Northern Tioga School District received a $20,000 donation from C&N bank at the school board’s meeting Monday, April 12.
C&N representatives presented Superintendent Dr. Diana Barnes with the check as part of the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.
“What we’ve been able to do with the money you’ve donated to us has just been phenomenal,” said Barnes. “You’ve had a profound effect on the education of our students at NTSD and we’re deeply grateful for your generosity throughout the years.”
Also at the meeting, board members heard from Dan Fie, coordinator of student services, about the district’s program to help students experiencing homelessness.
Fie said the district was found to be in compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act after required monitoring in October. He said the Act, passed by Congress in 1987 and reauthorized in 2015, requires school districts to identify homeless students and ensure they have the same access to education as other students.
“Some of the main things with this is providing transportation, maintaining educational stability and keeping the student within their school of origin,” said Fie. “If these students are laying their head in a different place night after night, this means we’re not requiring them to register with a different school or different building.”
The district provided written and verbal statements on how it works with the state and regional coordinator to ensure compliance with the Act, as well as evidence of staff trainings, outreach to students and parents, funds allocated through Title I and quarterly reporting requirements. Fie said district staff receives regular training on how to identify students who may be homeless and what steps to take in accordance with the Act.
Fie said the definition of “homeless” in the Act includes several different possible scenarios – students living with another family or friends, in hotels, campgrounds, cars, shelters, or otherwise “inadequate housing or buildings.”
“I think we’re very fortunate we may not see this as much as larger districts,” said Fie. “As long as I’ve been here, the lowest number of students identified over course of a year has been about six or seven. But we’ve also had well over 20 students identified for some years. It’s not that it’s not nonexistent, it happens here.”
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Approved the installation of a scoreboard and electricity at Williamson soccer field, with materials and labor donated by Larson Design Group and the soccer booster club.
• Authorized the high school principals to use funds from their special request funds. Cowanesque Valley High will use up to $2,500 to support student rewards, the first-day guest speaker and purchase furniture for the lobby. Williamson High will use up to $3,000 to purchase an outdoor portable stage for graduation and other events.
• Voted to purchase yard signs for seniors from each high school’s general supplies fund.
• Voted to allow the Williamson High School Environmental Service and Outdoor Organization to travel to the Dominican Republic in June 2022, a trip originally scheduled and approved for 2020. There, students will participate in service activities, including helping to rebuild coral reefs.
• Heard from Dr. Barnes that Asa’s Place, a service for babies born dependent on illicit drugs in Tioga County, is planning a rally to bring awareness of child abuse in the area. The rally is being planned for September at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. Barnes asked the board to consider donating and/or participating in the rally, adding that Tioga County has the second highest rate of child abuse cases in the state, with NTSD having the most reports in the county.