Reorganizing the district office

Reorganizing the district office
Posted on 10/12/2021

Good evening!  Hope you are well as we enter the seventh week of school.
Four years ago, in the school district office, we moved to the Chief Operating Officer model, where the Offices of Human Resources, Facilities, Food Services, Transportation, and Finances, all reported to one person - Zach Schoch, QCHS Class of 2005.  While not an original concept, it is not often seen in public education. The purpose was to create a more efficient model of school services to support our ambitious academic agenda in schools.  With the unexpected departure of Mr. Schoch to the private sector last month, and the retirement of the Finance Director, the district office has undergone a reorganization and downsizing. With the strong competition for Business Managers (five openings in Bucks County’s 13 districts over the past few months), and the lack of experienced business managers to step up to assume the responsibility of a COO position, I decided to go back to the Business Administrator model.  On October 18th, Dawn Young will become our new Business Administrator, responsible for the Finance and Food Service Departments.  She currently serves as Assistant Business Administrator in the Bethlehem Area School District. Welcome, Dawn!

With the loss of the two administrators, with the concurrence of the School Board, I reassigned the other school support services to members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet.  Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards resumed responsibility of Human Resources, and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lisa Hoffman  assumed responsibility for Technology, Registrar, Enrollments and Annual School District Goals Metrics reporting. The oversight of Transportation Services has been assigned to Director of Pupil Services Janet Pelone.

Transportation Services used to belong to this office more than a decade ago.  Other personnel in the HR office, business office, and OTL office are also picking up added areas of responsibility.  This reorganization will reduce the administrative/supervisory positions in the district by 1 FTE, and will save $100k per year. Please
click here for the updated QCSD Organizational Chart. 

With the recent arrival of the high school spring Keystone Exam reports from the state, the Administration has closed out the Superintendent Goals 2020-21 Metrics reporting, and will be presenting the final results at the School Board meeting Thursday night. While the district was certainly affected by the pandemic, I am pleased to report that it did not slow our students from meeting or exceeding most of the academic growth targets set by the School Board.  All hands - students, teachers, aides, support staff, administrators and parents - were on deck last year!   Please take some time to do a little data mining of the performance measures and outcomes.  We attribute the significant learning gains last year to your trust and confidence in our Health & Safety Plan, along with everyone’s hard work and commitment, regardless of the obstacles.  Keeping our schools open for live instruction for more days than any other district in Bucks County and the region paid off.  Quakertown does have a lot to be proud of.

If you recall, last spring the Board approved the three-year QCSD Comprehensive (Strategic) Plan.  It formed the foundation for the 2021-22 Superintendent’s Goals, as it will for the next two fiscal years. Two of the key pillars of the Plan and Goals are Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Awareness.  Working on these two pillars is not new to our staff and faculty.  Before the pandemic our work centered on trauma-informed care. Since COVID struck us in March 2020, SEL and mental wellness have been an integral part of our daily work.  We are seeing a manifestation of some of the mental health challenges in the unprecedented number of fights at the high school.  We had more in one week than I can recall knowing about over the previous seven years.  Quakertown Community High School Principal Mattias van 't Hoenderdaal will have a short presentation for the School Board and community Thursday night to discuss how the high school is responding.  It may be viewed live streamed at ttp:// beginning at 7 p.m. 

Our students are reacting to the general anxiety and anger that are present in our society, and what they hear in our daily conversations with each other.  Members of the Board and our staff have been yelled at, cursed at, and called horrible names in recent weeks. With this abuse, many are emotionally and physically exhausted.  Every staff member in QCSD is a member of our school community. They have served our students and families faithfully and with distinction for many years.  They all deserve much better!

I ask for your help and support in maintaining appropriate civility and respect in all communications with district personnel.  The district Policy Committee discussed this topic at its meeting last week, and is recommending some changes to Policy 903 - Public Participation in Board Meetings, as well as considering developing a policy specifically on civility. In these very tense and challenging times, I hope we can all do our part to role model respectful dialog for our students.  Kindness and patience in these very challenging times is incredibly important.  

So many thanks to all of you who responded to my last blog, we are most grateful for your support. 

Thank you for reading!

Bill Harner

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