Welcome to a new and exciting school year! This year will certainly be an unusual one for Conestoga with our students and staff spread out between three different schools. While it has been a challenge for the teachers to settle into their new spaces, they have worked extremely hard and their rooms look wonderful! A special thank you to the custodial staff that worked all summer to move all those boxes to where they belong. Martic Elementary, Marticville Middle and Pequea Elementary have been extremely welcoming and I am looking forward to the new relationships that we will form and the collaboration that will take place between the Conestoga staff and the staff of the other three buildings. While we know we will face some challenges being between three buildings, it also presents all sorts of new opportunities, and we plan to take advantage of as many as we can.
In spite of all the changes we face this year, we still remain Conestoga Proud and want to preserve our sense of community. To that end, our PTO has planned some wonderful events that will bring us together as an entire school. I would encourage everyone to participate in as many activities as you can and join us at the PTO meetings so you can continue to stay connected to the Conestoga Elementary community. We will post all the events on our Blog and also post reminders throughout the year. Pequea Elementary has kindly offered to allow us to hold our PTO meetings and events at their school. Thank you Pequea!
This year also brings some changes to our volunteer policy. While the Penn Manor School District continues to welcome and encourage parents to be involved in their children’s education, this year Pennsylvania requires all volunteers to obtain clearances. Clearances are now free for school volunteers with the exception of the FBI Criminal Background. You can learn more about how to obtain the required clearances on the Conestoga blog at https://blogs.pennmanor.net/conestoga/
Talk about a year of changes, we have also changed our schedule to a four day cycle rather than a six day cycle. This has allowed us to provide common planning time for our teachers and a more consistent schedule for both specials and content subjects. It has also allowed us to introduce two new specials, Flex Time and Applied Engineering. Both areas will include hands on activities and incorporate problem solving strategies which I think our students will love. Our Applied Engineering teacher is Kevin Kelley and our Flex Activity teacher is Karen Lehr. We also welcome Lisa Bohannon, who is a Martic teacher but will be our Academic Support Teacher for the first half of this year. She will be working with our primary students until Beth Corl comes back from her sabbatical. We also welcome Dawn Janssen as our physical education teacher at Martic and Marticville, and Jenna Fisher at Pequea Elementary. Nancy Nadig as our librarian at Marticville and Lori Paules as our librarian at Martic and Pequea, Konrad Fritz will be our music teacher at Martic and Marticville and Sue Hamer will be the music teacher for our students at Pequea. Chris Pierce will be the art teacher for our students at Pequea and Jenny Steffy will be the art teacher for our students at Martic and Marticville. Whew, is your head spinning yet? I think we will love the new schedule but it will be a tough adjustment to go from saying this is day 1 to this is day A.
Dismissal will be a little different at each building but we will send home a map to use so you know where the pickup line will be at each building. This year especially please do not wait until the last minute to let us know if your child is being picked up. Whenever possible PLEASE send in a note in with your child telling us of any changes. It is very difficult to get 300 students to the right place at the end of the day let alone adding another almost 90 students to each building. Do not call to change your child’s transportation after 3:00 unless it is an emergency. We will have 2 buses at each school and that information along with an approximate pick up and drop off times will be sent to you. Our two primary buses will have bus aides on them to make the ride a little easier for the students and the bus driver. Please remember that in the beginning of the year the bus runs usually take longer because the bus driver is just learning the route and which child goes where. The drop off times should get slightly shorter after the first couple of weeks. Also our dismissal time was pushed back this year about 10 minutes to allow us a little more academic time. Our students will not be released to the pick up line until 3:28 and the buses won’t begin loading until 3:33. So they will be leaving the school a little later than last year.
I plan to rotate through all the buildings and hopefully I will be always be in the very spot where I am needed. However, if I am not, then I have complete faith in that the other principals can handle any issues that need immediate attention. I have included their names and the phone numbers of each building in case you need them. My phone number and Mrs. Lily Williams’ number have stayed the same, so please call us with any concerns you might have at 717-872-9535. You can also reach me on my cell phone at 717 672-4049.
Hang in there with us as we negotiate our way through this year. It will take a lot of patience and planning, but I look forward working with you and your child as we navigate our way through the year and remember that at the end of this journey, our patience will be rewarded with a beautiful new school.
Martic Elementary – Dr. Jen Sugra, Principal, & Amy Reis, Secretary (717-464-3831)
Marticville Middle – Ms. Christine Santaniello, Principal, & Dottie Bleacher, Secretary (717-284-4135)