Abington Heights superintendent discusses pool project, diversity plans

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com | February 21st, 2017 6:31 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon announced renovations are ongoing for the pool project at the high school during a regular monthly business meeting Feb. 15.

“The project is well underway,” Mahon said. “You don’t see a lot of construction because a lot of the preliminary work is going on as far as fabricating, but we’re very pleased with the progress. We think once the preliminary work is done, construction will move quickly. We don’t have a definitive date to be finished, but everyone is working as hard as they can.”

According to Mahon, the district plans to implement a new program to help students who may be experiencing personal issues.

“One of the goals we’re looking at for next year is the creation of an emotional support class at the elementary level,” he said. “We have unmet needs among our students. We looked at outside district placements and there is no place to send students. We think this will not only be a financial plus for us, but this is something we have to do for our kids who are in serious need.”

Mahon plans to send letters to all students residing in the district who are enrolled in charter schools and for whom the district is paying tuition fees.

“It’s going to be an invitation for these students to reconsider some of the great things that are happening at Abington Heights,” he said. “I think we can make a compelling case for people to look at we do here, the students we have in our classrooms, our teachers and programs, and our leadership.”

Currently, 78 students from the district attend charter schools.

According to Abington Heights Business Manager James Mirabelli, each non-special education student who returns would net the district a savings of $10,498 while special education would bring back $18,458.

Mahon would also like to see the district continue its push to address diversity.

“Each year, we have been doing more and these discussions are often uncomfortable,”he said. “Through the leadership of our administrators and students, we have been pushing forward and taking risks.”

Mahon mentioned a privilege walk, held at the high school Feb. 10 as part of Diversity Day as a positive event, even though it touched on sensitive subjects.

“Some of the questions were hard and could be legitimately interpreted by some as inappropriate to ask,” he said. “I was totally uncomfortable, and I’m not saying I liked it, but I’m proud of the fact that we were doing it.”


By Robert Tomkavage


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