Franklin schools want to get out in community

Franklin School District Superintendent Pamela Dye told school board members Monday the district is starting the year with a strong emphasis on community involvement.

“One of our goals this year is to have more volunteers,” Dye said.

The initiative comes on the heels of a visit at a forum in May from three men of the Erie Blue Coats a non-profit organization of men and women that mentor and mediate at Erie public schools.

The new volunteer opportunities stem from a joint effort between the school board’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and district administrators.

“This is the school’s baby,” school board member and CAC chair Major Smith said.

Smith said that after holding the community forum in May, he approached district administrators with several ideas he had for the future of a program that resembled that of the Blue Coats.

“We found out they were already working on it,” Smith said.

A pamphlet distributed to the board describes six ways parents and community members can get involved in the school district. They include volunteering to help teachers create visual displays or making copies or by becoming a tutor, mentor, chaperone, bus buddy or Noble Knight.

“Not to be confused with the Honorable Knights, which are the students,” Dye said.

Smith said volunteer opportunities will be the subject of another Community Begins With Me forum that will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the high school library.

In other business at Monday’s school board meeting, Franklin High School principal Christina Cohlhepp said student reaction to the school’s new police officer, John Ghering, has been a “very positive experience.”

Cohlhepp said there have been “at least two incidents” that Ghering has handled that would have resulted in a call to the state police in the past.

Cohlhepp said the district’s health resource center will open “in the next couple of weeks” now that UPMC has hired a coordinator.

The board adopted a contract with UPMC in May.