that allows at-need students to receive assistance with meals outside of school. The program provides these students backpacks filled with non-perishable food, which are taken home over weekends and breaks, to ensure that BASD children are not going hungry. More information on this program, and how to help can be found on the Sodexo website, https://bethlehemareasd.sodexomyway.com/

There were a number of items on the agenda that were all discussed at the previous committee meetings, which all received board approval. Most notably including the approval of the new elementary arts program to begin in 2018-19, with Spanish language and digital literacy taking the place of traditional library and technology courses.

The final item of the evening came from audience member Lori Walker, who has a background in education, expressed her concern with equality between Freedom and Liberty HS. She noted Liberty currently has three educational “tracks” for students, while Freedom presently has only two. Freedom students are missing the “academic advanced track” which Walker described as enhanced resources for students who are higher than average, but not considered gifted. She cited numerous court cases that she feels should compel the district to consider changing this program, and tied the reasoning to the district goal of excellence through equity. The board made no comment on the suggestion, but Walker appeared to be determined to continue pushing to close this perceived gap in education between the two schools.