School safety discussed by Montrose Area board

Two Montrose Area School District parents questioned the board about active shooter and safety training at the Monday, July 11, school board meeting.

Superintendent Chris McComb said the district utilizes run-hide-fight, which is detailed in the school’s emergency plan. Run-hide-fight is a federal Homeland Security Department program creates for use in workplace settings, according the National School Safety and Security Services website. Other school districts in the county use ALICE training (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate), which is similar to run-hide-fight.

McComb said he is trying to coordinate a training, but that staff – including newly hired personnel and substitutes – receive school safety training and instructions. “I don’t want it to appear we are not doing anything. We’re doing a lot.” He also said that if staff members are uncomfortable with their level of training, they should reach out to building principals.

With the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s office and Susquehanna County to utilize the services of School Resource Officers at a per diem rate of $200 on the agenda, Susquehanna County’s Chief Detective Jon Oliver and Sheriff Lance Benedict attended the board meeting.

Sheriff Benedict said that Chief Deputy Jon Record is a certified ALICE instructor available to the school districts.

He also said the sheriff’s department is working with all law enforcement agencies,  including state and local police and the county probation department for training.

“If something happens, we’re all coming,” Benedict said. He also noted that the first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene – likely the SRO – would go in to stop the threat.

Detective Oliver said that the SROs and the probation department are touring each school this summer. He noted that the county’s new public safety facility has a simulator where law enforcement can train.

Benedict and Oliver said they want all first responders to work as a “county team” that would have state police, county detectives, sheriff’s office, probation and local police departments responding to any incident in the same way.

Heather Spry and Melissa Martini were hired as Special Education teachers and will both be working in the Jr-Sr High School. Spry will be focused on English Language Arts (ELA), while Martini will focus on Math.

Madelyne Pasteka and Samantha Albert were hired as full-time teachers. Pasteka is assigned to Kindergarten at Lathrop Street Elementary; and Albert is assigned to first grade, also at Lathrop Street. Both had worked as Learning Interventionists with the district until June 30.

The board accepted, with regret, the resignation of MaKaylah Holbert from a Special Education Life Skills position at the Jr-Sr High School; and the resignation of Lathrop Street Intervention Specialist Nicole LaBarre.

The board also approved a professional services agreement with Trehan for a Social Emotional Learning curriculum program for all elementary students at a rate of $30,000 for the school year.


The summer day camp bus contractor daily rate was increased from $150 to $200, effective July 11.

The board also increased the activity run mileage reimbursement rate for the 2022-23 school year, retroactive to July 1. The rate increased from $2.99 per mile to $3.20 per mile, in accordance with the state cost index of seven percent.

Summer ESY transportation contracts were approved; and Patrick Conboy was approved as a transportation contractor for the district beginning with the coming school year.

The board affirmed the superintendent’s 2021-22 evaluation as satisfactory.

Daily substitute teaching rates will remain the same for the 2022-23 school year. The district pays $125 per day for substitute teachers with emergency certifications and student substitutes. Certified teachers who are substitutes are paid at a higher rate.

A summer library program is underway in the Montrose Area School District elementary schools.

The Choconut Valley program began July 7 and runs on Thursdays through Aug. 11 from 9 a.m.-noon. The program includes stories at 9:30 a.m. and activities.

Lathrop Street’s summer library program began on July 6 and runs on Wednesdays through Aug. 10, 9 a.m.-noon. Each week will have a special theme, and stories will be read at 10 a.m.

Students in both programs have the opportunity to check books out of the library to take home.

The Montrose Area School Board brought on several new teachers for the coming school year, with hiring approvals from the board coming at the Monday meeting.


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