Silva named new UHS Ass’t. Principal; Suspension policy moves forward

By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

Steve Silva, new UHS assistant principal, is flanked by his wife Christy and UHS principal Jimmy Conley.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Unionville Chadds-Ford School Board unanimously approved the appointment of Steven Silva as the new Assistant Principal at Unionville High School.  He is replacing Rudy Reif, who is retiring.  Silva was formally the Assistant Principal at Penncrest High School, part of the Rose Tree Media School District.

In other personnel news, former staffer Jim Fulginiti was nominated for the position of interim Assistant Principal at Charles F. Patton Middle School, replacing Devon Layton.

The District also came to an early agreement with the teachers’ union on a 2019-2023 four-year contract. It includes an annual 2.99% base salary increase.  The contract will be voted on in April and is on the district’s website for review.

The board settled on a suspension rescission policy that will be formally presented at the March 19th board meeting.  The policy will be retroactive to the start of the 2017-18 school year.  It would allow students with an otherwise clean disciplinary record to apply for the rescission of a single suspension.

If it is approved–which, based on board member comments, is likely–Unionville will be the only school district in Pennsylvania offering such a program.  Board member Bob Sage noted that though this program may be unique, it is actually very much in line with policies previously adopted by PA legislators.  PA law allows for the expungement of certain minor infractions, such as traffic tickets, after a period of legal behavior.

Board member Elise Anderson summed up many board members’ views.  “We have been looking–all of us—have been looking at this from every angle for a very long time and thinking very deeply.  None of this is taken lightly, and I think we’d all like to be able to look at this policy–at least I would–without it being colored by anything that happened this fall in the school year.  It’s not the case, not the reality. However, that said, I believe the rescission is something that should be in our policy regardless.”

Anderson continued, “I think in light (that) everyone makes mistakes, and especially a first-time mistake, everyone should be afforded the opportunity to learn.  We have it (the mission statement) in our buildings, we subscribe to our mission and it seems very logical to me that rescission is a part of it, as an option that would have to be earned.  It would not be earned by all, or maybe by not even many, but even in the process of applying for it, it would be a teaching moment and a self-reflection moment for students.  And I think it’s a win-win from that standpoint as well.”

The district mission statement is, “Empower each student to succeed in life and contribute to society.”

The impetus for the six-month long discussion on modifying the suspension policy was an incident that occurred during a fall football game, where students were suspended for violating the alcohol policy.  According to a resident’s comment made during a previous meeting, some of those students were apprehended after the fact without any physical proof.  Some in the community and on the board did not think the situation was handled justly.

Although some board members thought the policy draft was still too prescriptive, it will be presented for a first read next week and voted on in April.

“Nothing is perfect,” board member Gregg Lindner lamented.

The rescission policy as presented can be found here.  Note that the last line of the policy will be changed.  The district will still report suspensions, unless they are rescinded, on college applications.

Next up: Board Meeting March 19th at 7:30 in Chadds-Ford Elementary.  It will be broadcasted live on the UCFSD web site.

All board meetings are open to the public.  They are broadcasted live (and archived) on the UCFSD web site.

Board documents related to the work session:

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