DuBois School Board holds work session, hears presentation from the Director of Student Services
Written by Glenn Schuckers
During the first hour of its scheduled work session of March 17, the Board heard a presentation by the Director of Student Services, Kyle Gordon. Before going into his presentation Gordon took time to note the coming resignation of teacher and coach, John Wayne. Gordon said that Wayne had been his basketball coach when he was a student at DAHS and credited the coach for his dedication to the sport and even more to the players whom he inspired.
The Department of Student Services consists mainly of the twelve guidance counselors who work with students in grades kindergarten though twelfth grades. Gordon introduced each of them through a virtual presentation listing their positions, the buildings/grades where they work and a brief summary of their backgrounds. He said they average some seventeen years in the District and all have over two-hundred students that they advise.
He said a school counselor has four jobs, those being as an advocate for the students, a leader, a collaborator and an agent of change. Those jobs are essentially the same across the range from the youngest kindergarten student to the high school senior. Pointing out that everyone who works with children is a “mandated reporter which means that he or she is required to report any evidence of abuse or neglect, Gordon said that there had been 59 referrals of this although he did point out that these were referrals and did not know what subsequent investigations showed.
He also pointed out that the school has a “HOPE Squad” that empowers kids to meet and talk with other kids and connects them with the community. It is the only such program in Pennsylvania. The department also provides clothing for students who need it and guides the SAP and ESAP (Students Assistance and Elementary Student Assistance programs.
Another of the areas that his department works with is what is known as food insecurity. That occurs when children are not sure when they leave a school building where or when they may get their next meal. Along that line the schools provide not only a balanced lunch but also a breakfast for any student who wants one. In addition the school operates a “food truck” that visits locations inn the district to serve meals. The food service goes on to meet student needs throughout the year even when school is not in session.
Later in the meeting superintendent Wendy Benton noted the local Martins supermarket has been instrumental in supplementing the food program by donating food. Recently they donated over $8,000 toward the program, in addition to giving food and produce. The market went on to provide four folding picnic tables to the food trucks so that people would have a place to sit and eat the meals from the truck.
Later when Board members look at the upcoming agenda for the regular voting meeting, directors Charlie Watt and David Schwab raised some questions about an item that will ask them to vote on an expenditure of some $33,000 for computer equipment for an “E Sport” team. The idea for this was brought up at the February work session and the merits of such an activity were presented then, but both Watt and Schwab asked if this was an expenditure the district wanted to make. The item will be on the voting agenda at the March 24 regular meeting.