by James Rada, Jr.
With students back wandering the halls of Catoctin High and its feeder schools, they are seeing a lot of new faces, and they aren’t all new students. The schools have new teachers, programs, and classes to get used to.
Catoctin High School
When students returned to Catoctin High School, they returned to the Maryland Character High School of the Year. It was awarded through the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University, and this is the second year in a row that Catoctin won the award.
“It is a great honor for our kids, and the application process was spearheaded by guidance counselor, Dana Brashear,” said Principal Bernard Quesada.
The school will also be getting a new scoreboard in the stadium. “We are also ordering new banners in the gymnasium that will recognize all the individual state champions since the school’s opening in 1969,” Quesada said.
New staff at the school includes: Rob Phelan as the new math teacher and assistant soccer coach and Alaine Nichols as the new English teacher.
Thurmont Middle School
Want to keep up with what’s going on at Thurmont Middle? You can now follow them on Twitter (@TMSPanthers).
The school is continuing to make improvements to the building. Last year, the school got new windows. This year’s improvements include the chillers on the roof, oil tanks, and sidewalks.
“The biggest change with clubs is that our world famous show choir is now its own entity,” said Principal Jennifer Powell.
The Thurmont Middle School Show Choir now has its own board of directors and booster club. The change was needed as a way to allow them to do more overnight competitions.
Last school year, the school had also experimented with allowing gum chewing in school. However, it didn’t work out well, so it will not be allowed this year.
Mother Seton School
Mother Seton School has new leadership. “Our big exciting news is about our leadership change. Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. has taken over from Sr. JoAnne Goecke, D.C. as our new principal,” said Lynn Tayler, Advancement Office assistant.
Other staff changes include: Sr. Joan Corcoran, D.C. is the new assistant principal; Karen MacZura will teach Pre-K and physical education; Christy LaBarbera will be the Pre-K teacher’s assistant; Sharon Beard is the new fifth-grade teacher; Rachel Bevard is a new cafeteria assistant.
The new staff also means that some of the familiar teachers will be teaching new classes.
Thurmont Primary School
“Thurmont Primary was identified as a Title 1 school and that gives us extra federal money,” said Principal Karen Locke.
The funds allowed Locke to bring on new reading and math intervention teachers. This will allow more students to get needed help reaching the reading and math standards.
The school is also starting an integrated special education pre-K program that introduces regular education students into the classroom to work alongside the special education pre-K students.
New staff at the school includes: Dawn Morton teaching reading intervention; Tabitha Costner teaching first grade; Tammy Ferrell teaching first grade; Ashley Lillard teaching first grade; Kathy Firor as a student support specialist; Meg Fetting teaching second grade; Kennetha Orsini teaching second grade; Dawn Kasperek teaching kindergarten; Connie Rankin will be a long-term art teacher substitute; Barb Cicmanec teaching math intervention.
Thurmont Elementary School
Thurmont Elementary School will be focusing on the expanding role of technology in the classroom. The school is working to develop a policy so that students can bring their own devices to school to work on the school’s wireless network. Each grade level will also have its own Promethean board to use for lessons.
Thurmont Elementary and Thurmont Primary will be co-hosting a Back-to-School picnic at Thurmont Community Park on September 4, 2014, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Students and their families are invited to come spend some informal and fun time with teachers and staff at the schools.
New staff at the school include: Jessica Ridenour teaching fourth grade; Matthew Luketic teaching fourth grade; Tyler Trone as the user support specialist.
Sabillasville Elementary School
Like many of the schools in the Catoctin feeder system, Sabillasville Elementary is introducing Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS), a proactive approach to dealing with school discipline.
“The students will be able to earn Mountain Money and spend it in the Mountain General Store,” said Principal Kate Krietz. They will be able to earn rewards like extra recess and no homework.
New staff at the school include: Haleh Paciotti as the new literary specialist; Katie Dempsher as the new speech teacher.
Lewistown Elementary School
Lewistown Elementary School will be focusing on growth mindsets this year. It’s a teaching philosophy developed by Carol Dweck and Mary Cay Ricci that encourages pushing your limits to reach your potential and how to deal with the times you come up short in that pursuit. “We think it will help our students develop perseverance and resilience that they may need as they face the new assessments,” said Principal Shirley Olsen.
The school will be hosting a Tiger Trot for Technology on October 4. This is a walk and ride for new school technology. It will have a short run for students and 5-mile and 42-mile bike rides through scenic Frederick County. For more information, visit the school’s website at www.education.fcps.org/les.
New personnel at the school are: Art teacher, Lauren Clore; 3rd grade teacher, Kaitlyn Miller; therapist, Alena Alsruhe; special education assistant, Jessica Kirkwood; special education assistant, Kimberly McTighe; and special education assistant, Lindsay Hewitt.
Emmitsburg Elementary School
Emmitsburg Elementary School was also contacted about their new changes, but they did not get back to the The Catoctin Banner before press time.