Clarion-Limestone: Kicks Off a ‘Positive’ New School Year

CLARION TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Students at Clarion-Limestone got an opportunity to meet two local judges as they headed back to school last week.

(Pictured, left to right: Magisterial District Judge Duane Quinn, Superintendent Amy Glasl, and Jefferson County President Judge John Foradora)

The beginning of the new school year actually kicked off on Tuesday evening for Clarion-Limestone, when a special Open House was held at the elementary school since the district wasn’t able to have their traditional “Moving Up Day” at the end of the last school year.

Magisterial District Judge Duane Quinn from Clarion County and Jefferson County President Judge John Foradora were special guests at the event, which also included a giveaway of 50 backpacks full of supplies provided by Verizon, as well giveaways for gift certificates from local favorites including Subway, McDonald’s, Sheetz, and The Meadows.

“We had a fantastic turnout,” Superintendent Amy Glasl reported.

“The number of people that came was just incredible. There were so many smiling faces.”

The event was also an opportunity for students and families to meet the new Elementary Principal, Jonathan Quinn.

“I had a very nice welcome here by the parents,” Mr. Quinn said.

The two judges also returned to the district on Wednesday morning to greet the students when they arrived for the first day of school.

“It was great for the elementary students. We didn’t have one student cry this year. The buses all ran great, and the kids came off of them more excited than ever,” Glasl said.

Glasl noted that she’s also looking forward to the district’s new Under My Wing program which has district staff members each taking on a student to mentor.

“We’re really excited about this, and it fits in perfectly with our positivity theme this year.”

According to Glasl, the program is something she brought to Clarion-Limestone from a district she previously worked for after seeing how good it was for the students there.

“It is just magical. It’s a really great way to connect the staff members with the students.”

Glasl said the overall goal of the program, along with some other changes, is to create an environment where every student has a reason to really want to come to school.

Clarion-Limestone also has some changes in administration this year, with Jonathan Quinn taking over the position of Elementary Principal and leadership at the school making some changes in roles and responsibilities within the district.

“We looked at all of the roles and responsibilities here in the district and reassigned them based on people’s strengths, and I think we’ve already seen from Day One that it is benefiting our district. We have people doing the things they’re best at, everything is getting done, and we’re not running into any overlap.”

She noted another change is in the role of the former “Computer Teacher” whose new title is “Technology Integrator” because of the district going to a one-to-one student device ratio.

“We needed his role to change a bit. He’s going into classrooms now to teach alongside the regular teachers, doing things like helping the Kindergarteners to use their iPads.”

Another change, Glasl said, is more about perspective and language.

“We’re working on having more positive ways to deal with what people sometimes think of as ‘problems,’ and trying to address them as ‘issues’ or ‘concerns’ that we need to work on together.”

According to Glasl, the idea is instead of a teacher or staff member coming to administration with a “problem,” they are being asked to come to the administration with a “justified complaint.” This means rather than just telling administrators about the “problem,” the staff members should address administrators about specific issues of concern and share any ideas they have for moving toward a possible solution.

“Every complaint should be viewed as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. The intent here is different. Instead of ‘mindless complaining,’ using ‘justified complaining,’ focuses on identifying underlying issues and working on solutions together.”

She noted that working within the chain of command and collaborating on ways to continue to make the district even better are also major focuses for the coming year.

“The school board has been extremely supportive in this. They’re excited, as well, to be a part of these changes. We all just want this district to be a really positive place, for students and the staff.”

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