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Last Updated 11.24.2009

Liberty High School Parent Advisory Council

If you'd like to receive an e mail of meeting information and the monthly minutes please send a request to LHSPAC@rcn.com. This is a great way to stay informed with the happenings at Liberty High School. An informed parent is a powerful parent!

Meeting Index:

10.20.2009 PAC Meeting
11.12.2009 Student Achievement Task Force
11.18.2008 PAC Meeting
10.21.2008 PAC Meeting


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LHS PAC Meeting • October 20, 2009 • 7 pm

The meeting was held in the auditorium, there were 4 parents in attendance (including myself). I am hoping for better attendance at future meetings. I understand, the e mail was not received in a timely manner, I will rectify this problem.

The meeting was an open forum to discuss and ‘issues’ at Liberty High School, as well as topics for upcoming meetings. The following is what was discussed and agreed too:

  • College night date has not been chosen as of yet.

  • November 19th is the 11th grade college processing night. All 11th grade parents/students that are considering attending college after H.S. graduation should make every attempt to attend this meeting.

  • February 6, 2010 is the meeting date for a night with the Interim Superintendent. Please plan on attending so that all of Liberty High School interests are heard by the BASD administration.

  • Please note!!!! November 12, 2009 @ 7:00 p.m. is the Student Achievement Task Force Meeting. All parents are welcome and Mrs. Durante requests that parents attend. This task force works on the overall success of ALL students at LHS. Parental input is important and has already assisted in such changes as added AP classes.
  • The November 17, 2009 LHS PAC meeting will include the following:

  • An update from Kathy Halkins LHS Nurse regarding the current Flu pandemic, the evening of the October meeting it had been discovered that Moravian M.S. was closed for the following 5 days due to the number of students with the flu.

  • It was noted that Dr. Persing had reinstated Teen Summit, with help from the boy scouts. There is money for the clubs, but not the advisor at this time.

  • Currently, students need to pay $5 to attend the senior breakfast. It was noted many students are upset by this, Mrs. Durante explained:

  • It was suggested that perhaps parents could volunteer to become the advisor for some the closed clubs. Mrs. Durante stated she didn’t have a problem with this idea, but liability needs to be looked into, as well as if any contract issues would be affected.

  • Incoming 8th grade parents are going to be invited to the April 20, 2010 LHS PAC meeting. The idea is that Mrs. Durante would welcome parents and then we would have Mrs. Durante leave and we would allow incoming parents to ask any questions they may have for parents regarding LHS. It was felt parents may be open to ask questions if Mrs. Durante was not in the room.

Please place the above dates on your calendar.

Respectfully submitted,

Maureen Venkersammy

Liberty High School, Student Achievement Task Force, November 12, 2009

Attendees: Joanne Durante, Maureen Venkersammy, Margaret Buell, Margot Hillman, Patricia Hardwick, Beth Guariello, Judi Dexter, Ben Tenaglia, Kevin Bush, Tina Geisler, Jen Moll, Laura Kuehner, Tony Traca.

Mrs. Durante welcomed everyone, and introductions were made.

Discussed upcoming LHS PAC noting that Kathy Halkins school nurse will be at the LHS PAC meeting 11/17/09. Kevin Bush will also be presenting the NCAA clearinghouse information so parents may be well informed on college information.


  • Dr. Persing had a student advisory team meeting recently with students of Liberty and Freedom high school. It was a very open meeting, the students stated at the initial meeting not enough rigor in the honors or academic classes, and many students that are not prepared to meet honors and were struggling. Also, discussed was code of conduct issues, including differences with how principals follow through.

  • 2nd meeting was a discussion that included code of conduct. Needs to be looked into was teaching for the entire 83 minutes, Differentiated instruction, co-teaching special education/regular education students. The large gap of the academic track is a point that continues to be brought up as a problem.

  • A discussion with parents from Parkland district; and they have academic, college prep, honors and AP and gifted high potential; also noted within college prep there are distinguished levels of seminar and applied. The parent noted it would be beneficial to have this available especially with the block scheduling because there is the availability of time with the 4 course break-out. Also, noted was this student did not make all honors for freshman year, but has now been placed in all honors for 10th grade and it has been extremely successful, and he will be going for AP. If there was a level just below honors it would be helpful to see the students that should be pushed forward.

  • Another parent noted her student is a student that should be just below honors. Her son is struggling in honors biology; mostly because the parents are saying “Don’t put him in academic because it is a joke”. The way the set up is at Liberty students are not being served properly.

  • It was explained that Liberty High School now has only 2 levels, academic and honors (A/P in upper classes)

  • Parent noted a student that was in all honors until this year, her daughter moved to academic chemistry (by choice)….her first day the student came home and said ‘boy did I just have culture shock’.

  • Questioned is what do you do with a student that needs more rigor in English with writing. Many graduates and graduate parents say academics will not prepare students for college.

  • Also noted, is the concern that the discipline in academic classes is also not there.

  • Over time tracking was taken away. At one time there was A/P, Honors, Academic which had 2 levels and the ‘applied’ which was renamed career prep.

  • Students that come from 8th grade with parents that do not know that academic is not the place for students that need challenge – tend to have students that struggle when they get to college.

  • Parent noted that she feels students are not prepared across the district. For instance, a science teacher in a middle school would allow students to get their tests back, correct them and get 15 extra points.

  • Lack of consequences in some classes with not doing homework was also discussed. It was an academic class, noted was it is a large class with difficult students. Again, this points to the need for a split of this academic level.

  • Students that are not prepared for the rigor of Honors that are placed in academics and not challenged are extremely frustrated and feel like failures – and it’s detrimental to their education.

  • Kevin Bush was questioned as a teacher of academics.

  • Parents want to know how quickly this can be corrected.

  • Parents questioned how we can take the students that do not care to learn and are disruptive out of the classrooms so students that want to learn have the opportunity.

  • Students not listening in class were discussed because there seems to be a lack of respect towards teachers. Joanne noted that each year in assemblies it is necessary to let students know administration will not speak at assemblies until they are quiet and respectful.

  • A behavior specialist and the need for one at LHS was discussed, a grant is available and will be requested by LHS for next school year.

  • Joanne broke down her thoughts of what parents want: Honors, Academic students that want to learn but are not ready for the rigor of honors but wish to be challenged, another academic level for students that cannot take the challenge. Parents noted reading level should be taken into.

  • Joanne requested the parents to break out their idea of a true academic student:

    Respectful, works harder to learn, motivated, ability, reading level, portfolio, grades, work ethic, also brought up was PSSA testing to both yes and no answers for parents.

  • Judi Dexter asked if there was true ability ranging being completed when students are scheduled. This is very difficult and only done to a point it would have to be hand scheduled. The practicality of ranging with students in a school this large is difficult.

  • At the faculty meeting Monday, it was noted that Mr. Frank Math Chair, stated the math classes seem to be well broken out – he requested that it not be changed.

  • At the same meeting another teacher spoke that it is too difficult to teach to such a large range of students in one class. When this teacher finished speaking all the teachers began clapping. Mrs. Durante noted to her this meant 180 teachers believe this is difficult.

  • The PSSA schedule was discussed, it has been brought to the curriculum department to try and find the best way to test students this year.

  • Mrs. Durante discussed that as of right now, the junior class is being targeted (to see if students are not doing well because they’ve been in the wrong classes) All core subjects of students that are failing (for instance English) are having their transcripts pulled and all the data of where they were and what they are taking as well as other scores (PSSA, Lexile Reading Scores) if the students have an IEP or are free and reduced lunch. When all this is pulled together, it will be seen if the students are failing because of lack of ability or should there be another level for a student. Looking at the low level student that is a struggling learner and needs more help to learn – their needs can be possibly met, and at the same time you find the students that are not having their challenge needs met because of working with these students that are struggling, and therefore the class is not progressing at the rate needed by the challenge thirsty student.

  • Differentiated instruction will be most effective if students are placed in the correct level of instruction.

  • Perhaps using a rubric could be used to place students.

  • The Board of Directors has noted that the Honors test should not be used; a set of criteria that students should meet must be used now.

  • Maureen Venkersammy will speak at the board of directors meeting Monday night regarding the opinion of the LHS parents from the SATF group.


Liberty High School, Parent Advisory Committee, November 18, 2008

Meeting held in the Liberty High School Library at 7:00 p.m.
Administration/teachers in attendance:  Joanne Durante, Dan Zulli, Mike Wagner, Tony Traca, Kevin Bush

Next meeting January 20, 2008 _ Open forum with the Superintendent

Principal's report: 

  • Discussed problems with the air handlers in the Klein Science Center and other areas.  D'huy Engineering is working on this problem.  Last week there was a real fire drill in the gym area, this has been a learning experience and some changes have been made to correct areas of difficulty.  If students are in the pool they must leave, large towels to keep them warm and footwear have been ordered to ensure student health and safety.

  • Junior Class PSSA Task Force:  A select group of teachers that are working with students that were nominated by their teachers, there are 46 of them, are working with the teachers to become student mentors in connection with the upcoming PSSA.  This is a new initiative.

  • PSSA Graduation Requirement:  Last night's proposal (at school board meeting) that was put up to the board of education last night is not the original Liberty High School proposal.  LHS is going to continue working on their original proposal to assist with the population at Liberty.  Especially connected with this is a class to be held during the day.  Saturdays work to a point but to best assist the LHS population it is believed a class during the day would be beneficial.  Mrs. Leeson discussed the PSSA Graduation Requirement:  The PSSAGR went to the board; there have been a few changes since then.  There are concerns about reviewing the options and putting it together well.  If anyone has thoughts the boards of directors is open to hearing them, or get the information to your school principals so that it can be shared.  This is a big move and could have a big impact.  The graduation requirement has been tabled.  BASD is one of the few schools in the Lehigh Valley that does not offer a PSSA course.  We are also one of the few schools that do not have a requirement for graduation tied to PSSA.  Please note:  Bilingual and Special Ed are not part of this initiative at this time.  Working on weekly PSSA questions in LHS across is called PSSA Wednesday, this is a great way to work the content into all areas of the curriculum. 

  • There was discussion on the students that don't do well on standardized tests.  There are other proposals currently floating, they were not the ones submitted from the Cabinet, but the document is a work in progress and the board can give input.  It was suggested that the proposals be placed on the website for parents to view and give input.  Discussion on the concerns of waiting too long to make this a requirement for this year's junior.  The BEA's proposal which is show via a flow chart will be scanned an emailed to students.

  • Mentoring has begun:  we are working on this at this time.  It is a work in progress.

  • Small Learning Communities:  Team teaching is being worked on.  Mrs. Durante is working on this vigorously.

  • PSSA Tutoring is occurring, if your student wasn't chosen, you may request the assistance.  This is not mandatory.   LHS will continue to encourage use of this vehicle to assist the students having difficulty meeting basic proficiency.

  • Freedom vs. Liberty game:  Currently the plan is:  The game begins at 12 noon.  The participants in the game will receive a special pass to park in the 800's parking lot. (ie: players, cheerleaders, band members)  The bands will be escorted.  Liberty will be on the press box side.  Freedom will sit on the west side.  You must enter where you wish to sit.  T-shirts that will be in the spirit of the game will go on sale Thursday for $10 all proceeds to benefit Bethlehem Special Olympics.  Pregame will be LHS Grenadier Band and half time will be FHS Patriot Band.  LHS will take their break at half-time.   Freedom has been notified of this so it cannot be stated that LHS is being rude.  No tailgating.

Open forum: 

  • A question regarding the parent portal was brought up.  The rules have been changed.  It is important for parents to contact either the IT (information technology) group. When you call IT you should ask for Betsy.  Frank Arbushites is currently in charge of IT.  The parent portal access and what is available was discussed.  A teacher not placing the grades and information on the portal was discussed.  It is noted that this is currently an issue with the teachers union.  Communication needs to still be part of this process, because many parents do not know about the portal or how to access it.

  • A particular social studies class did not have grades on the students report cards.  Mr. Traca knows of this problem and personally inputted those grades.  Side note:  Honor roll will be placed in the newspapers again.

  • IEPs:   Do the IEPs automatically go to the teachers?  The answer is no, currently, the teachers receive the Specially Designed Instruction but not the goals of the students.  They do not receive the entire document.

  • 45 teachers are team teaching inclusion classes.  Some students attend inclusion classes all 4 blocks.  Liberty has inclusion models in the current 9th and 10th grade classes.  Each summer the inclusion/literacy class offered at BASD is open to parents.

  • Liberty High School has 2 courses SAT math prep and SAT English prep they are credit courses and offered at LHS during the school day.  Sophomores can take this class if they complete geometry.

  • Guidance Counselors:  Many things are changing in the economy, are we working to ensure that all students have the ability to receive scholarships.  Are we looking for ways to assist this process for students? 

  • There is a circle of problems here.  If students do not pass the PSSA, financial assistance is not offered (with PA Universities) many colleges/universities are cutting aide in general.  December 10, 2008 is financial aid night at Liberty.   Note:  FAFSA an important document that needs to filled out.  LHS has scholarships are available, many go untapped.  Many of these are for seniors.  Lehigh University gives a scholarship the paperwork came today and it is noted that it has been cut in half.  Counselors are giving personal invitations for some of these scholarships.  Students can go to their counselors and asking for these scholarships, they can go during homeroom. 

  • New curriculum and instruction position:  Kevin Bush:  An all encompassing position.  The job is newly created.  Kevin has been going in and out of the classes to view what the students are not only learning, but what they are doing during the teaching.  Are they actively listening?  Professional Learning Communities are being placed in LHS.  It is a process on how teachers will share information.  Each Monday teachers meet for 30 or more minutes discussing what new is being done in their class and sharing teaching strategies.  This job is to work with teachers on learning the best teaching strategies, it does not include any discipline, only learning information is shared and discussed.  This gets the departments collaborating together, both within departments and with different departments.

  • Did the positions that were opened by the new administrators get filled easily?  Math (Mike Wagner) did get filled by a retired teacher; Mike Wagner also teaches 1 class a day.  The Social Studies position was only recently filled.

  • Discipline:  The walkthroughs that are being done has noticed there is active engagement.  There are many referrals coming in, so teachers are following the code of conduct, please note this is not necessarily more than usual. It has been noted that it may help students in classes of expectations of the day were visible. Possibly placing agendas on the board would be beneficial.  Classrooms of the future are a wonderful way to teach a lesson, it was noted that 2 classes of the same subject yet one a classroom of the future and one traditional see to have very different looks as far as the student interest.  Unfortunately, the money for this is ending shortly.

  • Student Achievement Task Force is collapsing into the School Improvement Task Force, please come to the next meeting December 10, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. either in the Library or Room 134, I will try and get the info to you as soon as it is set.  This is a great group that works on improving overall student achievement at Liberty High School.  The School Improvement Task Force consisted of teachers only and the Achievement Task Force consisted of teachers, administrators and parents.  Collapsing the two into one unit will create a purposeful committee that can work together to assist LHS with increasing student achievement across the board.

  • Respectfully submitted,

    Maureen Venkersammy

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Meeting Minutes, 10.21.2008

Liberty High School
Parent Advisory Committee
October 21, 2008

Meeting held in the Liberty High School Library at 7:00 p.m.
Administration/teachers in attendance: Joanne Durante, Beth Guarriello, Joe Karem

Next meeting November 18, 2008 – Open forum with the Principals

Principal’s report:

PSSA information shared. LHS is on corrective action.

  • LHS needed to do the same advancement 2 years in a row and we did not. We were about 15 points lower than previous year.

  • African American students were lower last year, but did well this year. All other students were lower. There are many pieces to this puzzle.

  • We did outscore the state in SAT. Some of these students did well on the SAT but did not score proficient on the PSSA.

  • The corrective action is a ‘black eye’ for Liberty.

  • LHS is targeting assisting the students that tend to struggle with standardized testing.

  • Jud Frank the math department head has stated all the math on the PSSA is in our curriculum.

  • The ESL (English Second Language) population that is currently housed at Freedom does count for Liberty’s PSSA this year.

  • There is no true proof that there is a lack of motivation with students.

  • Comprehension in reading tends to be a difficult.

  • Writing overall we do well.

  • Measurement (mathematical) is a problem.

  • The state came out with a new performance tracking software called E- measurement which breaks down each student by question. Example: John Smith received 7 out of 10 on quadratic equations.

  • Last year students took an algebra II test as a barometer for how well students would do. Students fared better on the final exam then straight algebra II.

  • Student Achievement Task Force – requirement by the state because we are in corrective action. The next meeting is tomorrow October 22, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. in the LHS Library. The presentation given to members of the school board is the topic. More parents needed on this committee. Teachers are included on this committee. This is a team used to look at student achievement, and ways to assist all students in achievement.

  • Beautification – enjoy the nice surroundings of the ‘new’ Library. There will be 24 stations for computers in the Library. The Library is currently open for student use. The students have the opportunity to come down with their classes. They can come early morning and after school. When the construction is complete the lot used by construction currently will be designated as a park. When the property was purchased for LHS it was placed in the deed that it has to be a park. The area will be restored to a grassy area. Any other improvements will need to be paid for or donated.

  • Please support Liberty. Spirit week is coming next week. The signs will be rich in Liberty tradition but not against Freedom. Liberty is ‘away’ this year, and will be on the side opposite the press box. The bands will be playing to their respective sides. There will be a ‘bury the hatchet’ luncheon for the senior band executive members, football players, cheering section members and cheerleaders at Goosey Gander the Principals of Freedom and Liberty , are underwriting this luncheon, because they believe it will foster good sportsmanship.

  • Announcement: Administration is being realigned. It was announced to the staff today. Mrs. Jarosz is being transferred to Freedom H.S. as an Assistant Principal. Mr.Traca from Broughal will be returning for the 12th grade class. The 10th grade office will have a Dean of Students Mike Wagner (intern). The acting Asst. Principal for curriculum and instruction will be Kevin Bush. The classes are covered but the open jobs will be put out for long term substitutes. There is no concern that content will be lost or missed, this should be a seamless transition. Sara Barlok has been given a literacy coach position. Donna Poore is now the classrooms of the future teacher. Their positions have been filled by English teachers.

  • Tomorrow night 7:30 p.m. is National Honor Society. About 101 students are being inducted. It will be a candlelight ceremony. To be eligible for NHS students need a 3.75 GPA, must complete an application. A team of teachers reviews the applications; (each application is anonymous) in which they measure community service, leadership (roles within LHS and external i.e. boy scouts) extracurricular activities and an essay.

  • LHS PAC: a new name for the group was discussed because of the possible confusion with the district-wide Parent Advisory Committee. One possibility is: Liberty High School Parent Group. This will be decided by the next meeting – please send your suggestions.

Ideas for upcoming meetings: Other options after graduation. For example those not going to trade school, college. There are some travel opportunities etc. Career planning for those not going on to college/trade school.

  • A program for all students on the college process. Including the 9th grade class. Possibly with the registrars of local colleges so information of what they need to do to get ready for the application process.

  • To build the group speakers/events of interest for parents. For example internet safety.

  • Need to build an incentive to get parents to come to the meetings. Example 2 point upgrade for students that parents attend.

  • An evening with the Principals.

  • An evening with the department chairs.
An ‘after high school’ night was discussed including colleges, trade schools, job placement and other opportunities including military, peace corps and other travel opportunities (Unicef?). Mrs. Durante and Mrs. Venkersammy will work on setting this evening in motion. The date would be open ended because of scheduling.

When the construction is complete in the spring there will be a public open house. It was discussed it would be nice showcase our students, example: band, chorus, art, woodworking, etc.

Next meeting November 18, 2008 – Open forum with the Principals and Department Chairs.

January 20, 2009 – An evening with the Superintendent. – Make sure this is properly advertised.

Respectfully submitted,

Maureen Venkersammy

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