Video gives school board a look at students at work

PLUMSTED — At the most recent regular meeting of the Plumsted School District Board of Education, board members and the public were treated to a presentation given by New Egypt High School Principal Elizabeth Panella.

According to school board President Joanna Barlow, Panella showed a video that showed students actively engaged in classes, clubs and sports programs. The presentation showed that the high school students are not only active in their school community, but they spend quite a bit of time improving and giving back to the broader community.

Panella ended her presentation by welcoming Tom Farrell as the new principal of the high school.

In other news, school district administrators are exploring the possibility of installing a photovoltaic power system (also known as solar panels) to one or more schools in the district.

Barlow explained that this system generates electrical power from the sun and could help the district to reduce energy costs by about $40,000 a year. In October 2008, administrators received a letter from the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy Program offering the district a one-time Customer On-site Renewable Energy (CORE) rebate in the amount of $334,781.

This CORE rebate is given to help school districts finance part of the cost of installing solar energy panels. Installing such a system would lead to environmental, social and economic benefits for the district and the broader community, according to Barlow. Administrators are currently exploring the possibility of going out to referendum to purchase the system.

Barlow reported that pupils at the primary school will soon have more playground equipment on their outdoor recreation area. The March 12, 2002, referendum that among other things built the primary school, has come in under budget, and the district is in the process of purchasing playground equipment with the remaining funds.

The playground expansion project included a committee of staff members and administrators who defined the goals and assessed the needs for this project. A playground company has been chosen and the board is looking forward to watching the children enjoy their new equipment in the near future, according to Barlow.

During the correspondence portion of the board meeting, Frank Gripp, the board’s secretary, read a letter from the estate of Dorothy S. Mount.

Mount was a teacher in the Plumsted School District for 38 years. She was also the principal and learning disability consultant for the New Egypt Elementary School. Mount died in November and the board was informed that she left a very generous donation to the Plumsted school libraries, Barlow said.

The board president thanked Mount’s estate and said, “Mrs. Mount’s kind donation will impact the education of our students and the future students of the Plumsted School District for years to come.”

In other news, the board recognized five New Egypt High School seniors who have each earned a $1,000 Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholarship Award. The students are Caitlin Kelleher, Andrew Konop, Lindsay Mann, Lauren Siegelski and JeffreyWills.

The next Superintendent Community Forum is scheduled for Feb. 23 from 6:30- 7:30 p.m. at the New Egypt Primary School library. Community members are encouraged to come with suggestions, comments and ideas on how the district’s administrators can continue the success of Plumsted’s schools.

The next regular meeting of the board will be held Feb. 25. Public action meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. The meetings are held at the New Egypt High School IMC. Board agendas and minutes may be accessed at (click on the Board of Education tab to access e-mail addresses, agendas and minutes).