Birch named Manor Middle School assistant principal

Jerrell Birch, a former Penn Manor elementary school teacher, has been named assistant principal of Manor Middle School.

Jerrell is returning to Penn Manor after serving as assistant principal at Stony Brook Elementary School in York. He began his teaching career in 2012 at Hambright Elementary before moving to Central Manor, where he taught fifth grade until 2020.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2011 from Millersville University, Jerrell received his master’s degree in education from MU in 2018.

He replaces Dr. Scott Keddie, the new principal of Conestoga Elementary School, who had served as Manor’s assistant principal since 2006.

“I’m certain that Jerrell will have a positive impact on teaching and learning at Manor Middle School in the coming years,” said Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor superintendent.

Welcome, Jerrell, to your new role at Manor Middle.

Girls’ volleyball team named to Academic Award Honor Roll

For the fifth year in a row, the Penn Manor girls’ varsity volleyball team has earned the United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.

The team also was named to the Team Academic Award Honor Roll for earning a cumulative grade-point average that was among the top 20 percent of all girls’ high school teams in America in 2020-2021.

Nine of 13 Penn Manor players earned GPAs of 4.0 or higher – Natalie Krahulik, Jordan Schucker, Nicole Lapp, Sophia Millhouse, Cassidy McCollum, Brienna Reinike, Emma Saylor, Alyssa Heagy and Kylie Mattern.

Natalie, a junior, had the highest GPA, at 5.18; and Jordan, the team captain, earned a GPA of 5.0 and was named Salutatorian of the 2021 Penn Manor graduating class.

Other varsity team members included Lexington Sangrey, Payton Sanchez, Madison Trout and Lillian Barton.

Head coach Tim Joyce said the 2020 team was “mentally tough.”

“They not only persevered through the conditions of a pandemic, but they trained their entire preseason outside without a gym due to high school construction,” he said.

“When the school year started, they navigated a variety of changing educational circumstances and formats and still achieved tremendous academic success. This squad was truly admirable.”

Congratulations, ladies, on this tremendous award, and thank you to all the Penn Manor teachers and coaches who helped make this possible.

2020 Penn Manor girls’ varsity volleyball team

Loft Community Partnership seeking donations of school supplies, clothing

The 2021-2022 school year is rapidly approaching, and Loft Community Partnership is collecting clothing, backpacks and other school supplies for families who need assistance in obtaining these items for their children.

Donations of school supplies and gently used children’s clothing may be collected by individuals, churches, businesses and other organizations and dropped off at the Loft, located behind St. Paul Lutheran Church, 222 N. George Street, Millersville 17551.

Access is from High School Avenue. Items may be dropped off at the tan donation shed under the trees, beside the brick building next to the parking lot. In addition, arrangements can be made to have the Loft pick up the items.

Here is a list of supplies that Penn Manor teachers have requested for the coming year.

Financial donations also are being accepted via the “donate” button on the Loft website or by mail at The Loft CP, P.O. Box 115, Millersville, PA 17551. Please make a note on your email or check that the money is for school supplies.

For more information, call 717-723-8180 or email the Loft at

New state law allows students to repeat a grade in 2021-2022

As a result of the pandemic, students have a new option of repeating a grade in the 2021-2022 school year.

Pennsylvania Act 66, signed into law on June 30, 2021, permits students who were enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year to repeat their grade level to make up for lost educational opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the student met the requirements to be promoted to the next grade.

Act 66 stipulates that parents/guardians and students 18 or older have until July 15, 2021, to request that they or their child repeat a grade for the 2021-2022 school year.

Act 66 also permits a student with a disability who was enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year and turned age 21 during or after the close of last school year to attend school during 2021-2022 and receive the services outlined in their most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP), with all the protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Parents or students who want to take advantage of the provisions of ACT 66 must fill out a Student Grade Level Retainment Notification Form and submit it to Penn Manor School District by July 15, 2021. Forms should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in the Penn Manor School District Office, P.O. Box 1001, Millersville, PA 17551.

You can download the form here.

Please note that students 18 or older who plan to repeat a grade during the 2021-2022 school year must complete and submit their own form. For a student with a disability who turned 21 during the time periods listed above, both the parent/guardian and the student must complete the form.

Additional guidance and answers to frequently asked questions about Act 66 are available here.

Testing finds no problems with lead in water systems at PM schools

Water testing recently completed at all 10 Penn Manor schools indicates there are no problems with lead in drinking water supplies at any district school.

The testing, completed in May 2021 by Suburban Testing Labs, did not find any drinking water supplies that exceeded the lead “action level” of 0.015 milligrams per liter of water at any schools. The vast majority of samples showed less than 0.001 mg/L of lead in water supplies at our schools.

Water systems that exceed the action level, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, must take further steps to reduce the lead content in water.

Here are the results of the most recent water tests:
Central Manor Elementary
Conestoga Elementary
Eshleman Elementary
Hambright Elementary
LeTort Elementary
Manor Middle
Martic Elementary
Marticville Elementary
Penn Manor HS
Pequea Elementary

Manor FFA members bring home awards in state competition

Several Manor FFA teams and individuals were named state champions and earned other honors at the recent FFA State Convention and Activities Week.

The Poultry Evaluation Team was named state champions and will compete at The National FFA Convention and Expo in October. Members are Cary Railing (1st place individual), Molly Gehr (2nd place individual), Leah Hess and Jeanette Kneisley. 

Other poultry evaluation winners included Elisabeth Strickler (3rd place individual), Jenna Smith, Olivia Malpica, Kayla Frey and Katie Moyer.  

The Livestock Evaluation Team of Emma French, Chloe Perry, Logan Broderick and Zeke Smith placed 2nd in the state. 

The Agronomy Team of Micah Frey, Ashlyn Rohrer, Berklee Perry and Morgan Harnish placed 2nd in the state. In addition, Laurel Barley competed as an individual.

The Horse Evaluation Team of Jackie Nachmias, Caroline Shenk, Bobbie Ditzler and Julie Shirk placed 4th in the state, and Jackie placed first in the individual competition. 

In addition, two Manor FFA students earned State Proficiency Awards – Morgan Harnish in Diversified Horticulture and Sarah Bleacher in Ag Sales Placement. The awards focus on students’ learning and growth in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences.

They now will be eligible for national competition.

Congratulations to these students for representing Manor FFA and Penn Manor so well.

  • Horse Evaluation Team members
    Horse Evaluation Team members, from left, Caroline Shenk, Jackie Nachmias and Bobbie Ditzler.

Conestoga hosts cereal box domino event to benefit local food banks

Conestoga Elementary School ended the year with an outdoor activity that gave the entire school something to celebrate, while helping the community.

On June 1, Conestoga held a Cereal Box Domino Challenge as students lined up 372 boxes of cereal throughout the playground area. On cue, teacher Lori Graham tipped over the first box, and the whole school watched and cheered as the cereal box “train” snaked along, knocking over one box after another.

The unopened boxes of cereal, which were donated by the school community, were then gathered up and given to the Loft Community Partnership and Conestoga Food Bank.

Beth Corl, a reading specialist at the school, got the idea for the cereal box challenge after seeing a video post about a similar event at a school in Michigan.

“The kids missed a lot of the ‘fun’ things we usually do towards the end of the school year because of the pandemic, including track and field day and field trips, and I thought this would be something for them to look forward to but also work towards,” she said.

“We looked at it as an exercise in kindness and helping people in our community.”

Conestoga students, staff and family members donated the cereal throughout the month of May. Corl posted a running total of the number of boxes collected in the school lobby to inspire the students, and she enlisted 15 fifth-graders to help set up the event and make sure it ran smoothly.

They kept watch to make sure the boxes didn’t blow over and stepped in to assist when the domino train hit a snag. You can watch the event here.

Many thanks to the Conestoga community for your creative show of kindness!

  • Cereal box dominoes event at Conestoga Elementary

Central Manor bus driver honored for 41 years behind the wheel

Central Manor Elementary School recently honored its longtime bus driver, Ella Sensenig, who retired after 41 years behind the wheel.

There were plenty of hugs and tears when Ella completed her final run on June 4. Two days earlier, the school presented her with a banner made by students that read “We Will Miss You Ella!”

Sensenig also received flowers and a giant cookie from principal Brian Malek, along with a charm bracelet featuring a school bus, a heart and a charm that read “No one can ever fill your shoes” In addition, her fellow drivers gave her plenty of hugs and flowers as a sendoff.

Sensenig started driving in 1980, first for Manor Middle School and then transporting students to sports events and Lancaster Career & Technology Center campuses, before starting her Central Manor bus runs more than 20 years ago.

Over the years, she transported two generations of some families to and from Central Manor, but she never drove her own children, who grew up in Millersville.

Ella, who is 85, loved her job.

“I’d get up at 5 every morning, and even if I felt tired, once I got in that bus, I was happy,” she said. “I’d keep driving if I wasn’t so old!”

In retirement, Sensenig plans to work in her vegetable garden at her Millersville home and spend time with her family, including two children, five grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Congratulations, Ella, and thank you for your many years of service to Penn Manor families!

  • Ella Sensenig and her bus riders
    Ella poses with her bus riders at Central Manor

Members of the Class of 2021 earn diplomas in outdoor ceremony

Members of the Penn Manor Class of 2021 received their diplomas Friday, June 4, before family and friends during an outdoor ceremony at Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium.

It was a beautiful night for Penn Manor’s first outdoor ceremony since 2006, which was delayed by one day due to rainy weather. The move outdoors this year was prompted by pandemic restrictions.

In his address to the crowd, principal Baron Jones commended the 359 graduates for persevering in an unprecedented school year filled with construction, pandemic closures and quarantines, online learning and multiple schedule changes.

“You have navigated a challenging year and have come out of the other side stronger and more resilient,” he said. “I believe personal growth can only be forged through adversity. Therefore, your class is ready and eager to accept the challenges that await.”

Valedictorian Andrew Glenn thanked several of his teachers for inspiring him and urged his classmates to keep striving for moral and intellectual growth.

“We know that learning, loving, serving and creating are the hallmarks of a meaningful life,” he told the audience. “And we are prepared – by the abundant opportunities which have been afford us – to  make the world a wiser and better place. The play goes on, and it is now our turn to contribute a verse.”

Andrew was one of five students who addressed the crowd. The others were salutatorian Jordan Schucker, named Student of the Year at the ceremony; Thomas Hockenberry; Naisha Lamour; and Arden Morgan.

Congratulations to the 359 members of the Class of 2021, and best wishes as you embark on the next chapter of your lives!

  • Commencement speakers, principal and superintendent
    From left, Thomas Hockenberry, Naisha Lamour, Jordan Schucker, superintendent Mike Leichliter, principal Baron Jones, Andrew Glenn and Arden Morgan.

Penn Manor seniors earn more than $114,000 in academic awards, scholarships

Members of the Penn Manor High School Class of 2021 received nearly 200 local awards and scholarships totaling more than $114,000 during the Senior Awards Ceremony, held May 20.

The honors included $77,150 in scholarships awarded to 76 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.

Among the top recipients of academic scholarships/awards – with six or more each – were Delaney Reitnauer, Eleanor Helm, Jordan Schucker, Paige Marie Flinchbaugh, Amanda Wolf and Evelyn Weaver.

 Congratulations to all the seniors who earned awards, and best wishes on your future endeavors! Here is a list of the awards. You can watch the awards ceremony here.

Commencement moved to Friday, June 4, due to weather

   Due to inclement weather and the possibility of lightning Thursday evening, Penn Manor’s 2021 commencement has been rescheduled for Friday, June 4. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium.

   Friday’s ceremony will be held rain or shine, and guests should dress appropriately. The ceremony will be livestreamed here for those unable to attend. If the ceremony must be shortened because of weather conditions, pre-recorded graduation speeches will be shown on the Penn Manor YouTube channel.

   This year’s speakers are valedictorian Andrew Glenn, salutatorian Jordan Schucker, class president Naisha Lamour, Thomas Hockenberry and Arden Morgan.

   Members of the Class of 2021 received seven admission tickets each for family/friends to attend the ceremony. The stadium will open at 6 p.m.

Penn Manor announces expectations for 2021-2022 school year

Please read this important message from the Penn Manor school board president and superintendent regarding expectations for in-person instruction next school year.

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors appreciates the cooperation of staff, students and families in complying with the district’s health and safety plan this school year. Your efforts helped keep Penn Manor schools open and allowed us to continue offering in-person instruction.

As we look forward to next school year, we want to update the community on our expectations regarding how our schools will operate in 2021-2022.

The Acting Secretary of the Department of Health has announced that the state face mask order will expire on June 28 or when 70 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated, whichever happens first. The announcement strongly suggests that COVID-mitigation measures imposed on public schools this past year may be drawing to a close.

With the face mask order soon to expire and the attestation order no longer in effect, the Penn Manor school board and administration are adopting the following expectations about the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Our schools will be open for in-person instruction five (5) days a week.
  • Our staff and students will not be required to wear face masks while at school.
  • Our staff and students will not be required to be vaccinated in order to work at or attend our schools.
  • Our staff and students who wish to wear face masks as a mitigation measure will be permitted to do so – but that will be their personal choice.

We will keep the community updated regarding the expectations listed above as the new school year approaches, but at this point, we are looking forward to a more “normal” year in 2021-2022. 

Thanks again to our students, staff and families for their cooperation during a very challenging school year. We sincerely hope you enjoy your summer break.

Five students to speak at 2021 commencement

   Five members of the Class of 2021 will address graduates at this year’s commencement, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, in Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium.

  In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Friday, June 4. A decision on a possible date change will be made by Thursday morning.

   This year’s speakers are valedictorian Andrew Glenn, salutatorian Jordan Schucker, class president Naisha Lamour, Thomas Hockenberry and Arden Morgan.

   Andrew is the son of Lorena and Richard Glenn of Lancaster.

   He has participated in baseball, cross country, the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, the mock trial team, TEAMS competition, the Rocket Club, and Gray Zone.

  Andrew plans to attend Penn State University and major in aerospace engineering.

  Jordan is the daughter of Scott and Allison Schucker of Lancaster.

   She has participated in volleyball, track and field, the Technology Student Association, National Honor Society, TEAMS competition, German Club, the German-American Partnership Program and chorus.

   Jordan plans to attend Dickinson College to complete the law 3+3 program with a major in international studies, while participating in volleyball and track and field.

    Naisha is the daughter of Amanta Beausejour of Mountville.

    She has participated in track and field, the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy, National Honor Society, Attollo Prep, chorus, concert band, vocal jazz ensemble and Manor Singers and is president and founder of the gospel choir.

    Naisha plans to attend Temple University and major in psychology and chemistry.

   Thomas is the son of Lori and Ed Hockenberry of Millersville.

   He has participated in tennis, the Robotics Team, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, the Rocket Club and TEAMS and has been a piano accompanist and soloist.

   Thomas plans to attend Purdue University and major in aerospace engineering.

   Arden is the daughter of Andrea and Steve Morgan of Lancaster.

   She has participated in cross country, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, the Young Humanitarian League, Unified Track Team and varsity track and field.

   Arden plans to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder and major in chemical engineering.

   Members of the Class of 2021 will receive seven admission tickets each for family/friends to attend the ceremony. The stadium will open at 6 p.m.

If the ceremony must be shortened because of inclement weather, the pre-recorded graduation speeches will be shown on the Penn Manor YouTube channel.

Commencement speakers
From left, Naisha Lamour, Andrew Glenn, Jordan Schucker, Thomas Hockenberry and Arden Morgan.

Kyle Murr wins state gold medal in triple jump

   Congratulations to Kyle Murr for earning a gold medal in the triple jump at the state track and field championships at Shippensburg University on May 29.

   Kyle is only the second track and field state champion in Penn Manor history to earn gold and the first since 1929, when Amos Funk won gold in the pole vault.

   Murr earned the state boys’ triple jump title after leaping 47 feet, 10.75 inches – nine inches longer than the second-place jump.

   Kyle wasn’t the only Penn Manor student athlete to earn a state medal that day.

   Distance runner Graham Thomas placed eighth in the 3,200-meter run, and the doubles tennis team of Curtis Rabatin and Maxwell Davis place fourth in the state tennis championship.

  Congrats to all of these Penn Manor student athletes!

  • Kyle Murr
  • Curtis Rabatin and Maxwell Davis


Join us in celebrating Penn Manor’s 2021 retirees

We invite the Penn Manor community to take a look at our video tribute to this year’s Penn Manor retirees. You can watch it here. These outstanding employees have more than 400 years of combined service to Penn Manor students and staff!

They include Janice Adams, Doug Anderson, Tamara Baker, Mary Barnett, Trasee Bleacher, Beth Corl, Patricia Duff, Allan Dutton, Lori Graham, David Hess, Doris Long, Skip Reddig, Teresa Reisinger, Melany Rios and Kimberly Weit.

Best wishes to all of you as begin this next chapter in your lives!