The first meeting of the Upper Darby School Board for the new school year had many firsts and announcements.
The new acting Superintendent Dan Nerelli voiced his concerns and plans for the future. Michael Raymond, president of the teacher’s union, talked about the need for air conditioners in some schools and two new student reps to the board were introduced.
Nerelli used the opportunity to talk about the continuation of being underfunded and his proposals for the school year.
“The Basic Education Funding Commission’s most recent report lists Upper Darby School District as the 13th most underfunded school district in (Pennsylvania),” Nerelli said. “We all
need to keep our focus on working with our state representatives on the creation of a more fair and equitable funding formula. Together, working to better appreciate and understand one another, we can and will accomplish the goals of this community as outlined in the
According to Nerelli, the district has made progress in some of the strategies of the comprehensive plan and has almost completed updates to the Core Data Center for the district.
“I will continue to update the board and the public on our progress toward the comprehensive plan,” Nerelli said. “The progress we are making is a direct result of people coming together as a team.
“We will continue our work on Diversity Training as well as other community outreach efforts in conjunction with a cross-section of community members. The district will be providing an update on the Facilities Study during the Finance and Operations Committee meeting.”
According to Nerelli, this year marks the beginning of a new elementary school schedule and he plans to meet with local law enforcement and emergency responders to review lockdown and intruder drills.
“I would like to see this district partner with local libraries and the community in a One Book reading initiative,” Nerelli said. “What better way to focus on literacy than to come together and model the joy of reading as a team.”
The district also launched a successful cyber academy this year.
“Current enrollments in the cyber academy as well as the other online and blended programs exceeded expectations,” Nerelli said. “It has been a team effort to work through the initial phases of the new program.”
Raymond, president of the Upper Darby Education Association (UDEA), informed the board of the teachers and professionals welcoming all students at the onset of school.
“The only difficulty that arose stemmed from the oppressive heat in many buildings,” Raymond said. “We would like the board to consider some improvements as the building specifications report become available.”
According to Raymond, on Sept. 9 the temperature in one of the classroom’s at Senkow Elementary School reached 108 degrees.
“Fortunately Senkow’s cafeteria and gym area is air conditioned and classes were able to seek shelter there,” Raymond said. “Some of our district’s older buildings do not have a large area where students could even be rotated through during such extreme situations. Air
conditioning large group areas would help insure the health and wellbeing of our children.”
Upper Darby High Assistant Principal Matthew J. Alloway introduced student reps Ghada Ayad and Joseph Vizzarri to the board.
“Ghada Ayad is a senior with impeccable grades in the most rigorous courses of our school,” Alloway said. “Her teachers describe her as passionate, involved, outgoing and a perfect example of what it means to be Royal (the school’s slogan). She is a musician as well as a
member of two honor societies.”
Alloway paraphrased what Vizzarri’s teacher, Jessica Baton, had to say about the senior,
“‘Over the three years I have known him, Joseph has matured into a well-spoken, well-informed young man with strong morals and opinions and a real concern for fairness and the betterment of the Upper Darby School District.’”
According to Alloway, Vizzarri is dedicated to his academics and athletics, attended the Youth Citizen’s Police Academy and is a volunteer firefighter with the Upper Darby Fire Department.