West York Area
West York Area School District
Blue & White News

We’ll be including the latest district news here on this page. Be sure to check in often, as we’ll be updating this information frequently. For the latest in what is happening in the community outside of our schools, please check out our Community Corner page.

Athletic Volunteer/Coach Stipend Clarification

On June 4, 2014, the West York Area Education Association (a.k.a. teachers' union) sent a "cease and desist" to Dr. Emilie Lonardi, Superintendent, regarding the District's practice of allowing individuals to volunteer as coaches in athletic programs and employees to split stipends. The District's efforts to comply with the Association's demands resulted in numerous questions. The District's Solicitor worked with the Association's new representative to clarify the District's understanding of these past practices, which are clarified in a Memorandum from the Superintendent. Click here to review that Memorandum.

2013-2014 High School Honor Roll List

West York Area High School announces its 2013-2014 honor roll students! Click here for a complete list.

Invitation to Bid

Please see the attached document for an Invitation to Bid on Additions and Renovations to West York Area High School. Bids will be received by the West York Area School District until 3:00 p.m. prevailing time on August 5, 2014.

School's Out!

Congratulations Class of 2014!

Returning students, be sure to mark these dates on your calendar:


Have a fun and safe summer. See you next year!

Welcome, New Bulldogs!

West York Area School District would like to welcome the following new members of our staff:

Brenda Gross - Loucks Building Clerk
Scott Rutkowski - Food Services Director
Annette Rudacille - Lincolnway Food Service Assistant
John Caplinger - Lincolnway Custodian
Patricia Knadig - Administration Building Custodian
Tracy Conrad - Wallace Food Service Assistant
Tina Keeler - Superintendent's Secretary

West York Area High School Construction Project

This fall, West York Area School District embarks on an exciting construction project at the high school. The plan involves many phases and will continue until August of 2016.

Phase 1 starts in September with setup of fencing, storm water management and detention.

Work will then begin on Phase 2, which includes new classroom additions, the gymnasium complex, and the locker rooms. This work is expected to continue until November of 2015.

During the summer of 2015, an underground oil tank will be removed, and a new rooftop cooling tower and electrical transformer will be installed.

Construction of the cafeteria addition and choral room will begin in January of 2016 and will be finished by August of 2016.

Throughout the duration of the project, updates to sprinkler systems, lighting, and HVAC will be ongoing. All phases are scheduled to wrap up during the summer of 2016. The final phase of the project will involve reconstructing the tennis courts and doing final paving work on the parking lots. The undertaking is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

Class of 2014 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Olivia PurtellMs. Olivia Purtell is the Valedictorian for the graduating class of 2014! Her academic accomplishments include maintaining a grade point average of 101.1%, appearing on the Summa Cum Laude Honor Roll, and regularly appearing on the Distinguished Honor Roll. She served as President of the National Honor Society, Tennis Team Captain, and Physics Club President, and her community and co-curricular achievements include Tennis All-Star, Model UN Consensus Builder and Chairman's Choice Awards, Softball Scholar-Athlete Award, Tennis Sportsmanship Award, 5th Place in the Physics Olympics, DreamWrights Theater Volunteer of the Year, 2nd Place YorkArts Writer's Eye, and the 100 Hour WellSpan Volunteer Recognition Award. She has earned scholarships from Hanover AMVets Post 22 and the Catholic Women's Club, along with a Distinguished Young Women Scholastic Award. Ms. Purtell will be attending Vanderbilt University and shares this advice with underclassmen at West York: "Be the best that you can be because you want to, not to meet the expectations of anyone else."

Joshua RinehartMr. Joshua Rinehart is the Salutatorian for the graduating class of 2014! His accomplishments include maintaining a grade point average of 100.8%, appearing on the Summa Cum Laude Honor Roll, and regularly appearing on the Distinguished Honor Roll. He is a member of the Golf and Volleyball teams, serving as Captain of both teams, as well as belonging to the Rocket Club and the Physics Club. While at West York, he received the Bausch and Lomb Science Award, was a three-time YAIAA golf champion, a District III golf champion, and a PIAA qualifier, and hosted a golf tournament benefiting the Four Diamonds fund. He received the Scott Shoff Memorial Scholarship and plans to attend Penn State, University Park. Mr. Rinehart leaves his fellow West York students with this quote from St. Jerome: "Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best."

Congratulations to Ms. Purtell and Mr. Rinehart!

Ms. Bryant Honored at Banquet

Ms. Sharon Bryant, fourth grade teacher at Lincolnway Elementary, received WGAL 8's 2014 Teacher Impact Award at a banquet on May 19th held at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel. Ms. Bryant was one of only five winners of the award, which was presented by Ms. Kim Lemon of WGAL 8 and Ms. Ann Keim of Rotary International District 7390. Madge Myers, the student who nominated Ms. Bryant, and her family attended the banquet, along with Ms. Bryant's family and friends and a large assemblage of WYASD faculty and staff who were there to show both their pride and appreciation for her outstanding work as a West York teacher.

Each year, WGAL 8 honors teachers selected from all around the Susquehanna Valley who have, according to WGAL 8's website "influenced students' lives, academically and personally." This year, Ms. Bryant, chosen from over 250 nominees, was the only teacher selected from York County.

Ms. Appnel says, "Ms. Bryant's use of West York's Main Things, including Differentiated Instruction and Technology Implementation, along with high expectations, ensures growth and challenges for her students. A neat thing happens when you visit her classroom - everyone becomes a part of the learning. She continues to support students before and after school by coordinating Chess Club as well as collaboratively coaching Envirothon Teams with other teachers. Ms. Bryant teaches students accountability for their decisions in a way that translates easily to choices made throughout the school day and life. Her recognition is an honor for us all at Lincolnway and in West York!"

A feature on Ms. Bryant aired May 23rd, on WGAL 8's News at 5 as part of a weekly segment celebrating the Teacher Impact Award Winners.

Ms. Bryant Honored at Banquet

April 30th Reconfiguration Meeting Presentation

As promised, the presentation from the April 30th Reconfiguration Meeting can be viewed here

Elementary Reconfiguration FAQs

For more information about the elementary reconfiguration proposal, please see the attached list of frequently asked questions and their answers. Thank you to all of you for your consideration in submitting questions and your continued support as we work to meet the needs of our West York Bulldogs.

Our Comprehensive Plan

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires that every school district, AVTS, and charter school in Pennsylvania develop and file a comprehensive plan every six years in order to define and achieve specific measurable goals and organizational transformation.

The West York Area School District is due to renew its Comprehensive Plan in 2014. The Plan is a blueprint for the District's next six years, designed using input from staff, administrators, board members, community members, parents, and community business representatives. The process requires broad support from the community and must reflect its diversity. To achieve this, meetings were held in specialized areas as outlined below:

  • Academic Standards & Assessment: February 19 in the middle school library
  • Special Education: February 26 and March 3 in the high school library
  • Technology: March 12 in the middle school cafeteria
  • Professional Education/Development: March 17 in the middle school library
  • Reflection Meeting: April 1 in the middle school cafeteria

Once the plan is complete, it will be reviewed and brought before the Board of Education in the fall for pre-approval. Then it will be on public view for 28 days before final approval, at which point it will be filed with PDE. The deadline for filing is November of 2014.

The District values the combined viewpoint of the various contributors to the plan, and looks forward to the completion of a new Comprehensive Plan that will allow the West York Area School District to put its best foot forward for another six years.

Board Member's View

--Mr. Rodney Drawbaugh, President

Serving on a school board is both rewarding and challenging. It is rewarding for me to be a part of the governing body that provides our children, including four of my own, with educational successes in an increasingly changing environment. I believe West York's Board has done an effective job of providing our administration, faculty, and staff with the resources they need to provide our children with programs of academic and cocurricular excellence. The most significant challenges, however, are financial and stem from Pennsylvania's decrease in public education funding, tax assessment appeals, and dramatically increasing special education costs. The result? West York must furlough teachers, lay off support personnel, and reduce our cocurricular offerings.

Many people have asked this Board why we are investing in our buildings when we are reducing staff, or could we have done something other than furlough teachers. The answer to why we are investing in our buildings is straightforward. All of our students deserve a safe and well-maintained learning environment. Capital investments in our schools will ultimately help maintain our home values, attract highly qualified teachers, and foster a positive learning environment for our children. (Please visit our FAQs for more information.) However, the answer regarding our ability to do something other than furlough teachers requires more explanation. The short answer is, no. For years we diligently worked to be conservative with budgeted monies and squirreled away savings to amass a sizable fund balance to pay for unforeseen expenses and carry us through difficult times. This has helped us either avoid or at least minimize tax increases during some years, and delay furloughs by one full school year. Over the course of the last four years we cut $4.3 million out of our operating budget. It has not been easy, and it caused us to trim or eliminate many resources that used to be available for staff and students. Employees across the District, including superintendents, administrators, faculty, and staff have gone without salary increases one or two years. Every position that became open was carefully scrutinized and often eliminated or reconfigured to save money. Despite our efforts, it was not enough. We must furlough teachers and lay off staff at the end of this school year. The seriousness of these actions and the impact on our academic program, as well as the personal hardships caused by loss of employment, do not escape this Board. The decisions were excruciating. I assure you that if there was anything else that could have been done, we would have unanimously voted to do it.

We must look forward. To that end I remain optimistic that boardsmanship rewards will outweigh the challenges. I believe the Bulldogs, myself included, are stronger than our challenges.  Now is the time to be resourceful and use our talents to bridge the gap until our state-wide public education funding problems are rectified and we rebuild to a leaner, stronger, and smarter West York.

Questions and Answers from February's Board Meeting

During February's School Board Meeting, questions were addressed regarding current events in the district, including impending furloughs and construction projects. Please read the attached notes from the meeting for answers to these questions.

Sports Physicals

The Athletic Department will host sports physicals for the 2014/2015 school year on Tuesday, August 5th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. There will be a $15 fee for physicals.

Reconfiguration Update

The Board of Directors voted in favor of the elementary grade level reconfiguration. This means that beginning in August of 2014 (next school year) all second and third grade students will attend Lincolnway Elementary and all fourth and fifth grade students will attend Trimmer Elementary. With this vote, we understand that many questions will arise regarding transition, classroom assignments, transportation, classroom moves, parent/student communication etc. Now that the vote is finalized, we will be in touch to share the planning process with you for these transitions. Throughout the spring you will receive updates as the plans progress. This move holds limitless potential and opportunity for our faculty and students. We can encourage our students and ease their transition by maintaining a positive outlook and delivering a message that promotes the opportunities and adventure that lie before us. Thank you for your support and patience as we prepare for an amazing 2014-2015 school year! Answers to frequently asked questions are posted below.

Kindergarten Registration

The West York Area School District is currently accepting Kindergarten registration. To be eligible for Kindergarten, a child must be five years of age before September 1, 2014. You may register your child for Kindergarten by calling Ms. Ramp at 717-845-1671 ext. 3016 to schedule an appointment. Please bring to your appointment completed copies of registration forms available on the district website. Paper copies of the same forms can be obtained in the school office at either Loucks or Wallace Elementary Schools.

Please also bring with you the child’s birth certificate, record of immunization dates, and two proofs of residency when registering. One form of residency must be a current tax bill, an original mortgage, an agreement of sale, or a lease or rental agreement, signed by both parties, proving residency at the West York Area School District address. These forms must list the correct address in the parent or guardian’s name. For the second proof of residency, photo ID is preferred. Acceptable documents, showing the identical name and West York address, should be either a valid driver’s license, a valid vehicle owner’s card, a current utility or tax bill, a bank statement, or a paycheck stub.

Kindergarten and first grade classrooms for the District are located at Loucks and Wallace Elementary Schools.

Coaching Vacancies

West York Area School District currently has the following coaching vacancies:

  • Junior High Football Cheerleading Coach
  • Junior High Basketball Cheerleading Coach
  • Junior Varsity Boys Basketball Coach
  • Junior High Boys Basketball Coach
  • Junior High JV Girls Basketball Coach
  • Varsity Track Throwing Coach
  • JH Track Throwing Coach

Applications for these positions will be accepted online on our Employment Opportunities Page.

Dr. Lonardi Named 2014 PA Superintendent of the Year

West York Area School District’s own, Dr. Emilie Lonardi, has been named the 2014 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA). According to the PASA website, this prestigious awards program, established in 1988, “recognizes outstanding individuals on the frontiers of educational leadership.”

Dr. Lonardi, who has served as Superintendent of the West York Area School District in York County for 16 years, is being recognized for her “innovative leadership.” This includes initiating programs that encourage high achievement rates, student accountability and motivation, effective staff evaluation and professional development, and cost-cutting through a campaign called the “West York Way,” which saved the district over $3 million in the last two years. In 2001-2002, she began an initiative based on creating a professional culture that builds teacher capacity and enhances both day-to-day instruction and student growth through a collaborative model that focuses solely on student work.

Dr. Lonardi keeps her constituencies focused on the district’s strategic plan, which provides a clear and consistent message regarding the long- and short-term goals, academic vision, and direction of the district. According to one of her peers, Dr. Lonardi is “a leader who challenges convention, stirs others into action and encourages staff to stretch to the edge of their competence.” 

A special PASA luncheon was held on Friday, November 15th, in Harrisburg to honor Dr. Lonardi’s achievement. She will also be attending the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tennessee, along with the 49 other state honorees.

Academic Performance Improves

Recently, Dr. Emilie M. Lonardi, Superintendent, presented longitudinal data regarding student performance on state-mandated standardized tests. It is not uncommon for schools that have decreased personal wealth in its population to see a similar decrease in student academic performance. Despite the district's declining wealth, our students' Reading and Math scores continue to trend upward, as these graphs demonstrate. The district attributes this success to hard working students, parents, teachers and administrators who remain focused on student academic success, and West York's strong curriculum and intervention programs.

Are You an Alumnus of West York?

We are in the process of creating website resources for our West York alumni. If you would like to receive information about future alumni events, sign up here.>>>

Facilities Improvements Projects FAQs

The School Board wants its constituents and staff to understand why reinvesting funds into its facilities will provide long-term benefits for our next generation of students. To that end, please click here to review FAQs about Facilities Improvement Projects.

Education Foundation for the WYASD

Like all Districts within the state, the West York Area School District (WYASD) faces the prospect of tighter budgets moving forward. In an effort to be proactive, the District has assisted in the formation of an educational foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to secure private, tax-deductible donations and grant money to help fund District programs and resources. The Foundation will operate as an independent entity from the District and receive its governance from its own Board of Directors. Naturally, the Foundation will work in a strong collaborative effort with the School District’s Board. I am honored that the District's Board of Directors elected me to serve as its first representative on the Foundation's Board. I look forward to working side-by-side with Mr. Larry Richardson, Mr. Joseph Connolly, Ms. Lori Toth, Mr. Mark Keim, and Mr. Thomas Eyster, who are all members of the community and are parents of current or former West York students. Mr. Eyster is also a West York alumnus and retired teacher. Administrators from the District have agreed to serve on the Foundation’s Board to assist in providing information and guidance as needed. Dr. Emile Lonardi, Superintendent; Mr. George Fike, Business Manager; and Mr. David Peck, Assistant Business Manager, agreed to serve in this capacity.

The Foundation will be actively seeking corporate support through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).  Mr. Richardson was elected President of the Foundation Board. Mr. Connolly was elected Vice President, and he will chair the Fund Development Committee which will focus heavily on the EITC program as well as identifying major funding sources. Ms. Toth was elected Secretary, and she will chair the Publication and Marketing Committee. Mr. Eyster will chair the Alumni Committee, and Mr. Peck will serve as Treasurer. As the Foundation grows, we anticipate needing other committees, including an Audit & Finance Committee and Allocations Committee. That is where you come in! We are in need of volunteers to organize and serve on various committees to help us market the Foundation and attract benefactors, as well as develop action plans. If you are a member of the WYASD community and have a passion for providing students with enhanced programs, we encourage you to call us at (717) 792 2796 for more information on volunteering, or email us at bulldogmail@wyasd.k12.pa.us.

- By Mr. Rodney Drawbaugh, Board President


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