It’s back-to-school time. And Lebanon County’s largest school district is ready to meet the challenges that every new school year presents.
On Monday, Aug. 26, the Cornwall-Lebanon School District will welcome back nearly 5,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade to its six buildings across the county. While the new school year will bring its usual allotment of changes, in many ways it’s business as usual for Cornwall-Lebanon.
“We’re ready. We’re excited,” Superintendent Philip Domencic said. “My two favorite days of the year are the first day of school and the last day of school. The first day is really exciting because we build up to that. After a quiet July, there’s just a lot of energy. We’re looking forward to seeing the students and faculty again.”
Greeting students upon their return will be handful of new teachers and administrators, including Kate Long, director of special education, and Chris Groff, athletic director.
Groff, a one-time middle school teacher and varsity baseball coach, replaces Rob Snyder, who remained at Cedar Crest High School as an assistant principal. Long, a former administrator in the Wilson School District, takes over for Sarah Schaefer, who assumed a similar role at Conestoga Valley.
Students at Union Canal Elementary School in North Lebanon Township will be asked to navigate an ongoing renovation project that is scheduled to be completed in September. The $14 million project is the first at Union Canal since it was built in 1990 and will include the updating of the building’s heating and air conditioning system, its roofing, lighting and parking.
“It’s going to serve that building and our community well,” Domencic said. “That project was done with some really good stewardship.”
The district is implementing a new policy for the staff’s use of social media. Domencic said the new guidelines are meant to protect staff and to insure good judgments are being made.
The district also has instituted a new initiative for teachers and administrators, designed to help them overcome barriers to learning.
Domencic said that the preparation for a new school year is almost a summerlong undertaking.
“I know myself, I was a principal at one time,” Domencic said. “People would say to me, ‘Oh, you don’t work over the summer.’ But we have a lot of people working over the summer. You have to get ready. You have maintenance projects, and there are just normal things we do. It’s an on-going thing.”