2-hour delay for non-public students for Friday, January 18

Non-public school students transported by Penn Manor School District have a two-hour delay for Friday, Jan. 18. Penn Manor public school students are off Friday, Jan. 18, for a teacher in-service.

Manor FFA members earn multiple awards at PA Farm Show

Penn Manor High School students won several awards recently at the Pennsylvania Farm Show representing Manor FFA.

Agriscience Fair

Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman placed first in the state in the Animal Systems Division of the Agriscience Fair for her project on the effect of diet on blood glucose levels and weight gain in rats.

Arilyn fed rats three different types of food and monitored their weight, general health and glucose levels to determine whether a homemade soy-based diet was preferable to a commercial feed diet or a non-soy diet.

She is now applying to present her project in national competition.

Other Farm Show honors for Penn Manor students include:

Keystone Degrees

Eight students – Alyssa Broderick, Michael Brumbaugh, Kyle Bushong, Alyssa Chalfant, Melodie Garrett, Rebecca High, Blake Rohrer and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman – earned Keystone Degrees.

The Keystone is the fourth of five degrees FFA members can earn.  Only 409 members out of 12,771 in the state received the degree.

To earn a Keystone Degree, FFA members must hold the Greenhand and Chapter FFA Degrees; perform at least 25 hours of community service; earn or invest $1,000 or work 300 hours outside of school in their SAE program; participate in 15 FFA Activities, five of them above the chapter level; and demonstrate leadership and advocacy of agriculture and FFA.

Jacket recipients

Five students – Bobbie Ditzler, Emma French, Carter Hess, Laurel Mull and Danielle Oatman – earned a blue jacket, the iconic symbol of FFA membership.

The first-year member jacket campaign is sponsored by the Pennsylvania FFA Alumni, which provides the jackets and a scarf or tie free of charge.  To qualify, students must write about what the jacket means to them and what they plan to achieve while wearing it.

Livestock Showmen

Laurel Barley, Logan Eshelman, Lauren Sensenich, Jenna Smith and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman showed livestock. Jenna Smith earned Reserve Champion Yorkshire and Master Showman honors for her hog, Nora.

Keystone Star

Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman was named Keystone Star in Agriscience. Arilyn will move on to the regional contest and compete at the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts in September.

Nominations sought for Outstanding Educators, Employees

Do you know of a Penn Manor teacher or staff member who goes above and beyond in performing his or her duties? If so, please consider submitting a nomination to the 2018-2019 Outstanding Educator/Employee Awards program.

The school district will present the awards later this year to two teachers and two staff members.  Nominations are being accepted until February 22, 2019, from parents/guardians, students and colleagues of Penn Manor staff members.

Last year’s honorees included Cindy Bachman, high school secretary, named Outstanding Employee for 2017-2018. The Outstanding Educators were Beth Mader, a Central Manor Elementary second-grade teacher, and Ken Webster, a Marticville Middle School social studies teacher.

The Outstanding Educator Awards should be based on a teacher’s ability to promote academic growth in his/her students and for outstanding pupil-teacher relationships.  A person may nominate one elementary teacher, one secondary teacher or one teacher on each level.  The nominee must currently be employed by Penn Manor School District.

Nominations for the Outstanding Employee Awards should be based on the staff member’s ability to support the educational program and the quality of his/her relationships with staff and students.  A person may nominate one elementary staff member, one secondary staff member or one employee on each level.  The nominee must currently be employed by Penn Manor.

Please click here to submit a nomination. Use one form for each nominee.

Below are an explanation of the awards, guidelines and a list of previous recipients.



Public input sought on hiring of new PMHS principal

Penn Manor is seeking input from the public as it embarks on a search for a new high school principal.

Your response to a short online survey will help the school district develop a leadership profile that will guide the selection of a new principal, who will take over from Phil Gale for the 2019-2020 school year.

Dr. Gale has accepted the position of assistant superintendent for secondary education at Penn Manor, effective July 1, 2019.

All survey responses must be submitted by January 25, 2019. The survey includes 13 questions, and all responses are anonymous.

You can take the survey here.

Thank you for responding thoughtfully to the survey questions. Your input is greatly apprciated.

Penn Manor to participate in Safe2Say violence prevention program

Penn Manor School District will soon be participating in a new statewide effort to prevent school violence called “Safe2Say Something.”

The program enables students and staff to anonymously report information about individuals they suspect may be about to hurt themselves or others via a phone app, website or 24-hour crisis center.

Trained “Safe2 Say” staffers will review the tips and immediately contact school officials and, if necessary, law enforcement, to respond to the information they receive.

Penn Manor has established a team of school staff members to respond to tips. In addition, students and staff will receive training on reporting tips and identifying behaviors that could indicate a student is intent on causing harm. 

The state Attorney General’s Office has partnered with Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit committed to creating safe schools and communities, to run “Safe2Say,” which is designed to prevent violent acts, rather than respond to them.

 “Penn Manor encourages students to be responsible reporters if they hear something that could impact the safety of our school community,” said Superintendent Mike Leichliter.  “We welcome the additional resources that are provided through this program.”

Penn Manor will share additional information on “Safe2Say” when the program is implemented later this month.

School board votes to advance HS renovation/construction project

The Penn Manor board of school directors voted 7-1 Jan. 7 to advance the high school renovation and construction project.

The board approved the notice of intent to award construction bids totaling $82.7 million for the project, which will replace major portions of the school and renovate others.

New classroom, agricultural education and athletic wings will be built, along with a new auditorium and upgrades to the school’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, technology and security systems.

The project also will include a new district office at the high school, which will open up space for classrooms at Manor Middle School, where the office is currently located.

Board members Ken Long, Nicki Nafziger, David Paitsel, Rich Frerichs, Joseph Fullerton, Donna Wert and Chris Straub voted in favor of accepting the bids. Carlton “Herk” Rintz voted against the measure. The ninth member, Mitchell Sweigart, was absent.

Construction bids came in higher than anticipated, but school district officials are confident the higher costs can be covered without an additional tax increase over the original, four-year funding plan.

The bids, opened Dec. 13, came in about $4.6 million above estimates. The total cost of the project, with all “soft costs,” including financing, construction management and contingency fees, is $99.9 million.

Penn Manor will be able to cover the additional expenses by using more of its reserve funds than originally planned, said Chris Johnston, the district’s business manager. Penn Manor has set aside $9.6 million so far for the project and has borrowed $40 million to cover initial phases and plans to borrow another $40 million to complete the project.

Major construction is scheduled to begin in March, and the project should be completed by summer 2022.

Penn Manor student follows sister, plays in New Year’s Day Rose Parade

When Elise Thyrum marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day, she was continuing a family tradition.

Four years ago, Elise’s older sister, Emily, marched in the same band as part of the Rose Parade, an annual New Year’s Day event. Emily played the piccolo.

Elise, a senior horn player, represented Penn Manor, which was one of only 20 school districts with students participating in the Cavalcade of Bands Rose Parade Honor Band. In all, about 20 different bands from across the country performed in the parade.

Elise auditioned by submitting videotapes of her playing the mellophone, and of her marching while playing the instrument, to the Cavalcade of Bands organization, which formed the band for the parade.

A New Year’s Day tradition for 130 years, the Rose Parade features elaborate flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrian units. Elise’s marching unit played “Stars and Stripes Forever” along the 5.5-mile parade route.

Elise received another recent honor when she was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 7 Band Festival, to be held Jan. 25 and 26 at Lancaster Mennonite High School.

Congratulations to Elise and the Thyrum family!

Alumni return to PMHS to share advice on college athletics

A group of eight Penn Manor alumni returned to the high school Jan. 3 to share advice with current Penn Manor students about attending college while participating in sports.

    The Athletic Alumni Roundtable, held in the high school cafeteria, attracted about 40 students, along with coaches and parents.

    The panel of collegians responded to questions about balancing athletics and academics, choosing the right college and the differences between athletics on the college and high school levels.

    After the question-and-answer session, the student athletes broke into small groups for individual discussions with students.

    The roundtable was designed to help Penn Manor students “become a little bit more college ready and to help them decide which colleges would be a good fit,” said Jason Mattern, Penn Manor athletic director.

   Many thanks to our alumni who participated in the event:

  • Brooke DeBerdine (Class of 2017) University of Maryland, field hockey
  • Cassie Kline (Class of 2015), Penn State University, field hockey
  • Doug Kramer (Class of 2017), Eastern University, cross country, track and field
  • Grant Gale (Class of 2017), Franklin & Marshall College, football
  • Matt Keller (Class of 2015), Syracuse University, football
  • Nick Kirk (Class of 2016), Ursinus College, lacrosse
  • Wyatt Barnett (Class of 2016), York College, lacrosse
  • Casey McCollum (Class of 2018), Lafayette College, football

HS students headed for state Future Business Leaders competition

Ten Penn Manor High School students have qualified to compete at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference in Hershey in April.

The students qualified by placing in the top three at the FBLA Region 18 Conference, held Dec. 18 at Cocalico High School.

Penn Manor’s top finishers were:

  • Max Forrey, first place, Journalism
  • Alex Mowery, first place, Business Calculations
  • Kaden Peart, second place, Political Science
  • Dominic Roma and Zach Bailey, third place, Sports & Entertainment Marketing
  • Dan Mader, Owen Rohrer and Trevor Grassel, third place, Marketing
  • Gavin Davidson and Garrett Garber, third place, Entrepreneurship

They will move on to compete at the state conference April 8 to 10 in Hershey.

Congratulations, and best wishes as you compete at States!

Kindergarten registration opens Jan. 7; Information Night is Feb. 5

Kindergarten registration for the 2019-2020 school year opens Monday, January 7, and Penn Manor is hosting an information night February 5 to familiarize parents with the kindergarten program and area preschools.

Students registering for kindergarten must be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2019, to be eligible to enroll for 2019-2020. Parents/guardians must begin the registration process online by clicking here.

The Kindergarten Information Night and Preschool Expo will be held February 5, from 6:15 to 8 p.m., at Hambright Elementary School, 3000 Charlestown Road, Lancaster 17603. 

The snow date is February 6.

Preschool Expo:  Beginning at 6:15 p.m., Penn Manor families will have the opportunity to network with representatives of local preschools to learn about pre-K options in our area. Penn Manor does not currently offer a preschool program.

Enrolling your child in a pre-K program helps build a solid foundation for learning and eases the transition to kindergarten.

Kindergarten Information Night At 7 p.m., our Penn Manor kindergarten teachers will provide an overview of our curriculum and explain how you can help ensure that your child is ready to attend kindergarten.

Parents may attend one or both events. Registration is not required, and child care will not be provided.

Please join us!

Penn Manor/Hempfield team places second in HackHershey

A team of students from Penn Manor and Hempfield was a top finisher in a statewide hacking competition held recently at Hershey High School.

    Kyler Stigelman, Adrian Lewis and Tristen Martin of Penn Manor and Michael Pagano of Hempfield placed second overall in HackHershey, a 12-hour programming competition that attracted 21 student teams from across Pennsylvania.

    The projects were judged on originality, technical difficulty, polish and usefulness.

    The four students developed an app called Face2Password that uses facial recognition software to assist people who forget their passwords.

    “The team had a fully working program completed in less than 10 hours, which was really impressive,” said Gina Kostelich, Penn Manor Student Help Desk specialist, who helped prepare Team Face2Password for the competition.

    The Penn Manor students all are enrolled in the Help Desk Course at Penn Manor High School, in which they complete repairs and provide technical support for student computers under the 1:1 Laptop Program.

    Help Desk students earn credits and work under the direction of Penn Manor’s professional information technology staff.

    “I think this course has really expanded their programming passion beyond a hobby,” Kostelich said.  “Plus, the students are now bonding and using their programming experience to do some really cool projects.” 

    “Bright futures are in store for this group.”   

    Tristen is a senior and Kyler and Aidan are sophomores at Penn Manor. Michael is a sophomore at Hempfield.

    The students received $600 worth of prizes, including a computer monitor, Airpods and Snapchat Spectacles, for their second-place finish.

Team members, from left, are Kyler Stigelman, Michael Pagano, Aidan Lewis and Tristen Martin.

Happy Holidays from Penn Manor School District

The entire Penn Manor staff would like to wish our students, staff members, parents and community members a safe and happy holiday season!

Penn Manor schools will be closed from December 24 until classes resume on January 2, 2019. The district office will be open December 26, 27, 28 and 31, with limited hours and staffing. Please call (717) 872-9500 for more information.

Thank you for a great year!

HS project construction costs higher than anticipated


Bids for the construction/renovation project at Penn Manor High School came in higher than anticipated, but school district officials are confident the higher costs can be covered without an additional tax increase over the original, four-year funding plan.

    Construction bids, which were opened Dec. 13, totaled $82.3 million, about $4.6 million above estimates. The total cost of the project, with all “soft costs,” including financing, construction management and contingency fees, is $99.6 million.

    The project originally was projected to cost $87 million to $91.4 million, without construction management fees of $1.7 million and additional costs for soil stabilization. Those estimates did not include an alternate bid of $1.3 million to build district office space, and about $1 million in additional contingency fees to cover unanticipated construction cost.

    While most construction bids came in at or under projections, the general construction bid totaled $55.9 million — $6.4 million above estimates.

     Only one contractor bid on that portion of the project, which likely affected the bid.

    At a school board meeting Dec. 17, project architect Larry Levato of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates said his team is working with the contractor, Lobar Inc., to reduce general construction costs, but a significant reduction is not likely.

    School board directors discussed whether to rebid that portion of the project, but Levato said doing so would be unlikely to result in a lower bid and would increase costs by delaying the construction timetable.

    Penn Manor will be able to cover the additional expenses by using more of its reserve funds than originally planned, said Chris Johnston, the district’s business manager. Penn Manor has set aside $9.6 million so far for the project and has borrowed $40 million to cover initial phases and plans to borrow another $40 million to complete the project.

    The district administration and architect will work to reduce costs and update financing plans prior to a vote on the construction bids at the school board’s Jan. 7 meeting.

    The meeting will begin with a high school construction workshop at 5 p.m., followed by the 7 p.m. committee of the whole and voting meetings at Manor Middle School.

    The high school project will replace major portions of the school and renovate others. It will include new classroom, agricultural education and athletic wings, a new auditorium and upgrades to the school’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, technology and security systems.

    Completion is expected by summer 2022.

PM students to participate in county, district music festivals


More than two dozen Penn Manor students have been selected to participate in upcoming county and district band, orchestra and chorus festivals. Here are the festivals and the participating students:

Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators Association Middle School County Band South Festival, Jan. 19 at Lampeter-Strasburg HS.

    Jerica Strohmeyer, Lexi Wilson, Allison Burkholder, Drew Lebo, Abigale Nesmith and Griffin Sweigart from Manor Middle School; and Natalie Myer, Paige Bland and Claire Eckroat from Marticville Middle School.

    Students were nominated by their director, Skip Reddig

LLMEA High School County Band South Festival, Jan. 19 at Lampeter-Strasburg HS.

    Anna Aston, flute; Hannah Stork, clarinet; Morgan Naylor, clarinet; Ally Sauers, clarinet; Julia Young, bass clarinet; Ethan Esterly, tenor saxophone; Reid Buffenmyer, baritone sax; Elise Thyrum and Jordan Stum, French horn; Josh Brandt, trombone; and Peyton Cassel and Devon Keene, trumpet.

    Student were nominated by their director, Andrew Johnson.

LLMEA High School County Orchestra Festival, Feb. 16 at McCaskey East High School.

    Julia Young, trumpet; Elise Thyrum, French horn; Eleanor Helm and Collin Lively, violin; Jesse Kanagy, viola; and Nolan Stauffer and Evelyn Weaver, bass.

     Students were nominated by their director, Sara Masten, based on proficiency in performing a solo piece.

LLMEA High School County Chorus Festival, Feb. 2 at Donegal High School.

    Adelyn Beans, Soprano 1; Janae Beiler, Alto 1; True Herbert, Bass 1; Diane Imboden and Briana Shyver, Soprano 2; Jordan Stum, Bass 2; and Leilani Torres, Alto 2.

     Students qualified by competing against other students from high schools throughout Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in an audition process Sept. 22.

Pennsylvania Music Educators  District 7 Chorus Festival, Feb. 7 to 9, Cedar Cliff High School.

    Diane Imboden, Soprano 2; Leilani Torres, Alto 2; and True Herbert, Bass 1.

    Students qualified following an audition process.     

PMEA District 7 Orchestra, January 11 and 12, Central Dauphin High School.

    Julia Young, trumpet. She qualified following an audition process.       

PMEA District 7 Band, Jan 25 and 26, Lancaster Mennonite High School

    Julia Young, trumpet; Elise Thyrum, horn; and Hannah Stork, clarinet. They qualified following an audition process.                        

Chickenpox reported at Letort Elementary

A student who attends Letort Elementary School has contracted chickenpox. To prevent the spread of illness, parents and students are urged to follow recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which are outlined  in a letter sent home with students.

The letter from Letort principal Carly McPherson is posted here.