Q & A with School Board President Jill Dennin

Q & A with School Board President Jill Dennin

Recently, the president of the school board, Mrs. Jill Dennin, answered some questions about what is going on this school year and our district’s nearing future. Dennin was elected in December, 2013, and in the past year has had to respond to many changes and challenges that face the district.

Q: Why Do You Serve on the School Board?

I believe in the value of public education and want to serve on the school board so I can continue to help provide our community with an excellent public school. In addition, my four boys all graduated from Boyertown. I felt they received a very good education from the Boyertown area school district due to the great teachers and numerous opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities and wanted to ensure that future children had the same opportunities. Finally, I substituted for 7 years as well as volunteered in numerous capacities throughout the district. As a result, I come to the school board with an understanding of the perspectives of teachers, administrators and parents.  

Q: What are some of the biggest issues Facing the Boyertown School District?

The successful completion of the high school project and the transition of our sixth grade into our Junior Highs which will be transitioning into a middle school. In addition, we are in the process of approving the program of studies for both the middle school and the high school with emphasis on an Academy structure at our high school.

We are looking at air conditioning ALL of our buildings. It isn’t fair to have some buildings be air conditioned and other buildings not be air conditioned like the Junior High West. We’re going to be looking to pass a recommendation that we begin the process to have all our buildings air conditioned by next year.

What other responsibilities do you have as a school board member?

The main job of school district is to pass a budget and hire a Superintendent. When I came on the school board they had just hired Dr. Faidley so that part of the job is done, although it is still the boards’ responsibility to evaluate the Superintendent on a yearly basis. We are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding Superintendent. As board president, I worked closely with him this year and can say he truly cares about kids.

One of the most time consuming responsibilities is passing a budget and setting the property tax rate for the district.  This can often be a contentious process among the board as we all have different spending priorities and often not all members of the board share the same philosophy and goals.   

Q: What’s your vision for the district, specifically high school students?

Originally, my vision was to increase the rigor of our classes. However, as I learned more about our academically diverse high school students I have come to see that we need to provide opportunities to ALL students. We need to make sure that all students have access to computers and the internett, more AP classes and electives, and making sure that those who chose a vocation have guidance and access to a course of study whether that be at  BCTC or community college.

I feel very strongly that we need to integrate technology into our educational process. I just got back from the Pennsylvania School Association Annual Conference and there were a lot speakers brought in, and they talked about technology and 21st Century learning. School educators, administrators, and school board members need to understand that technology is not a tool to replace a pencil and paper; technology is the future of education in our country. We need to start embracing it and understanding that computers are the new books of the future and everything is at your fingertips. How technology is integrated and embedded in our learning is directly related to the success of our students in a 21st century economy.

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