Abington Heights school superintendent discusses goals for the district

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com | September 8th, 2015 2:25 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights Superintendent of Schools Michael Mahon outlined the district’s goals for the 2015-16 year and discussed strategies for implementing them during the school board’s Sept. 2 work session meeting.

“We have two standing goals,” Mahon said. “The first is student safety. Each administrator will be responsible for some activity or work within their buildings to address the topic of substance abuse, but also other issues that threaten the safety of students. We know our students struggle mightily with substance abuse. We’re doubling our efforts through the guidance department to develop resources for individuals or families who are facing a challenge.

“The second (standing) goal is diversity. We are, without question, becoming a more diverse school district. We’re dealing with some issues of diversity, and trying to better understand them and make sure we can respond in a respectful way.”

According to Mahon, a third goal is to take a year-long look at the services provided by the guidance department.

“Our thought is as we develop answers to some reflection questions, we will ultimately improve the performance of the school,” he said. “Through the leadership of the guidance department, we’ve purchased software that each counselor will have that will allow them to track what percent of time is spent engaging with students, performing administrative tasks or dealing with a crisis. My interest is being able to better quantify how much time is spent doing each activity.”

A fourth goal is the improvement of special education services through the guidance department.

“We want to evaluate what we’re doing as a guidance department in the special education process, develop recommendations and implement them,” Mahon said. “All departments are taking on this goal. The ultimate goal is delivering great services to our kids. From principals, counselors, curriculum directors and the special education staff, we would like to do an integrated analysis of current practices and develop new recommendations to gain greater efficiency in service delivery.

“If we are to be successful, it will only be because of excellent instruction in the classroom,” Mahon added. “Our curriculum directors identify areas and communicate with staff to improve instruction. They do a great job of data analysis and working with students.”

In other business …

* Mahon announced three new special education aide positions need to be filled as soon as possible.

“We have some additional kids with significant needs,” Assistant Superintendent Thomas Quinn said.

Members of the Abington Heights School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Abington Heights Administration Building, 200 E. Grove St., Clarks Summit.

By Robert Tomkavage


Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.