Lancer Letter – Commitment and Community

Submitted by Richard Scaletta, GM School District

This week’s Lancer Letter comes to us from Pam Swanseger, guidance counselor at Parker Middle School. She sent this to me to share a recent experience and with her permission, I am printing here as I believe it is a point of pride for us all.

A few weeks ago, I had a family visit our school to take a tour and to learn more about our district. They are moving here from the Philadelphia area. They are looking for housing in our district and another local district.

After giving the family a tour we sat in the lobby. The parents had many questions for me, almost like I was being interviewed! I didn’t mind at all because I enjoy bragging about our school and district. The final question for me was, “What sets your district apart from all the rest?” Without hesitation I knew my answer. It was simple: Commitment and Community. The parents appeared surprised by my answer. I went on to explain to them what commitment and community meant to me in our school and district.

Commitment: I believe one will not find teachers more committed to the students, families, and profession as you would here at Parker Middle School. Our faculty doesn’t work from 7:45 – 2:45, they work endless hours. They are here well before 7:30 and well after 2:45. Teachers work the Intramural Program, volunteer to go on field trips outside of school hours, plan field trips for students outside of school hours, and work at After School Homework Help. Our faculty plan and volunteer to help at events outside of school hours to get more students involved with activities such as the Creative Arts Expo, PTSA Fun Nights, Trail of Treats, and the Sewing Club. Teachers and staff go above and beyond the call of duty helping students understand and learn the academics. They are in constant communication with parents to help the students. We try to make sure that every student is taken care of as best as we can academically, socially, and emotionally. Teachers, principals, and other faculty members have paid for students to attend field trips, purchase a lunch, and clothing. When needed, our teachers and staff are there without hesitation.

Community: I believe that you will not find a more supportive community than that of Edinboro and McKean! We receive donations from local businesses to purchase clothing for families in need and donations for candy for Trail of Treats. Local businesses and community members are willing to offer time, donations, and money to help the students and families within the district. I’ve had different organizations donate money to families in time of need to purchase Christmas gifts, help out after a house fire, or other extenuating circumstances. Community members attend sporting events, display student work in businesses, and offer guest speakers to enhance the learning experience.

Later that day, I had a group of students with me for a social skills group. They had asked who I was giving a tour to earlier and if that student was transferring to our school district. I explained they are moving to the area and wanted to learn more about our district before making a decision. I shared with them the final question asked of me and presented that same question to the students. I was curious to learn, from the students’ perspective, what set our district apart from the rest. I refrained from giving my answer until the students were finished. I can’t say I was surprised by their answers but I can say that they confirmed mine.

Here is a list, not in any particular order, of what my 15 students think sets General McLane School District apart from the rest. I used the wording from the students:

Nice students – there isn’t a lot of bullying, students are helpful and include others.
A variety of after school opportunities or events such as the Creative Arts Expo and Robotics.
After school intramurals.
Homework help – teachers are willing to help after school.
Community – supports the school, attends sporting events, GM signs in the yards.
Leveled academics meets the students’ academics needs.
Broadway Dinner
Awesome gym and tracks – gym class year round.
Sports programs – the coaches teach, they just don’t coach.
Amazing theater program – gives opportunities for all to do different types of things.
Class trips are fun and everyone is included.
Students like coming to school because of their friends.
Teachers – they are nice, help us learn, different teaching methods, hands on, visual learning

I am proud of General McLane School District’s commitment and community. I believe our district’s mission is being lived to the fullest and my small group of students’ responses echo that.
GM Proud

The Lancer Letter is a weekly editorial by Richard Scaletta, Superintendent of Schools, General McLane School District. Opinions expressed are Mr. Scaletta’s views on the issues and subjects of discussion, and not necessarily those of or our sponsors.

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