Dear Parents and Community Members,

As a reminder, school will be in session on Thursday, April 13th and on Friday, May 26th. These will serve as the make-up days for inclement weather days that were necessary in March.

In addition to our Spring Break (April 14 – 18, 2017), and building-specific activities (see the District Calendar), there are several community events taking place at South Eastern during the month of April.  Please plan to join us for any or all of the following:

Tuesday, April 11th Mason-Dixon Anti-Drug Task Force Meeting at 6:30 in the Kennard-Dale Cafeteria. Meet the members of the Task Force and consider getting involved with this passionate and committed organization.

Tuesday, April 25th – Comprehensive Planning session in the KD Bistro from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  Based on the traits, skills, and dispositions identified in our Profile of a Graduate created over the past six months, we will be planning for the future of our schools.  Add your voice to the discussion on April 25th and again on May 22nd as we launch the year-long process of strategic planning that will continue throughout the 2017-2018 school year. 

Saturday, April 29th – Community Yard Sale in the KD Student Parking Lot (9:00 – 1:00), Maker Faire in the KD Cafeteria (10:00 – 12:00) and Poetry Slam in the KD Media Center (11:00 – 1:00).  To reserve Yard Sale space, contact Mrs. Buttiens at KDHS.

Your attendance is always welcome at our monthly Board meetings, usually held on the third Thursday of each month.  Please take note that Voting Meetings of the South Eastern Board of School Directors will start promptly at 7:00 p.m. beginning with April 20, 2017 meeting.  This is a time change.  Committee Meetings will continue to start at 6:30 p.m., typically on the first Thursday of each month.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools!

Dr. K

The South Eastern Board of School Directors anticipates making an appointment to the position of Superintendent at a Special Voting Meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Administration Building.  The Board also plans to vote on the Proposed Final Budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year at that same meeting, along with all other business that comes before the Board. 
Screening of the documentary Screenagers has been postponed to Wednesday, March 22nd.  The screening will occur simultaneously at Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary School in the All-Purpose Room and at Kennard-Dale High School in the Auditorium.  Both screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a short discussion period.  For your planning purposes, the event should conclude at approximately 8:00 p.m.  You can learn more about Screenagers at  Please join us for this thought-provoking documentary on the relevant topic of "screen time."
The Superintendent Search Committee of the South Eastern Board of School Directors has recommended two finalists for second round interviews. These interviews will be held on Friday, February 17th, and Friday, February 24th, in the Community Room of the Administration Building.  The schedule includes an opportunity for our community to meet each candidate.  Please plan to attend the Community Forum from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to meet the finalists for the Superintendency of South Eastern School District.

As a reminder, the District will dismiss students early on Friday, February 17th, and be closed to students on Monday, February 20th and Tuesday, February 21st.  We trust our students will enjoy the long weekend and gear up for a strong finish to the 2016-2017 school year upon their return.  Going forward, make-up dates for any inclement weather will be April 13, May 26, and June 9 respectively.  I am hopeful there will not be a need.

We are making arrangements to screen the documentary Screenagers for parents and community members on March 15th at two locations in the district - the Kennard-Dale High School Auditorium and the all-purpose room at Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary.  Both screenings will begin at 6:30; the film is approximately one hour in length.  You can see more about Screenagers at   We believe this documentary is a natural follow up to Most Likely to Succeed, screened earlier this year, and tentatively plan to share Screenagers with our secondary students that same week in March.

As always, thank you for your continued support of South Eastern!


Social-Emotional Learning

As we reflect on 2016 and set goals for 2017, including our work on the District Comprehensive Plan, I believe it is important to share with you our thoughts on social-emotional learning.  Social-emotional learning (SEL) includes the knowledge of and skills necessary to manage our emotions, set goals, express empathy, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  We believe we must be intentional about SEL with our students, and both infuse and explicitly instruct our students in these areas.  Our schools incorporate SEL in various ways using everything from small group discussions on personal space and self-regulation to support groups, mindfulness, and lunch bunch conversations on bully prevention strategies. Sharing random acts of kindness has been an initiative in several of our schools.  In addition, character traits are highlighted and student demonstration of these traits is often rewarded through school incentive programs.  For some of our younger learners, play therapy practices can encourage even the most reluctant students to better express themselves and role play scenarios.

We are focused on the development of the whole child here at South Eastern and building healthy, responsible contributors to the society at large is as important to us as academic achievement.

Thank you for supporting social-emotional learning in our schools.

 Dr. Kaufmann & the SESD Administrative Team 

Personalized learning – a phrase you will hear often in educational circles – is instruction that is focused on the individual student’s needs.  The personalized learning experience is tailored to student learning preferences and often includes the specific personal interests of learners.  All of us in the SESD learning community are continually growing as professionals in order to acquire the expertise necessary to shift our instructional practices to such an approach.  The stand and deliver method of instruction that many of you and I know from our public school years is no longer meeting the needs of our student population.  Teachers are no longer the sole keepers of content; their roles have shifted.  Technology serves as a tool that enables anyone to access content…anytime, anywhere.  That includes our students, who are curious and motivated to learn things about which they are keenly interested.

Our efforts to shift instructional practices at SESD have included the implementation of hybrid learning in our Intermediate and Middle Schools.  What we mean by hybrid learning is an embedding, or blending, of electronic resources with typical resources that allows us to truly personalize instruction.  In order to assist our teachers in making the instructional shift away from the stand and deliver model, we have incorporated and trained our staff on the three-station rotation model of instruction.  This rotation includes a direct instruction station – the teacher working directly with a group of students to teach a skill or concept – a very familiar instructional practice to all of us.  The station rotation also includes a collaboration station – in which students work as small teams to solve a problem, complete a project, or conduct a discussion related to the skill or concept being taught.  The third station is the independent station at which individual students are able to work at their own pace on skills specific to their individual needs via resources delivered through technology.  The three-station rotation model allows teachers to flexibly group students as needed across the stations and maintain smaller groups for learning in each.

Although we are experiencing some growing pains with this new methodology, we firmly believe it is in the best interest of the students we serve, particularly in the intermediate and middle school grades.  Across the district, there are shifts in instructional practices and amazing innovation taking place.  All schools have makerspaces and many of our teachers are incorporating opportunities for Genius Hour – time allotted to students to allow them to study and learn something about which they are interested.  Our goal is to get our students excited about learning again by improving student engagement, giving them student voice and ownership of their learning, and encouraging them to create, think critically, problem solve, and better communicate what they learn.  Those are the skills future employers and post-secondary educational institutions are seeking.  We owe it to our students to arm them with 21st century skills.

Feel free to schedule a time to visit our schools to see for yourself the innovative teaching and learning taking place. You can follow me on Twitter (@drronakaufmann) to see snapshots of activities throughout our district, visit our District Facebook page for regular updates, or land on our website for schedules and general information. It is important to all of us that you are informed about the progress we are making here at South Eastern.  Thank you for your continued support of our schools. Together we can ensure we are providing progressive education to strengthen the global community.

Most Likely to Succeed Follow Up Meeting - October 4, 2016
Approximately twenty of us - parents, community members, teachers, and administrators - gathered last evening in the Kennard-Dale Media Center to further discuss the re-imagining of our district's schools. The conversation was rich and insightful. We brainstormed a list of skills and dispositions to include in our "Profile of a KD Graduate."  Our intent is to finalized this profile at our next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, November 1st, at 6:00 pm in the KD Media Center.   We invite you to join the effort as we begin the process of building the Comprehensive Plan for our district.

Makerspaces?  What are they?  Why do we need them?

Do you remember our April Community Build, held the day of the KD Yard Sale?  That was a makerspace.  Makerspaces are creative, do-it-yourself spaces where people gather to create, invent, and learn. These spaces usually contain a variety of materials, including craft and hardware supplies, tools, 3D printers, software, electronics, and more.  The act of making promotes and advances curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.  In our efforts to inspire innovative thinking in our students, we have added makerspaces in each of our six schools here at South Eastern.  It is our hope that makerspaces will inspire students to explore and excel in STEAM (science, technology, art, engineering and math) subjects; enable them to connect their learning to real-world, authentic problems; and serve to improve their level of engagement with school in general.  In this issue of The Ram’s Horn, we highlight two of our school makerspaces – the Stewartstown Elementary STEAM Station and the South Eastern Middle School Media Center Makerspace. If you wish to see one of our makerspaces firsthand, plan to join us for a Maker Faire in the SEMS Media Center on Thursday, October 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.


South Eastern is a remarkable school system indeed and I am honored to be a part of the innovative work happening here. I continue to be impressed with our students and the amazing and creative approaches our teachers take to ensure all of them grow as learners and individuals. 

The screening of Most Likely to Succeed was quite successful. Thank you to those of you who were able to attend.  The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Next steps include a follow up meeting at Kennard-Dale on Tuesday, October 4th at 6:00 p.m. At that meeting, we will begin conversation about the future of our schools by crafting a profile of a graduate, and then use the profile to drive our discussions related to the next District Comprehensive Plan. Please join us if your schedule permits.

The South Eastern administration, faculty and student body join me in inviting you to visit our schools to see for yourself the innovative teaching and learning taking place. You can follow me on Twitter (@drronakaufmann) to see snapshots of activities throughout our district, visit our District Facebook page for regular updates, or land on our website for schedules and general information. It is important to all of us that you are informed about the progress we are making here at South Eastern.

The 2016-2017 school year is off to an amazing start!  Our awesome student learners have returned to teacher facilitators who have spent all summer in preparation by attending workshops, participating in online classes, and redesigning lessons to best engage and meet the needs of all students.  Our goal here at South Eastern is to produce lifelong learners who are excellent communicators, collaborators, creative and critical thinkers, and are well prepared to enter the world of work or academia. Our hope is that you will partner with us to make this year a year of excellent learning experiences for your child.  All of us at SESD, in providing progressive education to strengthen the global community are diligently working towards making our vision of the future a reality:  We envision a community of learners engaged in continuous improvement that will meet the challenges of the 21st century; graduates will be confident and well prepared to excel in a complex, interconnected, changing world.
South Eastern is an inclusion, caring community.  When members of our community suffer loss or tragedy, we offer assistance and support.  I believe that through our compassion for each other, we all become empowered.  We welcome financial contributions to our District Emergency Fund - a special fund established with charitable contributions  - that serves to help students and their families in need.  Should you wish to contribute to the SESD Emergency Fund, please contact our Business Office at 717.382.4843 ext. 6221.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our first ever South Eastern Community Build!  The Kennard-Dale cafeteria was buzzing with action which included robotics and 3D printer demonstrations and a wide variety of makerspace projects.  Check out the district Facebook page, website, or my Twitter account (@drronkaufmann) for photos!  Hopefully there is a clearer vision of what we are planning to do in our schools.  In the fall, we will have makerspaces available - places in which our students can innovate, build, and learn!  If you have questions about the makerspace or any of our district initiatives, feel free to contact me at the Administration Building.  We are always looking for community participation and feedback!
Dr. K 
March 28, 2016
It is officially Spring!  In addition, when students return to classrooms following Spring Break on Wednesday, March 30th, they will begin the final quarter of the 2015-2016 school year.  There are many important student activities that take place between now and the end of the school year.  Kindergarten registrations in our three elementary schools will be as follows: Fawn Area on April 6 & 7, Stewartstown on April 28 & 29, and Delta-Peach Bottom on May 2 & 3.  The PSSA assessments will be administered to students in grades 3 through 8 beginning on April 11th and continuing through the end of the month (check your school for specifics of the testing schedule).  Early May is a time of Spring Concerts throughout the district; check the district calendar for dates and times.  The Keystone Exam testing window opens in mid-May this year, during which students will take Algebra, Literature, and Biology end-of-course assessments.  Although the Keystones as a graduation requirement has been delayed, student performance on them is still important to our district in terms of reporting adequate yearly progress.
Keep in mind that we have navigated all of this school year to date without a state budget.  Just yesterday, House Bill 1801 became law. What does this mean for us?  We will receive state funding (at 2014-2015 levels) to enable us to pay our bills through the end of the fiscal year.  There will be no PlanCon reimbursement for the time being, which means the state will not be sending us the close to $1 million that is due to South Eastern as a result of our elementary renovations.  At the end of the day, while it may be unnecessary for us to tap reserves to get us through the year, come June 30th, I suspect we will be in the same place.  In my opinion, it is highly unlikely the governor and legislators will be able to agree on and pass a budget for 2016-2017 in the next three months.  As a result, we ask for your patience and understanding. The Board of School Directors, Administrative Team, Faculty, and Staff will work together to best meet the needs of our students.
As always, thank you for your continued support of our schools,
Dr. K 

Dear teachers, students, and parents,

During the week of February 29 - March 4, I will be participating in the Shadow a Student Challenge. I will be part of a national community of school leaders clearing our calendars, silencing our walkie-talkies, throwing on sneakers, and immersing ourselves in student life for a day. My goal is to improve the student experience at South Eastern by better understanding the student perspective.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, do not treat me as your superintendent.  Instead, I will be a student for the day from the first to the last bell.

Teachers: I will not be evaluating you on your teaching methods. Treat me as you would one of your students.

Students: I am not there to watch your behavior. I will be sitting at a desk next to you, as one of your peers.

Parents: I am doing this because of my commitment to improving the student experience in our school district.

Learn more about Shadow a Student Challenge at 

You can follow me on Twitter at @drronakaufmann to get updates on my experience throughout the day (assuming I am permitted to use my phone).

Thanks for your support.


Dr. K



Thankfully the temperatures have warmed and soon there may be no evidence of the 30+ inches of snow that fell.  Thank you PennDot, bus contractors, Mr. Kunkle, and our awesome Buildings & Grounds employees!  We could not have returned to some semblance of normalcy as soon as we did without your tremendous efforts.  Please know that we appreciate all of you!

All SESD students will still have the February 15th holiday.  As a result of our closures, school will be in session on Tuesday, February 16th, with the exception of Stewartstown.  Stewartstown students (ONLY, and YES, this includes the Kindergarten classes temporarily housed at Fawn Area) will have NO SCHOOL on February 16th OR 17th.  Teachers will be working on the 16th & 17th to prepare their classrooms following the move from Chanceford over the weekend prior.  Stewartstown Elementary School will officially reopen to students and staff on Thursday, February 18th.  Watch for information on a dedication ceremony later this spring.  With the completion of renovations at Stewartstown, SESD will have reached the end of our two-year PlanCon project.  Thank you to our elementary families across the district for your patience and cooperation during the renovation process.  We are proud of the results and hope you are, too.  

Happy 2016!
As expected, the federal government approved the Every Student Succeeds Act.  During the new year, I am certain we will learn what exactly this means for Pennsylvania public schools.  Governor Wolf has released both federal dollars and six month's worth of state basic education funding; we expect to received that payment today.  We are hopeful a resolution to the budget impasse will be found.  It is quite difficult to budget for 2016-2017 when we have not received official notification of the final PA budget numbers for the current fiscal year.  Please know that our students have received and will continue to receive the best education we can provide, in spite of the dysfunction in Harrisburg.
On a district-focused note, the elementary renovations project is quickly coming to a close.  We anticipate relocating the Stewartstown staff and student body to their home school in mid-February,  This will mean the Stewartstown students will likely have two additional vacation days tacked on to the February holiday weekend that is currently scheduled.   More information will be shared directly with parents of students at Stewartstown in the upcoming weeks.
We have been fortunate thus far and had no weather-related delays or cancellations.  As a reminder, when decisions are made, information is promptly shared with you via Twitter (@drronakaufmann), School Messenger (telephone calls to numbers you have designated to receive them), as well as the District Facebook page and website.  Local television and radio channels will continue to be notified.  Keep in mind that typically when school is closed, there are no after school activities; however, sometimes the weather conditions do allow us to make case-by-case decisions.  Your best source of information  for those updates will continue to be our social media accounts - Twitter, Facebook, and the SESD website.
Thank you for your support of South Eastern School District. 

Good news!  Things are looking good that there will be a reauthorization of ESEA.  The bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, reduces the authority of the federal government in education policy, shifting that authority to states to make decisions about academic standards, teacher evaluations, and underperforming schools.  The bill still requires annual testing in grades 3 – 8 and once in high school; however, states will have the flexibility to determine what accountability measures to attach to the testing.  The states will be required to intervene in the bottom 5% of schools and in schools with low graduation rates and deliver targeted interventions (which may impact Title I funding).  The biggest news is that the supersubgroup will be no more.  Civil Rights groups have fought against this statistical technique that allows states to combine subgroups for accountability purposes.  Although it is not clear what the disaggregated data will look like in the end, my guess is that it will be as it originally was – and accountability for each subgroup will be considered separately.  This overdue reauthorization of ESEA will be good for public education.   



by Dr. Kaufmann


As we all know, November is a time to be grateful, to give thanks.  It seems very appropriate that this is also the time of yer when we acknowledge the contributions of our retiring Board of School Directors to whom we all owe a tremendous amount of gratitude.  Our district has made tremendous strides under their governance.


Rich Magnifico, from the Delta area, is a retiring 2-year Board member who came to us with expertise in school finance and has been a key influencer during budget season.  He has kept the district steadily focused on continuous improvement of student achievement.  Rich is a peacemaker, and a true gentleman in every way.  We thank him for his service to our Board.


Fawn Area representative Jane Mueller has served a 4-year term on the Board, serving as the Board President one of those years.  Jane has sadly been absent from public eye over the past year; however, she remains a strong supporter of our district. 


Jennifer Tobias, Stewartstown, is leaving our Board after serving for five years, three of those as the Board President.  She is a strong advocate for what was in the best interest of our students, has encouraged innovation as we enhanced our program offerings, and can frequently be found volunteering in our schools.  Jen walks the talk.  Her unwavering dedication to our community as a Board member will be sorely missed.


Delta resident and 8-year member of the South Eastern Board, Tonia Wright, has been forward thinking, a strong advocate for STEM-related course expansion as well as properly preparing all students for college and career.  We appreociate her faith in the Administrative Team because we have not implemented the many initiatives she championed as quickly as might have liked.  Tonia was recognized at the November 19th South Eastern Board meeting as an Honor Roll recipient by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for her years of service.


Please join me in thanking our departing members, who will pass the torch to the new members of the South Eastern Board at the December 3rd meeting.

   As we pause today to remember the over 3,000 men and women who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on our nation in 2001, we must also recognize the heroic efforts of our first responders on that date and each day thereafter.  These are the individuals who daily risk their lives to ensure the safety and security of each of us.   Our local first responders have proven over and over again to this community how exceptional they are. To them, I say THANK YOU! 
   Drugs 101: A Survival Guide for Parents was well attended last evening, as part of the Kennard-Dale Back-to-School Event.  Over 175 individuals were present in the auditorium for the informative presentation by the Susan Byrnes Health Educatino Center.  At South Eastern, we take the health and well-being of our students and staff very seriously and work hard to address the social-emotional and behavioral as well as the academic needs of our school community.  Many members of our Board of School Directors, administrative team, and faculty sit on the Mason-Dixon Anti-Drug Task Force, formed over a year ago in Delta.  In addition, KD Principal Heather Venne launched a KD Anti-Drug Task Force last school year.  Your participation is encouraged.  If you wish to know more about either organization or learn more about our efforts to  educate our students about the dangers of drug use, feel free to contact me.
   It has been my pleasure to see many of you at our Open House and Back-to-School events throughout the district over the past few weeks.  Next Thursday, September 17th, at 6:00 pm, we will hold our dedication ceremony at Fawn Area Elementary School.  Please plan to join us and see the renovations for yourself.  On Friday, September 25th, I will host my first Coffee with Kaufmann for the 2015-2016 school year. The topic for this session will be digital learning.  Coffee with Kaufmann runs from 9:00 to 10:00 am.
   Wishing you and your family good health for the upcoming fall season. You are critical partners with us in this educational journey...please stay in touch with us.

The students' first day has been my favorite day of the school year for many, many years.  It was a great first day with students across the district!  Smiles were plentiful and you could feel the enthusiasm and energy in the air.  We are off to a tremendous start and look forward to continuing the pattern of excellence in educating the whole child that has been at the core of South Eastern's mission.  Thank you for choosing us to educate your children and partnering with us to build positive relationships that will benefit our entire community.
In case you have not heard, the cut scores for the 2015 PSSA have been set.  According to the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA), this was done by “panels of educators and administrators who analyzed test questions and their alignment to the PA Common Core in the process of finalizing and recommending performance levels.”  The cut scores, which were set after the test results were calculated,  have apparently resulted in a sharp decline in the percentages of students scoring proficient and advanced.   On average, the state is predicting a 25 percent drop for English/Language Arts and a 51 percent drop for mathematics.  

We will soon know how this process will impact South Eastern; however, I want to be clear in my communication that 1) The  2015 PSSA was based on the PA Common Core Standards and reflects additional rigor compared to the 2014 tests, and 2) Scores are expected to improve over time as younger students, who have been exposed to updated academic standards and more rigorous curriculum for several years, are tested.


Once again, I am disheartened by standardized tests…and what they fail to tell us about student achievement.  Unfortunately, these are things beyond the control of local educational leaders and school districts.  What we do control, however, is our reaction to the release of these scores.  Let’s try to keep it in proper perspective.  Our students are achieving.  Our teachers are phenomenal and work hard each and every day to ensure student progress and overall success.  Even if the scores themselves are not worthy of celebration, our student progress, solid instructional practices, well-developed and refined curriculum, and quality resources are.  It is about preparing children for their futures and we do that well at South Eastern.  Let’s celebrate that!


Here it is mid-July!  Members of the SESD Administrative Team are diligently working on plans for next year.  Elementary renovations are continuing at Fawn with the goal to be completed prior to Opening Day.  Stewartstown Elementary staff have relocated to Chanceford and we have begun the HVAC renovations and roof replacement in earnest.  We continue to appreciate your patience and support as we update our three elementary schools and move to more energy efficient heating and air conditioning with geothermal systems.

School will begin for students on August 20th.  The times for student arrival and dismissal will remain unchanged for the entire 2015-2016 school year.  All of us at South Eastern are looking forward to continued excellence in teaching and learning.  Thank you for choosing us to educate your children!
What follows are the words I shared at our 2015 Commencement on Friday, June 5, 2015:
Good evening, Class of 2015.  Congratulations and best wishes to you and your families as you celebrate this landmark achievement.

Seniors, your life is a story. As one chapter in your life’s story ends, another begins…and tonight is a pivotal point.  So let’s pause and look back.  Reflect for a moment on your story until this very moment.

The setting of your story, this place – the home in which you were raised, the schools you attended, the larger community that is South Eastern – has had a major impact on who you have become.  Breathe it in, savor it, appreciate it.  It is a special place. 

The characters of your story, these people – your family members, teachers, friends – have embraced you, encouraged you, pushed and stretched you, supported you, and loved you, as you have grown into the individual you are today.  Sometimes we have no way of knowing how we have impacted another. Take time to thank those who have guided you and made sacrifices for you along the way. They deserve to know that they have made a difference in your life’s journey. A youtube video that was recently shared with me, thanking KD French teacher Shayne Joyce is a great example; however, a simple thank-you will also suffice.  Just make sure you do it in some way.

Now let’s look forward – to your future, the one you create, the story you write beginning now. Ask yourself two questions:
  • What do I do well?
  • and
  • What do I love to do?

Public schools are designed to help you figure out the answer to the first question.  A great source of pride for our district is that we maintain an extensive list of exploratory options – fine arts, technical education, agriculture, business education, technology related courses, and athletics – to allow you opportunities to discover your strengths. We all know what some of us do well…take Graeme Slonaker as an example, but not all of us have such natural talent or have worked as hard to develop it. Think for a moment about what it is that you do well. If you are unsure, that is fine, too. You will figure it out.  Your life’s journey will provide many opportunities for you to discover and develop your skills and abilities. Be open to trying new things; you may find that you have talent that you did not realize you possessed. But whatever it is you do, do it with conviction and intensity.  Hard work pays off.

The second question – what do I love to do – relates to purpose.  What you love to do will be rooted in meaning and likely will evolve as you expand your horizons, experience new topics of interest, and try on various roles. In other words, what you love to do may change…more than once. The most important piece to remember is that when you find purpose, when something becomes particularly meaningful to you, when you love what you do, you will find great personal joy.  You will have found your passion, my friends.

My best advice to you as you embark on this next phase of your life’s journey is to seek out that passion and then pursue it with everything you have. Whether that is tomorrow or five or ten years from now or both, only you will know.  But when you find it, GO FOR IT!  Put yourself in a position to be “all in.”  You will be challenged and testing, but you will also be gratified.  Meaning and purpose in life matter; they will bring you tremendous self-satisfaction and great joy.

Remember, you write the story of your life.  Write a great one!  Congratulations, Class of 2015 and please stay in touch!

It's May!  Thank you for working with us and supporting our efforts here at South Eastern during the school year.  Thank you for sending your children to school every day on time, for setting high expectations, and for encouraging best effort.  Thank you for volunteering in our schools and attending school events.  We could not do what we do without you...we salute our PARENTS and greatly appreciate all that you do!


We are finishing the state assessments (PSSAs) this week and I must tell you, in all my years of involvement in testing, this has been the most brutal.  Our students and staff are on overload.  The assessments are more rigorous and, therefore, more challenging to students.  Due to the directives of the state, teachers are unable to answer specific questions and, as a result, are not able to function in their typical roles of helper, supporter, lead learner.  It has been tough to watch the stress manifest in our little and big people and not be able to do anything about it…other than encourage and support.   The time for our federal government to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is long past due.  No Child Left Behind legislation is no longer valid.  We are losing too much valuable instructional time and the assessments are simply not worth it.  I realize this is my opinion, but I thought it important to share with all of you.  I am vocal regarding my disagreement with the direction we have gone as a nation – and not likely to stop anytime soon. 


With that being said, you must know that GREAT things are happening in our district each and every day, in spite of what I reference as the intrusions to our mission.  You can follow me on Twitter (@drronakaufmann)  to see just a sampling of the wonderful classroom activities, initiatives, fundraising, and events that take place here at South Eastern.  On Saturday, May 9th, I invite you to stop by the Community Yard Sale that will be taking place here on main campus.  In addition to flea market type tables, there will be fun activities for children and information for adults as well as ethnic food trucks for everyone.  This can be a fabulous community event…but we need your participation!   


As the year comes to a close, check the district calendar for concerts and other school events, such as awards programs and the South Eastern Dollars for Scholars awards ceremony.  May tends to be an extremely busy month.  We hope you will be able to join us for many of these school-related events.  As a reminder, graduation for the Class of 2015 will take place on Friday, June 5th, at 7:00 p.m.  Assuming Mother Nature cooperates, the ceremony will be held on our athletic field.  All of us at SESD are looking forward to a fun-filled month ahead and a smooth ending to the 2014-2015 school year.  Thank you for your continued support of our district!
e is new research out of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School (by management professor Peter Cappelli) related to career planning that I found quite interesting.  The latest trends will surprise you.  The study suggests that extracurricular experiences, such as internships, drive employability better than college majors based on the job market.  The take-aways?  Delay your choice of major as long as possible.  In the end, the study finds that employability after students graduate is driven by things other than their college education.  The college education perhaps should be viewed as just that – the college education – and not directly connected to any specific career or job.  Instead, explore opportunities for experiences beyond the classroom (i.e., internships).


The other surprising finding related to STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – and the belief that we need more STEM graduates.  Cappelli found no evidence to support the misperception that graduates in these fields actually get jobs.  He asserts the percentages of those with STEM degrees that are hired in STEM careers is actually between less than two-thirds.  The take-away?  If you assume that obtaining a STEM degree will solve your problem and ensure you are employed, that does not seem to be true.


What does this all mean?  In Cappelli’s words “There’s plenty of time, you’ve got the rest of your life to worry about your career. And your success is going to have more to do with how you manage those points than anything you can do about it in high school or even in college for that matter. So I think the advice for parents is things are going to get better, they’re already starting to get better. And worrying about it right now doesn’t do very much good because there’s not much that’s going to matter.”

My advice to our students...TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES WE OFFER AT KD!  These experiences could end up being the ones that REALLY matter!


February is American Heart Month.  Here at South Eastern, we partner with the American Heart Association on a variety of initiatives. Staff members voluntarily serve as organizers and facilitators. For example, in December a Jump Rope for Heart event was held at Chanceford Elementary School (organized by Delta Peach Bottom Elementary School teacher Joanne Hebert).  This week (February 2 – 6), Stewartstown Elementary teacher Robert Holmes is facilitating a Jump Rope for Heart event. Later this month, a district-wide Red Out event organized by KD teacher Amy Fisher, will be held on Friday, February 13th.  Hoops for Heart events are planned for SEMS East (organized by teacher Bob Rudicill) and SEMS-West (by teacher organizers Betsy Miller and Eric Shive) on February 20th and 23rd
respectively. I share this information with you as I believe it is important for you to know about the great work being done in our schools that has impact beyond our district boundaries. Additionally, these same initiatives directly impact the wellness of our staff, students, and families. Please join me in thanking the SESD employees who make these things happen!

Follow me on Twitter @drronakaufmann

It is December...most noteworthy in our district as the month of wonderful holiday concerts and not-so-wonderful weather challenges.  Please refer to the District calendar (or this website) for dates and times of those fabulous musical performances.  As for the weather conundrums, unfortunately for all us, they are not scheduled in advance.  Meteorologists are not always accurate in their predictions and often those of us who make the final decisions are making them based on the information we have at the time.  Hindsight is not one of them.  Please know that I take the role very seriously and would never purposely put students or staff in harm's way. 


September’s Coffee with Kaufmann was held at Eureka Fire Hall on September 24th.  I was fortunate that evening to have Fawn Grove Boy Scout Pack 83, accompanied by WEBELOS Den Leader Brian Reed, Karey Reed, and several other parents and siblings.  The boys - Odin Woods, Joshua Schrader, Jack Crowl, and Alex Reed - were well-prepared to complete the requirements for their Citizen Activity Badge.  Each scout  had questions for me – most of which were specific to my position as the Superintendent of Schools.  I thoroughly enjoyed responding to their excellent questions and believe it may have been my best coffee to date! 

Education has been in a state of constant change during my entire 34-year career.  Never, however, has there been so much change in such a short period of time.  Economic climate and technological advances have combined to impact public education in unpredictable ways.  Ironically, when revenue sources have fallen to an all-time low, the federal and state mandates that have impacted  public education (unfunded, I might add) have risen to an all-time high. Nonetheless, South Eastern continues to offer a vibrant, challenging, and yes, progressive education to all students . We forge forward – making decisions in the best interest of the students we serve – always mindful of the bottom line to the district taxpayers. 
Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary School’s renovations are proceeding according to plan while the Delta students and staff have taken up temporary residence at Chanceford Elementary School.  Camp Chanceford, as it is now affectionately known, has become Delta’s home away from home until the end of the calendar year at which time Fawn Area Elementary School students and staff will assume temporary residency.  Although challenging to the adults behind the scenes (think Director of Transportation and Principals), our students seem to have adjusted to their new home quite easily.
The 2014-2015 school year is off to a tremendously smooth start due to the collective efforts of parents, staff, and students.  We thank you for your continued support as we focus on our mission – providing progressive education to strengthen the global community. 


Here we are in August, ready to welcome students for the 2014-2015 school year!  The South Eastern staff is anxiously awaiting the return of those friendly young faces and we truly expect the upcoming year to be a spectacular one!


New this year at South Eastern:


During renovations of the district’s three elementary schools, Chanceford Elementary (Red Lion School District) will be leased for temporary use.  Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary will temporarily relocate to Chanceford in the fall and Fawn Area Elementary will do so in the spring of the 2014-2015 school year. 


The fifth grade classes in the Middle School West will engage in a hybrid learning program through a partnership with Lincoln IU 12 and Dellicker Strategies.  In addition, South Eastern will implement a one-to-one initiative (computer to student ratio) in the Middle School East (grades 7 & 8).  The district will also continue to expand the South Eastern Cyber Academy and blended learning opportunities for students in grades 5 through 12, add Advanced Placement Biology and Electronics to the high school course offerings, and implement a new bell schedule at Kennard-Dale High School.  Seven additional professional development opportunities for staff members have been embedded in the district calendar through scheduled student early dismissal days – August 29, September 19, October 10, November 11, February 13, March 11, and May 13.


Student hours for the school year will be as follows:

K – Grade 6        8:50 – 3:45

Grades 7 & 8      7:25 – 2:25

Grades 9 – 12     7:25 – 2:36


Thank you for choosing us to educate your children!


Dr. Kaufmann

South Eastern School District…providing progressive education
to strengthen the global community.

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