Hello Lehighton Community,
It’s hard to believe it has been only 5 months since I started as Superintendent at Lehighton ASD. What a journey it has been! Since the beginning of my time here, I feel we’ve done quite a bit. In August & September, I attended numerous Girl’s & Boys’ Soccer games, Football games and Volleyball matches. I was also able to participate in meet the teacher nights, KG Orientation, and several student orientations across all three buildings. I met the EC PTO group, attended the Band Expo and participated in Meet the Tribe Night. What a demonstration of pride for our LASD community!
As I presented in my Entry Plan, I scheduled “Sit Ins” in all three buildings. On 10/3, 10/12 and 10/19 I stationed myself at one of the buildings for the day. The purpose of those days was to make myself available to the teachers. It’s hard to have an “Open Door” policy when your door isn’t easily accessible. Teachers in each building took time from their day to introduce themselves, share their concerns as well as share their ideas & hopes for our students. I also completed several trainings such as Title IX, New Superintendent’s Academy and Emergency Preparedness.
In November, I hosted a Community Open House. The District Board Room was open for an evening to the community. Anyone could stop in, meet me and share their ideas or concerns. I plan to do another one of these on March 8th from 4pm-7pm. I hope to see many of you there. At the board’s request, we will be hosting Curricular Materials Review nights. From 5pm-7pm prior to each Workshop meeting, we will have various curricular materials on display for community members to review. I’ve also been able to participate in some fun student activities such as Chopped Jr. Judge in the HS FCS class and Judge for the Holiday Bake Off. I ate more than I should and was truly impressed with our students’ creativity. I’ve also participated in community groups such as the Carbon Chamber meetings as well as tours of local businesses such as Blue Ridge Manufacturing, AMPAL, St. Luke’s Hospital and Lehigh Valley Network Hospital. We have many opportunities for our graduates in our own backyard.
Throughout these first few months of school, I have worked hard to be in each building weekly, stopping in to see classrooms, to view activities or observe lunch rooms. It is amazing how hard our teachers and staff work to make our environment engaging and fun. From the use of the phonic wheels in KG, to the use of technology such as Kahoots, our teachers find great ways to engage our students in the learning process. If you get the opportunity, walk through our buildings. The creative displays of art work, text analysis writing samples, graphing projects, short stories, woodworking and metal working projects, the physics Ferris wheel, our students are truly demonstrating their understanding of instruction.
As we move into the new year, I have also found many challenges that we must tackle. Our PSSA scores are not where we would like them to be. We will be engaging administration, teachers and staff in dialogue surrounding curricular materials and instructional practices that we can incorporate into our classrooms to help improve these scores. Addressing our students’ attendance, mental health needs, and graduation rates need to be a focus in making sure ALL students are successful and achieving at their optimal performance. I’ve also heard from teachers that they want me to stop into classrooms more frequently on my walkthroughs, so I will be restructuring my time to do so. Some additional feedback from teachers on having more opportunities to be engaged in decision making has led me to restructure my spring “Sit Ins”. Rather than spending a whole day sitting in each building, I will be scheduling focus groups throughout the district to engage teachers in more meaningful and solutions-based dialogue.
I want to thank my administrative team, who I am bringing along on this journey. Change is hard, but I know with our teacher’s/staff input, administrative leadership and our board’s governance, we can make great things happen for our students in Lehighton. Go Indians!!
Dr. Christina E. Fish