TASB gets update on pump station

STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER STEM Academy principal Kelly Carroll shares some advertising images created by seventh grade art students.

Tunkhannock Area School Board on Thursday night got an update on plans to have a pipeline supporting a water pump station in the borough and how that might change traffic patterns in the near future affecting school buses within the district.

Shane Powers, TA's chief operating officer, said the project would likely begin in a pair of locations in a couple of weeks and could continue for several weeks or several months depending on how the construction unfolds.

The plan in principle that was laid out nine months ago at a Tunkhannock Borough Council meeting was to have a pump station developed by a firm named Northeast Marcellus on the Susquehanna River south of the Ford dealer, piping water north along McCord and west along Harrison to Bridge Street where it would continue northward to an impoundment in Lemon.

Powers said the district was approached because traffic particularly on Bridge Street (Rt. 29) could at times be down to one lane while the construction was unfolding.

She said a meeting would be taking place Monday (Jan. 14) with representatives of the contractors doing the work to get a better read on how to advise school bus drivers on challenges they might find and how to minimize the impact of any disturbance.

Powers said she just wanted to let the community know this was coming up.

Most of Thursday's meeting was routine business with a couple of spotlights on academic programs in progress or recently completed.

One of them was on a seventh grade mixed media art and drawing classes in the STEM Academy.

STEM Principal Kelly Carroll shared a PowerPoint presentation of students work with display advertisements they created for local businesses.

Carroll told the board and those in attendance that Alice Manley of the Times-Shamrock company had approached reading specialist Mike Shingler with an idea about using student talent to create advertisements.

The project was sponsored by the Wyoming County Press Examiner for students to get a real world application for creating ads for clients using their creativity.

Art teacher Allison Wilson was on hand and when asked by Carroll about the students' work, said she was "blown away" by the energy displayed and level of creativity employed.

Around 40 students were able to participate in the program with the eventual probability that some of their work will appear in the local Examiner newspaper.

Superintendent Heather McPherson applauded the students with a "Great job" that drew applause to the students present.

Another spotlight was put on ‘Buddy,' a reading therapy dog which the district was considering adding to its list of tools to encourage reading.

McPherson said the district had brought on ‘Ivan,' Buddy's uncle, about a year and a half ago, and the dog was a confidence booster in building young students' reading skills and confidence levels.

The board later approved Buddy - a Porgie - as an additional therapy dog.

McPherson briefly touched upon a new anonymous tipline through the state attorney general's office. She said it was called Safe2Say Something and is a youth violence prevention program that helps students and adults recognize warning signs and signals about potential threats and encourages them to "say something."

The board also approved a climate and interest survey for distribution to STEM Academy students.

It also cleared overnight field trips through the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 9 (Orchestra Festival Jan. 9-11 at Marywood University; Band Festival Jan. 23-25 at Pittston Area High School; and Chorus Festival Feb. 6-8 at Forest City High School); and District IV Chorus Festival March 20-21 at Canton Area High School.

Under unfinished business it took another look at the district's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) position and rescinded an appointment made of Mitch Zampett late last year. A follow up motion identifid the position of HVAC lead and the board agreed to advertise the opening.

Under the superintendent's report, resolutions were approved for a sabbatical for employee #595 in 2018-19; a list of nine volunteers; the appointment of Bethany Cheek as a van driver for Walters Transport; and conference attendances by Rich Seaberg (Safe Schools Conference) and Brendan Tomaino (Basic SRO).

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