All PM schools to conduct security drills in coming weeks

All Penn Manor schools will be conducting security drills in the coming weeks as required under a recent change in state law.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 44-2018, which requires that a mandatory security drill be conducted within the first 90 days of each school year.

Your child’s principal will be notifying parents of the drills. If you have any questions, please contact the principal’s office.

Students, parents attend ‘Careers in Construction’ event at HS

More than 40 students and parents learned about career opportunities in the construction field during a “Careers in Construction Exploration Event,” held at Penn Manor High School on Sept. 14.

Participants got to handle construction tools and safety equipment and learned about the specific trades involved in the Penn Manor High School construction project.

They also watched a presentation on virtual design and technology in construction, and learned about construction job requirements and salaries, and apprenticeship programs available to students interested in the field.

Kapil Adihikar, a Penn Manor sophomore who recently completed a construction trades pre-apprenticeship program, talked to the group about his experience.

The event, sponsored by Warfel Construction, attracted mainly students from Penn Manor but was open to any students. Students from as far away as Chambersburg and Coatesville attended.

Many thanks to Warfel for exposing students to career options in the construction field!

  • Students and parents who participated in the "Careers in Construction" event.

Manor teachers attend Energy Education conference

Two Manor Middle School science teachers are bringing lessons about energy into their classrooms after attending the 2019 Energy Conference for Educators, sponsored by the National Energy Education Development Project, over the summer.

Jennifer Ennis and Connie Jackson attended the conference in Galveston, Texas, from July 7 to 11, along with educators from as far away as Singapore, Dubai and Alaska.

Topics included renewable and nonrenewable energy resources, their development, use and impact; transportation fuels and their impact on the economy and environment; generation and transmission of electricity; the science of energy, its forms and transformations; and efficient use of energy for conservation and waste reduction.

The teachers were able to attend thanks to the generosity of Rhoads Energy Corp., a Lancaster-based HVAC and energy provider that contributed $2,500 to cover conference and travel fees. 

“It was an honor to provide this opportunity for Mrs. Ennis and Mrs. Jackson,” said Mike DeBerdine, Rhoads Energy CEO. “We appreciate their enthusiasm to learn more about the world of energy and the desire to enhance the learning experience across the Penn Manor School District.”  

Jackson said the conference gave her several ideas for lessons to incorporate into her seventh-grade life science classes this year. 

“For example, we had to design, build and test an energy-efficient home at the conference. I am going to utilize the same techniques and have students design, build and test a model of an organism’s ability to maintain a stable internal condition – temperature,” she said.

“The conference focused on the core elements of what science is – matter or energy. The whole universe can be broken down into these two basic categories.”

Ennis, who teaches eighth grade, said collaborating with teachers from around the world at the conference “was priceless.” After returning, she shared information and materials from the conference with teachers at Marticville Middle School so teachers and students there also can benefit.

As part of the conference, Ennis and Jackson received a Science of Energy Kit that will allow students to conduct hands-on explorations of different forms of energy and how they are transformed.

Many thanks to Rhoads Energy for making this valuable experience possible for our teachers!

From left, Connie Jackson and Jennifer Ennis
Connie Jackson, left, and Jennifer Ennis.

Rintz, Long honored for service to Penn Manor school board

Congratulations to school directors Carlton “Herk” Rintz and Ken Long for their combined 28 years of service to the Penn Manor school board!

At the Sept. 3 school board meeting, Rintz was honored for 16 years of service, and Long was honored for his 12 years of service to the all-volunteer board of school directors.

Karen Devine, of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, presented them with certificates of appreciation “for their long-term contributions of energy, talents and values to the guidance of youth and public education.”

Since 1983, the PSBA has been recognizing school board members who earn “honor roll” status for serving for eight years or more.

The honor roll “is a way of saying thank you to those individuals who exemplify leadership and statesmanship, giving unselfishly of their time and talents for the future of our public schools,” according to the PSBA.

Many thanks, gentlemen, for your countless hours of service to the students and staff of Penn Manor!

From left, Ken Long, Karen Devine and Herk Rintz.
From left, Ken Long, Karen Devine and Herk Rintz.

Hundreds turn out to cheer on Penn Manor teams at Kickoff Classic

Under sunny skies, hundreds of Penn Manor fans were introduced to the fall sports teams during a spirited Kickoff Classic Aug. 30 at Comet Field.

Comets fans cheered the 2019 teams and coaches and enjoyed performances by the Penn Manor Marching Unit and cheerleaders. Prior to the introductions, chicken dinners were provided by the athletes as a scholarship fundraiser.

Penn Manor varsity fall sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

The Kickoff Classic marked the debut of Penn Manor’s new athletic director, Steve Kramer, a familiar face to Comet fans — formerly known as “Trainer Steve,” Penn Manor’s longtime athletic trainer.

Also new this year is Keith Renner, head coach of the girls’ soccer team.

Online schedules for all sports teams are available on the updates Penn Manor Athletics website here.

Many thanks to the fans who came out to support our student athletes. Let’s go Comets!

  • Cheerleaders performing
    The cheerleaders entertain the crowd.

Penn Manor schools begin the 2019-2020 academic year

Penn Manor welcomed more than 5,300 students back to its schools Tuesday, Aug. 21, for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Students returned to the classrooms a bit earlier than usual and will end the year earlier — May 29, 2019, is the last day — to accommodate the $99.9 million construction and renovation project that’s in full swing at the high school.

Students at Penn Manor’s 10 schools were greeted by familiar faces, along with several new ones, as 18 new professional staff began their new year with the district, including Baron Jones, the new principal at Penn Manor High School. You can read more here.

“It was a great first day of the school year. We are happy to welcome our students and staff back for a new year,” said Dr. Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor superintendent.

“Although there have been many changes over the summer, we continue to have dedicated teachers and staff who are committed to the success of all our students.”

Many thanks to the Penn Manor staff, students, families and community members who helped make the first day such a success.

  • Letort Elementary
    Letort Elementary

Penn Manor hosts 2019-2020 Opening Day for staff

Penn Manor welcomed back more than 500 staff members for Opening Day activities at Penn Manor High School Monday, formally marking the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Students begin their academic year on Wednesday, August 21.

Teachers and staff enjoyed a hot breakfast before superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter and school board president Ken Long discussed the important role that district employees play in supporting and inspiring students.

Nikole Hollins-Sims of the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network discussed the need for educators to provide equity for all students, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds or cultural differences.

Jordan Steffy, of Children Deserve a Chance Foundation, talked about what makes Penn Manor stand out from other school districts and how it led the way in implementing Attollo, a leadership and college prep program targeting minority students, at Penn Manor High School.

Attollo has been expanded this year to include a Leadership Academy for Penn Manor sixth-graders.

The morning activities concluded with a special treat — milkshakes for all participants.

Thanks to all the staff members who attended, and best wishes on a successful 2019-2020!

  • Dr. Mike Leichliter
    Dr. Mike Leichliter talks about "the stand in the schoolhouse door," an attempt to prevent integration at the University of Alabama, in 1963.

Millersville Police Dept. donates bikes for Penn Manor students

An effort to supply bicycles to Penn Manor students in need got a major boost when the Millersville Police Department agreed to donate more than a dozen bikes to the program.

That brings the total of donated bikes to more than 40, thanks to the generosity of the police department, community members and local businesses.

The effort began earlier this summer when Wendy Letavic, English Language Development coordinator for the school district, learned that several of her students had no way to get to an English as a Second Language program in August.

Letavic sent out an email to the high school staff explaining the need for bicycles and asking for donations. That email resulted in four bikes, some of them in need of major repairs.

One of her students, Josenlly Martinez, volunteered to repair the bikes; he is now assisted by a second student, John Martinez.

Initially, 20 bikes were given mainly to high school students. As word spread, more donations came in, and bikes are now going to Penn Manor students at all grade levels.

The police department heard about the program and agreed to donate 10 to 15 bikes that were recovered in the borough but never claimed by their owners. The first group of bikes was delivered to students on Aug. 7.

“We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Millersville Borough Police Department,” said Letavic. “The bikes are being received by the students with a tremendous amount of gratitude, and hugs!”

If you would like to donate a bike or helmet, contact Wendy Letavic at or at 717-475-5906.

Many thanks to the police, businesses and community members that have made this effort such a success! 

  • Police, students and donated bikes.
    From left, student John Martinez, Lt. Jeff Margevich, Officer Jason Hottenstein and student Josenlly Martinez.

Girls’ volleyball team earns third straight national academic honor

For the third year in a row, the Penn Manor girls’ volleyball team has been named to the Academic All-American Honor Roll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The 2018 team qualified by earning a cumulative grade-point average of 3.68, which ranks among the top 25 of girls’ high school teams in the United States.

“This group put great effort into both their academics and athletics and struck a nice balance,” said head coach Tim Joyce.

The team had three student athletes who earned All-Star Awards – Shayna Warfel, Lizzy Kubicar and Jordan Schucker – and five who had GPAs of 4.0 or higher – Nikki  Krahulik, Jordan Schucker, Kailey Stoner, Justine Fry and Marilyn Keernik, an exchange student from Estonia.

“Both the academic and athletic success of this group emanated from a core group of hard-working leaders who set a great tone for our team culture,” Joyce said. “This was a really fun and rewarding team to coach, and I’m proud of how much they accomplished.”

Congratulations, ladies, on this impressive award!

Girls' volleyball team
The 2018 Penn Manor girls’ volleyball team


Penn Manor welcomes 18 new professional staff for ’19-20

Penn Manor welcomed 13 new teachers for the 2019-2020 school year during New Teacher Orientation, held Aug. 6 and 7 at Manor Middle School.

In all, 18 new teachers and other professional staff members have been hired for the coming year. The new hires, pending school board approval, include:

Penn Manor High School
Alexis Carson, art teacher; Lauren McFall, learning support/English teacher; Meghan McMurtrie, emotional support teacher; Kierstin McQuate, learning support teacher; Cassandra Waterman, learning support/math teacher; Keila Torres, social worker; and Baron Jones, principal.

Hambright Elementary
Kelly Pruitt, fifth-grade teacher; and Jomaris Rivera, kindergarten teacher.

Central Manor Elementary
Emily Compton, art teacher; and Lorena Glenn, kindergarten teacher.

Marticville Middle School
Laura Bitts, math teacher; and Leesa McAnally, academic support teacher.

Pequea Elementary
Krista Eby, grade four teacher; Eric Sarra, sixth-grade teacher; and Kimberly Stively, learning support teacher.

Steve Kramer, athletic director; and Rachel Bixler, behavioral consultant.

To all new staff members, welcome to the Penn Manor family, and best wishes for the 2019-2020 school year!

  • Group shot of new teachers
    From left, Jomaris Rivera, Kelly Pruitt, Luara Bitts, Eric Sarra, Kierstin McQuate, John Capik, Leesa McAnally, Alexis Carson, Meghan McMurtrie, Lauren McFall, Cassandra Waterman, Lorena Glenn, Emily Compton, Kimberly Stively.

Parking changes announced for Aug. 8 HS orientation

Parents and students: Please note a change in New Student Orientation, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Penn Manor High School.

Please enter the campus via Cottage Avenue, follow the main driveway, and enter the high school through the cafeteria entrance. Parking is available in the lot outside the cafeteria and/or along the main driveway.

Please note: Students may pick up their laptops prior to orientation from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in Room 200.

We look forward to seeing students and parents on Aug. 8.

Penn Manor resumes five-day work week

All Penn Manor schools and offices have returned to a five-day-a-week work schedule.

District office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Penn Manor High School office is open from 7:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; and Marticville and Manor middle schools are open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Elementary schools are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please call the office before visiting a school.

Here are the school phone numbers:

Central Manor ES– (717) 872-1401
Conestoga ES — (717) 872-9535
Eshleman ES — (717) 872-9540
Hambright ES — (717) 872-9503
Letort ES — (717) 872-9530
Martic ES — (717) 284-4128
Pequea ES — (717) 464-3831
High School –(717) 872-9520
Marticville MS — (717) 284-4135
Manor MS — (717) 872-9510
District Office — (717) 872-9500

Head Start preschool program has openings for 2019-2020

Head Start’s preschool program has openings at Millersville University and Martic Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year.

The program is for children up to age 5 whose families meet income eligibility guidelines. Homeless children, foster children and families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) funds for disabilities are eligible, regardless of family income.

Head Start provides early childhood education that emphasizes language, math, science, art, physical activity and social skills to prepare children for school success. Special services are available to ensure that all children can fully participate in the program.

Head Start also offers family support services, nutritious meals and health screenings.

To learn more about the program, including income eligibility guidelines, click here.

(Head Start operates independently of Penn Manor School District.)

‘Careers in Construction’ event to be held at HS Sept. 14

Penn Manor and Warfel Construction are hosting a “Careers in Construction Exploration Event” for parents and students Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Penn Manor High School construction site.

Participants will tour the site and learn about construction careers, including carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, project managers, virtual design coordinators, drone pilots and construction superintendents.

The event is open to any student in grades 7 to 12, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The deadline to register is Sept. 9. To register, click here

High School project creates unique learning opportunities for students

For Penn Manor High School students and staff, the massive construction project that began this past year at the school brought parking restrictions, relocated classrooms and the constant din of heavy equipment just outside classrooms and offices.

But it also provided opportunities for students to learn about real-world math, engineering and design applications, study the life cycle of trees and explore career options in the construction field.

Partnership for learning

A partnership between Warfel Construction, the project manager, and the district resulted in several learning opportunities.

Math students learned how construction workers and surveyors use trigonometry and algebra in the field. Agricultural Mechanics students learned about the inner workings of a temporary ag shop as it was being built, and Plant Science students got to examine the rings of a tree cut down as part of the project.

Warfel Construction also established an internship that enabled one student to attend weekly construction meetings and visit on-site work, and groups of students got to tour the construction site and learn about the excavating, plumbing, drywall, technology and other trades represented by the workers they observed.

“When there’s a construction site in your back yard, you take advantage of the valuable career exploration for your students,” said Michelle Wagner, support and transition teacher at the school. “This fits into our goal of transition and preparing students for life after high school.”

Experts in the classroom

Staff from Warfel and Boro Construction, the electrical contractor on the project, visited three of math teacher Gary Luft’s classes in April and May to talk about their roles in the project.

“The students were given an overview and the phasing of the total construction project, as well as an explanation of what was currently being done on site,” Luft said. “I think it was very beneficial for the students to hear from the experts in the field.”

Meagan Slates’ Plant Science class got to examine the remains of a giant tree cut down during construction as part of a “Tree of Life” lab.

Students counted the tree stump’s growth rings to estimate the age of the tree — more than 50 years — and then compared it to the tree they were studying in the lab.

“What is cool about this lab is that we had climate data from the Pacific Northwest that dated back to 1960 from the original lab we were working on, so we were able to use that data and the tree that was removed to estimate the growing season here in Pennsylvania,” Slates said.

“This was a great experience, and I’m so thankful that Warfel and the Penn Manor administration were so open to sharing these experiences with our students.”

‘Demystifying’ the industry

The interactions were designed to help “demystify” the construction field, said Warfel project engineer Kevin McGuire.

“We want to involve the students and then turn that into a discussion about what they plan to do in the future. What’s going on outside the window, and how could that involve you?” he said. “We need more conversations like that in the education field.”

Penn Manor is partnering with Warfel to host a “Careers in Construction Exploration Event” that includes a tour of the project and information about construction careers on Sept. 14. Learn more here.

McGuire said he hopes to continue the collaboration as the construction project progresses over the next two years.

Many thanks to Warfel and the Penn Manor teachers who helped make these unique opportunities possible for our students!

  • Students touring construction site.
    A construction foreman explains the work being done at the high school to a group of students.