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Summer Newsletter 2017

Forest Hills School District Summer Newsletter 2017

As I conclude my sixth

As I conclude my sixth year as Superintendent of the Forest Hills School District, I am pleased to present the final edition of the Forest Hills Ranger Review for the 2016-2017 school year. As I reflect back on this school year, I believe the students and staff continued the philosophy that physical plant aesthetics are important, but it is the people within the system that make up the heart and soul of a school district. Community members have asked me what the one particular aspect I will remember about this year’s graduating class – just a few words that accurately describe this class and makes the class of 2017 special. Is it “most athletic, most studious, or most talented?” Actually this class will have a very special distinction that no other graduating class in the history of Forest Hills can claim. On January 9, 2017 the new Forest Hills Junior -Senior High School officially opened housing students in grades 7-12. The Class of 2017 is the first graduating class from the new state-of-the-art building. At the May 26, 2017 Dedication Ceremony I explained that no one person, no single group of individuals, no specific organization can take credit for this achievement. As a result of countless individuals spending thousands of hours working to create a one-of-a-kind structure, our children’s future is cemented in a tradition of excellence. Every student, every staff member, every individual can share in the accomplishment. What began as a vision of a few, will now, with the help of many, become a reality for the Forest ~ SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE ~ Hills community. The new building will serve the educational needs of generations of children to come and also function as the epicenter of our great community. The Class of 2017 serves as the first generation to benefit from our effort. More importantly, however, this class will be remembered for the following: Academically, a total of 24 seniors achieved grade point averages over 4.0, and approximately 68% of the class of 2017 will move on to higher education at colleges such as Bucknell University, Juniata, Pitt and Penn State. Over 45 seniors were awarded scholarships that have a monetary value of over 1.1 million dollars. Some might argue that this class was the most scholarly group to grace the halls of Forest Hills School District in a long time. The “Tradition of Excellence” at Forest Hills is cultivated early and begins at the elementary level. The 137 kindergarten students who were promoted to 1 st grade in ceremonies held at the elementary school will continue the legacy. The Board of Education approved a $25,680,000 General Fund Budget for the 2017-2018 school year, the 23 rd consecutive year that property taxes have not increased for property owners. Property owners again qualified for a tax reduction through the Homestead/ Farmstead Act. As I reflect on the 2016-2017 school year and look forward to the 2017-2018 school year, it is my hope that the Forest Hills School District created a place students want to be and are welcomed. After 36 years of dedication and commitment to the students of the Forest Hills School District, Mrs. Vanessa Sral will be retiring this summer. Anyone who has worked 2 with Mrs. Sral over the past 36 years can attest to the instrumental role she played in providing guidance and direction to faculty, staff, and students in the Forest Hills School District. She possesses a unique ability to address even the most difficult situation with tact, common sense, and compassion. She is a woman who has single-handedly touched the lives of thousands of students in her illustrious career. This year, I want to conclude my message with some sentiments that Mrs. Vanessa Sral, Director of Education, shared with the graduates at this year’s commencement ceremony. The District’s “influence has been woven into the time you’ve spent learning, how well you’ve learned, who you’ve learned with, and how you will apply what you’ve learned in the future. I believe the academic knowledge you’ve gained, the vocational skills you’ve honed, the problem-solving strategies you’ve studied, the communication skills you’ve mastered, and the sense of community and acceptance you’ve felt will stand the test of time. You have invested time and effort into earning your diploma and that diploma is evidence you are ready to spread your wings. The time is ripe for you to use what you’ve experienced at the Forest Hills School District and move forward to bigger and better things.” Choose to use what you’ve gained and continue to strive for excellence in all that you do. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

Eleven Staff Members Retire from the District The Forest Hills School District proudly recognizes eleven staff members who retired during the 2016-2017 school year. June 2, 2017 marked the end of a journey for these staff members who together accumulated 295 years of service in the Forest Hills School District. The Board of School Directors, administrators, staff, and students thank each for taking the time to make a difference in the lives of our young people. Not Pictured: William Gabany– Custodian—28 years of service Shirley Allison Paraprofessional 16 Years of Service Barbara Berk Teacher 38 Years of Service Matthew Hautz Teacher 26 Years of Service Barbara Hite-Irons Teacher 30 Years of Service Annette Kestermont Teacher 37 Years of Service Margaret Klein Teacher 26 Years of Service Lynne McCall Teacher 20 Years of Service Milton Rosey Custodian 18 Years of Service Patrice Stiffler Teacher 34 Years of Service Judy Wadsworth Secretary 22 Years of Service New Immunization Regulations The Pennsylvania Department of Health has adopted new immunization regulations effective August 2017. The new law is to ensure students are safeguarded from outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. New vaccination requirements include: combination form for diphtheria and tetanus; pertussis vaccination; combination form for measles, mumps and rubella; meningococcal conjugate vaccine for entry into 12 th grade, or in an ungraded school, in the school year the child turns 18; change in number of polio doses required for school attendance. Prior to the new regulations student had 8 months to get the required shots before they were not permitted to attend school. Now a child must have the required vaccines, or a medical plan (specific red and white card signed by a health care provider) to complete the vaccine schedule or risk exclusion from school; some risk exclusion if the vaccines are not given by the first day of the 2017-2018 school year. A student may still obtain medical, religious or philosophical exemption from meeting the immunization requirements. Even if a child is exempt from immunizations, he/she may be excluded from school during an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease. Flyers with the new immunization guidelines have been provided to all the parents of the district and information placed on the district website. For more information contact your child’s health care provider, your child’s school nurse, or 1-877-PA-Health. Please provide your child’s updated vaccine documentation to the school nurses. (Information taken from School Vaccination Information for Parents flyers and fact sheets from the Pennsylvania Department of Health 2017). 3

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