WILKES-BARRE – At his first full meeting as president -- held before a crowd of mostly teachers -- John Quinn made it clear the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board would be heading in a new direction.
This is going to be a teacher-friendly district from this moment on, Quinn said during a meeting Wednesday that included announcement of a teacher-only committee set up to revise the elementary reading curriculum, a decision to have elementary principals revise the social studies scheduling, and the first teacher appointed under a new teacher hiring policy.
The change in reading program has been pushed by former President Maryanne Toole for years, who has argued the current curriculum isn't getting needed results in state tests. Quinn predicted change in those test results will come quickly now.
Toole also made the motion to change the scheduling of social studies, particularly history. She noted that in several years high school students will have to pass the new state Keystone Exams in a variety of subjects, history being one of them, yet there is no history curriculum per se in elementary grades. The board hired Brittany Kalinay as a special-education teacher, the first such vote under the new hiring policy. But the board also rejected an attempt to change the policy. When the policy was unexpectedly brought up for a vote and approved 5-4 on Nov. 5, the majority changed the maximum number of candidates recommended for a job from three to five. On Wednesday, the board rejected a motion to roll back the maximum to three, with the same majority voting to keep it at five: Quinn, Dino Galella, Louis Elmy, Robert Corcoran and Phil Latinski.