Sports practices resume, with new safeguards in place

For the first time in months, Penn Manor student athletes are back on the practice fields.

Team workouts began Wednesday morning for the girls’ and boys’ soccer, cross country and football teams, with new protocols in place as required under the school district’s COVID-19 athletic health and safety plan.

All coaches and athletes are being screened for virus symptoms via temperature checks and questionnaires before each practice session, and student athletes are being placed into “workout pods” to maintain social distancing.

Practices are currently limited to strength, conditioning and individual, no-contact drills, and all athletic gear and equipment is subject to more frequent and more stringent cleaning procedures. In addition, students cannot share water bottles, towels or athletic attire.

Prior to the start of practices, all Penn Manor coaches and athletics staff members were trained on screening and sanitation procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You can find full details on the athletic health and safety plan here.

Practices for other fall sports will soon be resuming, including girls’ tennis and volleyball, field hockey and golf.

While practices may get under way, all schools across Pennsylvania are currently awaiting guidance from the PIAA on what the fall season games, meets, and matches will look like.

Go Comets!

  • Football drill
    Football players participate in a drill.

Latest update on Penn Manor’s plans for the 2020-2021 school year

Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter has sent an email to parents to update them on the latest plans to resume in-person schooling for the 2020-2021 school year on August 31. Here is the text of his email:

June 30, 2020

Dear Penn Manor Families,

Since the 2019-2020 school year ended, Penn Manor School District has been spending this time preparing for the start of the 2020-2021 year. Many thanks to the parents who responded to the survey regarding the reopening of school that was sent out earlier this month. We received nearly 2,900 responses, which has provided the district with valuable feedback.

The survey responses are helping guide our work with a committee of administrators, teachers, the school physician, school nurses, and parent/community representatives that has been developing a reopening plan required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The “Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan” will have three required components relating to the green, yellow and red phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. Currently, Lancaster County is in the green phase, but that may change before or during the school year, and we must be prepared should that happen. The plan will be presented to the Penn Manor School Board on July 13 for approval before it can be implemented. The school board has already approved a health and safety plan for athletics, which can be found here.

It is our full intention to physically return students to school buildings in the fall in a safe manner. While the school board has not yet approved the plan, it includes social distancing practices, health screenings, reduced student movement through buildings, enhanced cleaning protocols with green products, and other measures recommended by health professionals for safely resuming in-person teaching. As part of the plan, teachers and staff would be required to wear face masks and/or shields, and students would be strongly encouraged to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, including on buses, in hallways, and in common areas.

The full details of the “Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan” will be shared with the community following the July 13 school board meeting.

For parents who may not be comfortable with sending their child(ren) to school, the Penn Manor Virtual School program will be available for grades K through 12. The program, which has been successfully operating since 2011 for grades 7 through 12, is being expanded to a full-time elementary program for 2020-2021, pending approval from the school board.

I’d also like to update you on the status of the Penn Manor High School construction project, which is progressing as planned. The first phase is on schedule for completion by the start of school on August 31, when the new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) wing will be ready for students and teachers. More information on the high school project, including access to the live construction camera, is available at https://construction.pennmanor.net/.

To keep you informed, we will continue to provide periodic updates about the 2020-2021 school year throughout the summer. You can expect to receive an update via email (also posted on the district website) on July 20 and August 3. If additional information comes to light that should be shared with families, we will provide more updates through the same methods.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter.

Sincerely,

Michael G. Leichliter, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Congratulations to Penn Manor’s 2020 retirees and longtime employees

Penn Manor would like to recognize the 13 Penn Manor employees who are retiring this year after their nearly 300 cumulative years of service to our students, staff and community!

This year’s retirees are Kathy Ashworth and Carol Purzycki (Central Manor); Rebecca Cotich, Sherilyn Hess and Barry Geyer (Manor Middle); JoLynn Drexel (Pequea); Deb Falk (Conestoga); Jodie Henderson and Dani Myers (PMHS); Candy Steiner and Richard Kilby (Martic); and Tom Wainman and Beth Wagner (Hambright).

We’d also like to recognize the Penn Manor employees who this year completed 20 or more years of service. They are:

35 years: Patti Duff, Marie Duke, Sherlyn Hess and Beth Wagner.

30 years: Bob Chambers, Mary Kay Fair, Beth Kaplan, Stacey McElheny, Sarah Repkoe, Kelly Sproul and Joyce Wright.

25 years: Kimberly Frey, Beth Martin, Melissa Mintzer, Dani Myers, Dave Ohl, PJ Peters, Heather Piatt, Tammy Rote, Mindy Swope, Kim Weit, Tara Wilson, and Bill Yarnell.

20 years: Jill Albert, Diana Alston, Dottie Bleacher, Trasee Bleacher, Tammy Bricker, Michelle Brooks, Neil Fellenbaum, Phil Gale, Jaime Gehres, Deb Gerlach, Jason, Hottenstein, Connie Jackson, Jen Kroesen, Wendy Letavic, Jim McGlynn, Janet Ochs, Lori Orihuel and Candy Steiner.

Unfortnately, we were unable to honor these employees in person this year when our employee recognition dinner was canceled.

We thank them all for their service to our students and staff, and send best wishes to our retirees as they begin this new chapter of their lives!

  • sherlyn wolf
    Sherlyn Wolf

PM school board approves recommendations for resuming sports

The Penn Manor school board has approved recommendations for safely allowing student athletes to resume participation in athletics for the 2020-2021 school year.

You can view the PMSD Return-to-Play Recommendations document here.

The plan will permit the resumption of practices and games/contests based on guidance from federal, state and local governments, the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, the PIAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

Before Penn Manor can resume any formal practices for fall sports, the coaching and athletic staff must complete training on how to screen athletes and staff for symptoms of COVID-19. Personal protective equipment, thermometers and cleaning supplies also must be available before formal practices may resume.

The athletic department expects to have the training completed and materials in place by early July, but no official start date for formal practices has been established at this time.

It also is unclear what athletic competitions will look like if/when they resume. That will depend on the type of sport and “Phase of Participation” designation for Lancaster County, as determined by the PIAA and state and local government officials.

Currently, Lancaster County is in “Phase 2 Yellow,” which prohibits gatherings of more than 25 individuals, including coaches, athletes and spectators, and permits only controlled, non-contact practices for all sports.

Exactly which sports Penn Manor will be permitted to resume in 2020-2021 will depend on the “Phase of Participation” designation for the county moving forward. If the county progresses from Phase 2 to Phase 3 or 4, fewer athletic restrictions would be in place.

Those details are spelled out in the Return-to-Play document. 

In the coming weeks, the coaching staff will keep athletes and parents informed of the status of practices and competitions. Questions about specific sports should be directed to coaches.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to assure that Penn Manor can resume its athletic programs as safely as possible.

School board to hold virtual meeting Monday, June 15

The Penn Manor board of school directors will hold a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 15.

A link to the school board meeting can be found here. The agenda can be found here.

Anyone who would like to submit a public comment to the board is asked to do so via email to Cindy Rhoades at cindy.rhoades@pennmanor.net by noon Monday, June 15.

Old high school desks donated to schools in Honduras

Old desks from Penn Manor High School will soon be headed to schools in Central America.

Penn Manor has partnered with Central American Relief Efforts (CARE) to donate more than 1,000 desks from the high school to the Lancaster-based nonprofit group, which builds schools in impoverished areas of Honduras.

The desks, scheduled for replacement as part of the high school construction project, have little or no value on the resale market, and the district would have to pay someone to remove and store them. By donating them to CARE, Penn Manor is assuring they will be put to good use in one of the poorest regions of one of Central America’s poorest countries.

The desks were being loaded into shipping containers at the high school the week of June 8 and are expected to head to Honduras within the next three to four weeks.

This marks the fifth time Penn Manor has donated desks, chairs and other furniture to CARE for schools in Central America.

The partnership began nine years ago when used furniture from Central Manor Elementary School was donated to a school in La Laguna de San Antonio de Padua, Honduras.

In 2015, Penn Manor donated old desks, chairs and cabinets from Pequea Elementary and the old Hambright Elementary for schools in Javier Soriano.

The following year, old desks, chairs, cabinets, chalkboards and other fixtures from Conestoga Elementary School were donated to CARE.

“Penn Manor has been a consistent generous donor,” said Andrew Appel, executive director of CARE. “And this is by far the largest donation we’ve received. There are going to be a lot of happy kids in Honduras.”

Many thanks to all those who made this donation possible.

374 seniors receive diplomas in virtual commencement ceremony

Members of the Penn Manor Class of 2020 received their diplomas in a virtual commencement ceremony that was broadcast live May 28 and is now available for viewing.

The video presentation includes a slideshow of the graduates listing their future plans, the formal ceremony, and shout-outs to teachers, family and friends. You can view the videos here.

High school principal Baron Jones, in his video address to the audience, celebrated the many accomplishments of the 374 graduates, including state and national recognition in academics, technology, agriculture, the performing arts and athletics.

He pointed out that about 74 percent of graduates plan to further their studies, and 21 graduates will enter the military. Members of the Class of 2020 received 156 local scholarships and awards totaling nearly $100,000, in addition to outside scholarships.

Four students addressed the audience, including valedictorian Ryan Dang, class president Tim Hermansen, Hannah Smith and Isaac Leshok. The salutatorian was Alex Roth.

During the ceremony, Kaden Peart was named Student of the Year, as selected by the faculty.

The ceremony was the first one for Mr. Jones, who took the reins as principal over the summer. It also was the first virtual commencement in Penn Manor’s history.

Thanks to the efforts of one of the graduates, Alex Detter, photos of every senior who participated in the ceremony are available for download here.

Congratulations to members of the Class of 2020, and best wishes as you embark on the next chapter of your lives!

  • Ryan Dang
    Ryan Dang

Penn Manor to keep parents updated on status of 2020-2021 school year

Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter sent out an email this morning explaining how we will keep parents updated on what the 2020-2021 school year might look like. Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Penn Manor Families,

Today marks the end of the 2019-2020 school year, which presented more challenges than any year I can recall in my 29 years in public education. When Governor Wolf ordered all schools to close, effective March 16, it forced us to quickly move to an online platform to ensure the continuity of learning for all our students. I’d like to personally thank parents for the encouragement, patience, and grace you have exhibited in helping your child adapt to this new learning environment during very challenging circumstances.

As we look toward next school year, I want to keep you updated on plans to return students to our schools in as safe a manner as possible. The 2020-2021 school year is scheduled to begin on August 31, and while we don’t know exactly what that will look like, we have mapped out three possibilities: a full return of all students to school buildings, a hybrid onsite/online schedule with reduced building occupancy, and a full virtual schedule. We believe this last option is the least desirable of the three. 

There are still many unknowns. We are awaiting definitive guidance from the Pennsylvania Departments of both Health and Education on the specific recommendations for keeping students and adults safe that will impact our plans. We hope that there will be some local decision-making permitted so that we can tailor the return to school to meet the unique needs of Penn Manor. 

To guide our decision-making, we have assembled a planning group that includes our assistant director of student support services, the school physician, school nurses, the transportation and food services directors, and others to help plan a return to school that focuses on safety for students, faculty, and staff members.

To keep you informed, we will provide periodic updates throughout the summer as we learn more specifics about what the 2020-2021 school year will look like. You can expect to receive an update via email (also posted on the district website) on June 30, July 20, and August 3. If additional information comes to light that should be shared with families, we will provide more updates through the same methods. We are eager to share these details as soon as we have more clarity on the new school year.

Thank you again for all of your support during these challenging days. It is a privilege to work in Penn Manor with wonderful students, staff and families. We wish you the best for a safe and restful summer.

Sincerely,

Michael G. Leichliter, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Commencement video presentation airs tonight

Tune in tonight to see members of the Class of 2020 get their diplomas and celebrate with families to mark the end of their high school careers!

The commencement celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. with a slideshow of seniors listing their plans for the future. You can view that here.

The formal commencement ceremony, including speeches by four students and the presentation of diplomas, begins at 7 p.m. You can view that here.

At 8:30 p.m., the seniors will turn their tassels and give shout-outs to family, friends and teachers. You can view that here.

You can watch all three, back to back, by clicking here.

After the videos have aired in their entirety, you will be able to skip forward or backward to see specific sections. Students were filmed by last name in alphabetical order.

Many thanks to Penguin Productions for capturing these memories. We hope you enjoy the presentation!

Class of 2020 receives 156 local scholarships/awards

Penn Manor High School seniors got a boost to their post-high school plans when members of the Class of 2020 received 156 local scholarships and awards totaling nearly $100,000 during the Senior Awards Ceremony, which was streamed May 21.

The honors included $75,000 in scholarships awarded to 75 seniors through Penn Manor Education Foundation. Many thanks to the Penn Manor community members, organizations and businesses that contributed to all of these local awards.

The seniors also earned outside scholarships and financial aid to continue their education after graduation.

The top recipients of Penn Manor academic scholarships/awards were Rachel Collison, with seven awards; Ashley Seiger and Kaden Peart, with five awards each; and Stephen Marquette and Catherine McMahan, with four awards each.

Congratulations to all the seniors who earned awards, and best wishes on your future endeavors!

Here is a copy of the awards program. You can search this list by students’ names. To watch the awards ceremony, click here.

  • Rachel Collison
    Rachel Collison

PMHS seniors honored with more than 40 athletic awards

Penn Manor High School senior athletes were honored during a virtual awards ceremony that aired May 20. You can watch the awards presentations here. The full list of awards is available here.

In all, more than 40 awards were presented, including Coach of the Year to Brandon Vernalli (wrestling) and Assistant Coach of the Year to Denise “Gobie” Gobrecht (field hockey).

The top awards went to:

  • Penn Manor All Around Male/ Female Athlete (multi-sport)    Nicholas Baker (football, wrestling and lacrosse) and Anna May Barbusca (field hockey and lacrosse).
  • Penn Manor Outstanding Male/ Female Athlete (single sport) Ethan Hine (basketball) and Tiana Edwards (field hockey)
  • Penn Manor Coaches Association Scholarships — Aaron Gale, Abigail Overmyer, Anna May Barbusca, Catherine McMahon, Joshua Gibson, Kailey Stoner, Madison Henry and Kyle Ament.

Here’s what their coaches had to say about these student athletes:

Nicholas Baker displayed his talent on the football field and wrestling mat. This spring, he was set to become a three-sport athlete as he was a member of our boys’ lacrosse team.

Over the course of four years, Nick compiled an overall wrestling record of 113-46. He was a two-time PIAA state qualifier and a state place finisher, finishing sixth in 2020. During Nick’s senior year, he won the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championship, the PIAA AAA Section 2 Tournament, and the PIAA District 3 AAA Tournament.

Nick has great leadership skills that he was able to put to use in athletics. He was a great warrior on the football field. He unselfishly changed positions his senior year to help the team. After scoring very high on his ASVAB tests he has decided to join the United States Navy.

Anna May Barbusca excelled in both field hockey and lacrosse at Penn Manor. Anna May is one of the hardest-working, most skillful field hockey players in the area. 

Her inner drive and relentless competitiveness are unparalleled.  Anna May is the perfect example of “how you practice is how you play.” She gave her best at every practice and every game throughout her career. 

She will play field hockey at Lock Haven University.

Ethan Hine is a disciplined, self-motivated young man.  His drive and dedication to his development as a basketball player serves as a model for all members of the basketball program. 

His daily ball handling and shooting workouts helped Ethan develop into one of the most explosive, dangerous scorers in the Lancaster-Lebanon League this past season. Ethan earned the following recognitions:  Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1 First Team All-Star,  Coaches’ Association Senior All-Star, and a PennLive Big 15 team honorable mention. 

Ethan will be attending Lancaster Bible College to continue his basketball career.

Tiana Edwards became a terrific field hockey player who has the keen understanding of when to defend and when to attack.  Her strength and skills were widely well known and respected by her competitors.

Tiana has an imposing influence on the field with her strength, speed and skills.  She will be playing field hockey at Millersville University in the fall.

Aaron Gale excelled on the football and baseball fields during his four years at Penn Manor. He was a leader on and off the field, and he earned the respect of his teammates, coaches, and opponents.

Aaron will be attending McDaniel College in the fall.

Abigail Overmyer has been a four-year softball player for Penn Manor and was on the varsity team her junior and senior seasons.

Abby was a great ambassador for softball. She showed extreme dedication to the program and helped Little League players during the team’s winter open gyms. 

She was dedicated to improving her skills and always giving her best. Abigail will be attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in the W.E.T (Water Environmental Technologies) Program next year.

Catherine McMahon was a member of the girls’ tennis and track and field teams, lettering in both. She was also a member of Serteen/Civitas, National Honor Society, Penn Manor Orchestra and Aevidium.

Catherine will be attending Elizabethtown College in the fall.

Joshua Gibson was voted a team captain for the football team his junior and senior years. He led the team in tackles and offensive output over the past two seasons and was a two-time first team L-L all star on defense.

Josh also excelled in throwing the javelin in track and field and scoring points on the track in various running events.

He will attend Muhlenberg College to pursue environmental studies and play football.

Kailey Stoner  was a multi-sport athlete in swimming and volleyball. She worked hard to make herself a valuable member of both teams.

Kailey earned a starting role for the last two seasons in volleyball, playing two different positions, and was a three-time L-L League qualifier this year for the swim team.

She will be attending Messiah College to study nursing.

Madison Henry was a four-year member of the volleyball team and played volleyball with Penn Manor since sixth grade.

She was a varsity starter for the last two years and was an L-L League All-Star this season. Maddie overcame several significant injuries in her career and became known for her relentless play and positive attitude, making her a 2019 senior captain.

She will continue her playing career at Elizabethtown College.

Kyle Ament was a four-year member (three years on varsity) of the soccer team and was named a captain his senior year.

He set such a great example for others to follow, and his leadership, work ethic and character earned him a place on the L-L All Star Second Team and the Penn Manor Coach’s Award.

He will be attending Elizabethtown College next year.

  • Nicholas Baker
    Nicholas Baker

Five selected to represent Class of 2020 at commencement

    Five seniors have been selected to represent Penn Manor High School’s Class of 2020 at commencement, which will be aired online on May 28. The students are Ryan Dang, class valedictorian; Alex Roth, salutatorian; Tim Hermansen, 2020 class president; Hannah Smith; and Isaac Leshok.

   Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony will be Penn Manor’s first virtual commencement.

    All members of the Class of 2020 are being filmed at Comet Field receiving their diplomas and celebrating with family members. The students also have the opportunity to thank their teachers, families and coaches and get photos with family members.

   The footage, including speeches by Ryan, Tim, Hannah and Isaac, will be combined into a video that will debut on the night of commencement, May 28. Please check back for a link to the ceremony.

Ryan Dang is the son of Lieu Dang and Minh Dinh of Lancaster. At Penn Manor, he participated in National Honor Society, Rocket Club, the soccer team and the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science (TEAMS) club. Ryan plans to pursue a degree in computer science at Penn State University.

Alex Roth is the son of Sara and Timothy C. Roth II of Pequea. He was an AP Chemistry peer tutor and teaching assistant at Penn Manor. Outside of high school, he worked as an independent researcher at Franklin & Marshall College and as a field technician conducting research on the migration patterns of turtles and birds. Alex has been admitted to Colby College and plans to study chemistry.

Isaac Leshok is the son of Dana and John Leshok of Conestoga. He participated in the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Technology Student Association, Tests of Engineering, Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS), Rocket Club, the Penn Manor Esports Team, Quiz Bowl and Serteen. Isaac plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia.

Hannah Smith is the daughter of Hugh and Ann Smith of Millersville. She participated in National Honor Society, Tests of Engineering, Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS), Civitas, the girls’ varsity tennis team and the Technology Student Association. Hannah plans to major in chemical engineering at Bucknell University.

Timothy Hermansen is the son of Christian and Heather Hermansen of Manor Township. He participated in varsity baseball and basketball, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America and the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy. Timothy plans to study accounting at Geneva College.

Congratulations to these students for representing the Class of 2020 so well!

  • Ryan Dang
    Ryan Dang

Pequea’s Raff named PA Teacher of Year finalist

For the second time in two years, Penn Manor has a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalist!

Elizabeth Raff, who teaches sixth grade at Pequea Elementary School, was named one of just 12 finalist for the state honor for 2021.

Raff was nominated by two previous Teacher of the Year nominees, Jeff Kuntz of Punxsutawney, and Maria Vita, who teaches psychology at Penn Manor High School and was a finalist for the 2019 award.

“It is truly an honor and a humbling experience to become a finalist for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year,” said Raff, who has taught at Pequea since 2014. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share my passion and enthusiasm for education!”

“None of this would be possible without the leadership and support from my administrators and fellow teachers,” she said.

In a letter of recommendation to the review committee, parent Marlisa Thomas had high praise for her daughter’s former teacher.

“Our family is so grateful that our daughter, Stella, found a place in Mrs. Raff’s unique sixth-grade classroom. She was nurtured each day and challenged to grow and succeed, not just academically, but in her awareness and maturity.”

Raff’s classroom is decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme and features a large library with books in every genre, as well as a raised stage where students can present poetry, book reports and original music to the entire class. Raff encourages movement among her students and leads them through physical exercises that help them understand parts of speech, literary conventions and other lessons.

“Whether she was engaged in conversations about our current political climate, building a bat house, chanting the parts of a story, dancing, singing, drawing with erasable markers on her desk, finding her way through a spy laser maze, or participating in a ‘book tasting’ … my daughter was consistently engaged in kind and respectful dialogue around important issues and the value of learning from each other,” Thomas said in her letter.

Raff taught in Philadelphia for two years before joining the Pequea staff. She  graduated from Messiah College with a degree in elementary education and completed her master’s degree in curriculum & instruction from Penn State University. She is currently pursuing her principal certification through Penn State.

Elizabeth lives in Lancaster Township with her husband, Jeremy, and their son, Owen.

The 2021 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year will be named in the fall.

Congratulations to Mrs. Raff on this well-deserved honor!

You can read an interview with Mrs. Raff on LancasterOnline here.

  • Elizabeth Raff's class
    Elizabeth Raff and her class, in a selfie during a lesson on text structures.

Many thanks to our dedicated teachers and staff!

The Penn Manor administration and board of school directors would like to recognize the contributions of our teachers and staff as we celebrate National Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week May 4-9.

Our teachers, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, aides and other support staff have truly exceled in response to the unprecedented challenges of the current school closure and quarantine, and we couldn’t be more appreciative.

“The last six weeks have presented many challenges for all of us, but every member of the faculty and staff has risen to the occasion,” said Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor superintendent. “I have never been more proud of you and the work you do for our students and families!”

Please enjoy the slide show below from our school board directors and join us in celebrating our teachers and staff this week.

  • Herk Rintz


National Teacher of Year inspires Penn Manor staff

Nearly 600 Penn Manor teachers, adminstrators and staff were inspired by the words of Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, as he discussed issues of equity during a live-streamed presentation April 24.

During his hour-long talk, Robinson discussed the need for both economic and cultural equity in classrooms and how teachers first must get to know their students before any real learning can begin.

“Kids do not care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Robinson, a 19-year veteran social studies teacher who recently taught at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond, Va., Juvenile Detention Center.

Robinson talked about how staff members strive to make the center look and feel like a regular school, with inspirational quotes and college banners on the walls – even though it’s located inside a juvenile prison. And students are treated as teenagers, not criminals.

 “Never assume anything about your kids,” he said. “Each student is different, and a good teacher always gives the students love and what they need, not what is equal.”

Robinson also discussed how the vast disparities in discipline in America’s schools are feeding the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately impacts students of color.

“Being culturally responsive to your students is not teaching based on stereotypes, but teaching based on relationships and getting to know your students’ interests, history, and cultural norms,” he said.

Robinson’s talk was timely, as Penn Manor School District has made economic and educational equity for all students its top priority the past two years, according to Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter.

“Rodney’s reminder that ‘every child deserves the proper amount of love to get what he or she needs’ is so important, especially in the midst of our current national emergency,” Leichliter said.

“Mr. Robinson reminded us that the single most impactful way a teacher can help a student is to start by getting to know that child as a person. Everything else is secondary.”

Many thanks to Rodney for taking the time to deliver such an inspirational talk to our staff!

Rodney Robinson