Gearing up for a new school year

Jimmy Conley and Tim Hoffman are ready for the new school year, even if students might not be.

Conley is the principal at Unionville High School and Hoffman is his middle school counterpart. Both said their faculties and staffs are ready for when classes resume Monday.

For Patton Middle School, however, some of the building — the auditorium — won’t be accessible to students until mid September. The auditorium is being renovated and the roof is being repaired as well. Hoffman said there wouldn’t be any major disruption, but he is looking forward to having the work completed.

School Principals Tim Hoffman of Patton Middle School, right, and Jimmy Conly UHS principal, show their joint spirit by wearing each other's spirit shirts.

School Principals Tim Hoffman of Patton Middle School, right, and Jimmy Conly UHS principal, show their joint spirit by wearing each other's spirit shirts.

“I told the staff we might consider moving the Back to School Night for the parents back, maybe have them in a week or two later so parents can be in the new auditorium and everybody can see it,” Hoffman said during a picnic on the lawn between the two schools.

He said the new auditorium would be similar to the one at the high school, with an enlarged stage, improved sightlines and ADA approved side aisles.

“It looks awesome. It has a lot of the same architectural features as the high school auditorium and the same coloring.”

In addition to the roof repairs and the renovated auditorium, there will also be a new entranceway.

Beyond changes to the physical plant, new for the upcoming school year will be each of Patton’s students will be getting Chromebook tablets and teachers will be using Canvas Learning Management, a software tool where they will put lessons and assignments. Hoffman said that once teachers upload assignments to Canvas, those assignments would automatically go to the students’ personal calendars.

Conley said the focus at the high school is to become “world class.”

Renovations continue at CF Patton Middle School. Principal Tim Hoffman said the auditorium should be ready by mid September.

Renovations continue at CF Patton Middle School. Principal Tim Hoffman said the auditorium should be ready by mid September.

“At the high school we’re talking about being world class, having a world class vision for our staff, a world class vision for or students. It means we’re great, but can always be better,” the second-year principal said. “My hashtag for Twitter is #URWorldclass, with U meaning Unionville.”

Getting into some concretes, Conley said being world class means focusing on what the school already has going for it, and improving on those things.

“One concrete is how we work with the middle school, the PLCs, our Professional Learning Communities…having my ninth-grade teachers working with Tim’s eighth-grade teachers and how the [students] transition to the high school, seeing what are the great things that are happening as they move with us. It’s a matter of building a sense of community,” Conley said.

He added it’s also a matter of building culture and spirit.

“Last year we talked about catching the spirit. That’s not just a one-year thing. It’s a continuous process. And another concrete is that we continue to hire world-class staff.”

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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