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Impact: Getting Ready for the Children for School Year 2019-2020


On Monday, August 19th, the Chambersburg Area School District (CASD) will welcome teachers & staff in preparation for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

“Opening Day In-service is an opportunity to start the school year with a common vision and all staff are invited this year due to the critical role they play in the lives our students,” said CASD Superintendent Dr. Dion Betts. “Staff working well together will help to create healthy and productive learning environments for our children.”

Instead of bringing in outside presenters and consultants, the district is using its own expert staff.

Paul Unruh, CASHS teacher, is the keynote presenter and will talk about challenging students intellectually to truly prepare students for college and career and to ensure student achievement.  This is also a time to make our staff feel welcomed and valued. According to Betts, “If we are to ensure that our children feel welcome and valued in school, staff need to feel the same way. Children will only care about the curriculum if we care about them.”

Melissa Unruh, CASHS teacher, worked with many students in creating an impactful video celebrating district educators.

Betts and his team will roll out a newly formulated vision which focuses on “children’s needs and not adult wants”. In interviewing many district stakeholders, Betts said he heard loud and clear that the community would like a heightened focus on students and student achievement.


Vision: Every child achieves in school and attains the skills needed to be successful in the future through a highly collaborative culture of honesty, trustworthiness and passion for our mission of bettering the lives of children

Betts says that by creating conditions for our staff to work together, we can create real genius and positive change.

Betts will also discuss the new district goals which were formulated after working with a wide variety of community stakeholders, employees and the CASD School Board. These include:

  • Student achievement
  • College and career readiness
  • Ensuring that we have the most talented staff through hiring and professional development
  • Financial stability and financial stewardship

Betts will introduce the new district cabinet team which includes:

  • Cathy Dusman, who will now oversee all curriculum and instruction and supervise and all principals
  • Mark Long, Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Improvement who will also supervise and coach all principals with a focus on high school strategy
  • Janilyn Elias, the new Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.
  • Karen Gokay, the district’s In-house Counsel/Director of Human Resources.

The employees of CASD give regularly to the United Way and the Chambersburg Area School District Foundation. For the first time ever, there will be a direct payroll deduction to the District Foundation, making it easier to give. Angie Lynch, Director of the Foundation will present on the Foundations 2019-2020 campaign, entitled “Leaping4Literacy”. The purpose is to raise funds to purchase a mini-library for every child in grade K-5 to take home and keep.