Public Events Announced for the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan

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Here is some information about upcoming public events in Lancaster from a press release regarding the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan. 

The Lancaster County Planning Commission, the City of Lancaster, and the Lancaster Intermunicpal Committee announce a series of upcoming events for the public to review, comment, and learn more about plans to encourage cycling and walking throughout the county. The Lancaster Active Transportation Plan is a joint effort by all three entities to work together to build a network of offroad and on-road cycling facilities as well as expand the system of sidewalks and trails in urban, suburban and rural areas. The network would be designed for both recreation purposes and commuting to and from work. In addition, the plan will seek to coordinate bike and pedestrian facilities with mass transit service provided by RRTA to provide flexibility and alternatives to driving automobiles for short trips.

Active transportation has enormous impacts on both personal health and the quality of life in our communities. Walking and biking reduces the levels of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stress levels and depression. This results in lower healthcare costs for everyone. Active transportation cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. It can be financially beneficial too. On average, it costs $6,000-$8,000 per year to own and operate a motor vehicle, but only $150 per year for a bicycle. It reduces air pollutants, noise pollution and congestion. And finally, active transportation can help build stronger communities by increasing contact between neighbors and having more “eyes on the street.”

There are three upcoming events for the public to participate in the planning process. All three events will include general information about the Active Transpiration Plan, but each will have a different focus. The events are as follows:

  • Proposed “Goat Path” Trail Open House – Tuesday, April 25th, from 3-5:00 PM, at the Upper Leacock Township War Memorial Building (54 W. Main Street, Leola, PA 17540). This event will focus on the “Goat Path” trail section of the proposed Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway. This proposed trail project runs from Bareville to Lancaster General Health’s Suburban Pavilion.
  • Trails and Greenways Open House – Tuesday, April 25th, from 5-7:00 PM at the Lancaster City Council Chambers (120 N Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17603). This event will focus on some of the featured trails and greenways in the Active Transportation Plan such as Lancaster City’s NE Greenway section of the Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway and the Engleside Greenway.
  • Lancaster Active Transportation Plan Open Studio – Wednesday, April 26th, from 9:00 AM – Noon, at the Lancaster City Council Chambers (120 N Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17603). This event will focus on the process of developing the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan and its status.

For more information about the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan, go to www.LancasterATP.com

Summer Reading At Your Library

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“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” -Roger Zelazny

Summer is almost here and that means it’s soon time to sign your child or teen up for a Summer Reading Program at your local library. Every year, businesses (including local Lancaster County businesses) donate coupons and prizes to incentive students into completing a reading challenge. The summer months off school often result in a staggering loss of learning. Keeping your kids reading helps them retain what they’ve learned during the school year and also gives them opportunities to do their own independent learning, whether reading about maps or horses or computer programming!

Of course, libraries aren’t just for kids. Even with your busy summer schedule, consider setting goals for yourself. During those beach days or on the blistering hot August days when you’re camped inside with the AC on, try to squeeze in some time to read a novel or biography or memoir. Some libraries also offer adult reading programs so maybe the chance of winning an Amazon giftcard will help encourage you to do some reading this summer.  My goodreads goal is to read 30 books this year.

Make sure you also ask about summer events at your library; there are often great educational programs and fun events for all age groups (including adults) hosted all throughout the summer. Consider going to programs and events as a family.

There are 18 libraries in Lancaster County. To find out which one is closest to your family, click here.

Here is a recent video (10 minutes) from The Atlantic showing why libraries still matter by highlighting modern libraries in New York:

Summer Learning Event @DemmeLearning

Last Friday, Demme Learning hosted students from La Plaza, an after-school program based in Lancaster city that uses our Math-U-See and Spelling You See programs. We gave them a tour of the office and warehouse and had stations setup where employees would share how they used math and spelling in their day to day jobs. Here are a few pictures from the visit:

Arriving!
Arriving
Justin, our design manager (in orange) and I  handing out pencils
Justin handing out pencils and explaining how he uses math in designing websites
Carolyn, our marketing manager, entertains with Simon Says
Carolyn entertains with Simon Says and talks about the math used in marketing
Sindy, from customer service, hands a pencil to one of the students
Sindy talking about the importance of addition and calculating percentages in customer service
Steve, the guy from the videos who tells those punny [funny] jokes
Steve giving a tour and telling punny jokes
One of the learning highlights from the event was when I took the group to my office. Immediately, they headed over to the globe. Soon they were asking me, “Where’s Pennsylvania?” “Where’s Peru?” “Where’s the library?” and “Hey, what about Mexico?”

Looking at the globe
Looking at the globe

We finished off the tour with some cake and snacks to help everyone remember to be lifelong learners.

The cake
The cake

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Group photo!
Group photo

We had a great time hosting the students and are happy to support such a great after-school program.

Students First – Pennsylvania Report Card

Yesterday Students First published a State-by-State analysis and report card that looks solely at education policy environments and provides a road map for schools’ success. From the press release.

Sacramento, CA. – Today, national education reform advocacy organization StudentsFirst published its first-ever State Policy Report Card, a new tool for improving student achievement that doesn’t look at individual or school-wide test scores or teacher effectiveness, but instead gauges how well each state’s education policies are serving students and schools.

“The most powerful way to improve student achievement from outside the classroom is to shape policy and implement laws at the state level that govern education,” said StudentsFirst CEO and Founder Michelle Rhee. “That is why our report card focuses singularly on the education policies in place in each of our states. And when we look solely at policy, it’s clear that we have a long way to go toward improving our education system in America.”

The report raises serious questions about whether states’ education laws and practices are contributing to student success. Nearly ninety percent of states received less than a “C” grade on the State Policy Report Card, and no state earned higher than a “B-“.

Pennsylvania scored a D and currently ranks 19th among the other states. Click on the image to view the full report.

Pennsylvania has made great strides when it comes to considering and enacting policies that will impact the success of the education system and increase student achievement. Pennsylvania has adopted meaningful educator evaluations that will identify excellent teachers and principals. Pennsylvania has always tied consistent ineffectiveness to potential dismissal and with new evaluations that measure an educator’s impact on student achievement, the state can develop and maintain an effective workforce that will have the greatest impact on students. Pennsylvania has also recently enacted the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program aimed at helping low-income students attending low-performing schools. The Commonwealth has also embarked on a mission to update the state’s antiquated charter school law and should consider including better authorizing and accountability structures for all charters. These policies will all have meaningful impacts on students, and the state should continue enacting policies that put students first.

The report card from Students First has bipartisan support from PA Lawmakers. The Patriot News reported these comments from Rep Aument and Rep Boyle.

Two lawmakers who have been briefed in advance about the group’s report card saw value to it. Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, who authored the educator evaluation system legislation, said he thinks the report card should be used as a map for education reform.

Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Philadelphia, called it “a thoughtful, well-researched tool” that should help lawmakers “work toward creating policies that give parents more information, reward good teachers, and force government to spend tax dollars wisely.”

It’s good to see student focused organizations such as Students First and Pennsylvania lawmakers who are willing to talk about the issues facing Pennsylvania students and put ideas for real reform on the table.

iPads and Blogging

Blogging has changed over the years, 7 years ago when i started blogging it was still new. In college, blogging was social networking and xanga was all the rage. Since then blogging went mainstream and a whole new world of social networking was discovered. As a result blogging became less popular but more important.

With the ease and connectivity of new sites like facebook and Twitter traditional blogging has become the realm of those passionate about a topic who are wiling to put in the time to blog about it. In essence social networking scraped off the short form content creators and left blogging to the medium and long form creators.

All that to say that I’m experimenting with my iPad and medium form content. Many years ago this blog was titled “ruminations” meaning half digested thoughts and that is what I intend to post more of.

Let me know what you think?