New Administrators Appointed

The Ephrata Area School Board of Directors approved appointments to fill two administrative positions at their Monday, June 17, 2019 meeting.  Effective July 2019, Mrs. Jennifer Barnabei will assume the role of Assistant Principal at Ephrata Intermediate School, and Mrs. Laura Jordan will serve as the Assistant Coordinator of Student Support Services.

Mrs. Barnabei most recently served as the Fulton and Highland Elementary School Library Media Specialist.  She has a Principal Certification and a Masters of Education Degree from California University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Catawba College.  Previously, Mrs. Barnabei taught grades 4-8 in the Pequea Valley and Moon Area school districts, and she is an Ephrata High School graduate.

“It is an honor to have been selected as the Assistant Principal at Ephrata Intermediate School!  I am excited to be part of the EIS team, and I look forward to getting to know all the students, staff, and families.  Ephrata is a fantastic community, and I’m proud to be part of it,” she said.

“We were so fortunate to have had so many quality candidates express interest in this position. The ability to transfer one of our own into this important position at EIS will certainly help everyone hit the ground running this coming year,” commented Dr. Troop, District Superintendent.

“The committee was particularly impressed with Mrs. Barnabei’s understanding of the importance of relationships, reflection, and feedback as part of the continuous improvement process. We look forward to seeing her make an impact in this role,” he continued.

Mrs. Laura Jordan is new to the Ephrata Area School District having served in a variety of special education roles at Eastern Lancaster County School District, most recently as the Assistant to the Director of Special Education and Gifted Services.  She earned her Supervisory Certification in Special Education and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Millersville University, as well as a Masters of Education Degree from Pennsylvania State University.

“Leadership positions in the area of Student Support Services can be some of the most difficult and also the most rewarding. It is wonderful to be able to bring an experienced and successful leader like Mrs. Jordan onto our team in this key role,” Dr. Troop concluded.

EIS Student Wins First Place in Journalism Contest

Landon Adamson, an Ephrata Intermediate School fifth-grader, is a first-place winner in Celebration 225: The LNP/LancasterOnline Journalism and Design an Ad Contest.

As part of a class assignment that would then be entered into the contest, Landon wrote about his love for football and the challenges he has had to overcome since playing the sport.  “I was confident about what I wrote because I tried to include lots of details,” Landon said.  He noted his love for practice drills and what skills were necessary to contend with opposing teams.  “My mom helped me with editing, mostly with grammar,” he continued.  He wrote the two-page essay in approximately one week.

When Landon found out he was a first-place winner he said, “It felt amazing.”  He will attend an awards ceremony with his family and teacher Susan Izydorczyk where he will receive a cash award.

Landon’s work will be published in an expanded print edition of the LNP Schools section on Tuesday, May 21.  It will also be featured on

EIS Hosts First Area Rubik’s Challenge

Students in grades 5-8 from four school districts – Ephrata Area, Lampeter Strasburg, Penn Manor, and Red Lion Area – convened at Ephrata Intermediate School on Monday, May 6 for a first-time event, a Rubik’s Challenge.


The goal of the event was to provide students with an opportunity to increase their stamina, perseverance, problem solving, and self-esteem when engaged in the common task of solving a Rubik’s Cube. “Through the cube, students link visual spatial relationships with algorithms while working through the sequence of the cube. It is incredible to see the motivation that one small plastic cube can bring out in our students,” said Mrs. Nicole Reppert, Ephrata Intermediate School teacher and event coordinator.


The event was comprised of team and solo contests.  Teams of up to eight students attempted to solve 25 cubes collectively as quickly as possible, while solo competitors solved one cube as quickly as possible.

Practice sessions were held in advance, and many students utilized website tutorials to prepare for the event.  “Our students have remained motivated and have been working diligently to prepare. The resilience, perseverance, and task dedication to learn the cube has been impressive,” said Mrs. Reppert.

Grade 5 Solo Event

  1. London Reiff (Ephrata Area) 44.126
  2. Todd Weist (Ephrata Area) 47.107
  3. Izabel Musser (Ephrata Area) 54.296

Grade 5 Team Event (Solving 25 Cubes)

  1. Rubik’s Racers (Ephrata Area) 6:14.925
  2. Captain Cubers (Ephrata Area) 6:20.420
  3. Lion Cubers (Red Lion) 8:43.678

EASD Rubik’s Racers:  Adam Batzel, Jacob Buckwalter, Alicia Mcgill, Izabel Musser, London Reiff, Shelby Sensenig, and MacKenzie Thoeun

EASD Captain Cubers:  Haleigh Cline, Nadia Drobot, Ethan Garman, Ayden Kern, Graham Mendenhall, Peter Suhrbier, Kade Vernon, and Todd Weist

Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Reppert is an ambassador for Rubik’s and travels to colleges and conferences to teach the challenge to other teachers. Additionally, she hosts workshops and summer camps for students to show firsthand the benefits of cubing.

She initiated the event at EIS this year and hopes to see it grow.  As this was the first Rubik’s Challenge in the region, there was interest from schools as far away as New Jersey.  “Once feedback has been obtained from all involved in the event this year, I could see it being expanded to include more grade levels and occurring after school or on a weekend to allow for more districts to be involved,” she said.

One Book, One District

Students across all Ephrata Area School District elementary schools recently embarked on a collective reading adventure, One Book, One District. 

Funded by an Ephrata Area Education Foundation Venture Grant, every student in Kindergarten through grade 4 was provided a book – either Glamourpuss or Cheese – by Sarah Weeks.  Students were encouraged to read their book independently and at home with family members, in addition to reading it with classmates and teachers while in school.   The experience created a common bond among students, staff, and families.  Additionally, it inspired schoolwide comradery and shared conversations through a common book.

The culmination of One Book, One District was Ms. Weeks’ visit to all four District elementary schools during the week of May 9.  Students took pride in decorating their schools with themes connected to the author’s books and enjoyed interactive assemblies during her visit.  Akron Elementary School Principal Sheri Horner noted students’ excitement to meet Ms. Weeks.  “Students were very eager to learn directly from an author,” she said.

Sarah Weeks is the author of 59 published books.  Visit for more information.

2019 Coding Contest Results

Approximately 300 students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 participated in the fourth annual Ephrata Area School District Coding Contest this year. Students worked after school in small groups to create projects that demonstrated the use of code, which were reviewed by a panel of District administrators, teachers, School Board members, and community leaders.

Kindergarten – Grade 2

  • 1st place (TIE)
    • Lucynda Berkey, Rylan Lapp, and Cole McAnany (Highland)
    • Jubilee Mertz and Daisy Musser (Highland)
  • 2nd place: Zachary Stonebraker and Brylee McGarvey (Highland)
  • 3rd place: Kingston Fischbach and Bryce Thomas (Fulton)

Grades 3-4

  • 1st place: Zion Kapp and Maliha Martin (Clay)
  • 2nd place: Cooper Simes and Reece Wilson (Highland)
  • 3rd place: Ian Goehrig, Christopher Kohler, and Brendan Morrell (Akron and Clay)

Grades 5-6

  • 1st place: Anastasia Lehman and Sarah Taylor (Grade 6)
  • 2nd place: Ethan Garman, Landry Weidner, and Todd Weist (Grade 5)
  • 3rd place: Joshua Muhr and Wesley Jones (Grade 6)

Grades 7-8

  • 1st place: Nathan Brubaker, Moses Kapp, and Theodore Smith (Grade 7)
  • 2nd place: Clay Sholes, Micah Neff, and Collin Jones (Grade 8)
  • 3rd place: Lillian Sharpe and Kyle Swenson (Grade 8)

A signature project supported by the Ephrata Area Education Foundation, the Coding Contest was introduced to District students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 in 2016. It received very positive feedback, which created the desire to grow the event in 2017. The District has provided students coding education, including participation in the global Hour of Code since 2013. Coding activities include creating computer games, programming applications, building robots, and much more.

Why encourage children to code? Predictions are that computer science jobs already significantly surpass the number of individuals qualified for these positions.  “Almost every machine we interact with now is built

with code. Our children need to learn how machines work to be best prepared for the future. Plus, computer science is a top-paying college degree, and computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average,” stated Dan Mahlandt, District Coordinator of Virtual Education.

EHS Library Receives PA Forward Bronze Star

The Ephrata High School Media Center has been awarded a PA Forward Bronze Star from the Pennsylvania Library Association.  It is the second Pennsylvania school in the state to have received this award, as all other recipients are either public or academic libraries.

The Pennsylvania Library Association acknowledges libraries that are “community centers of information, technology, and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all citizens.”  There are five components to PA Forward, including basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and financial literacy.

EHS Media Center Specialists Mrs. Jane Englert and Mrs. Samantha Hull completed a series of eight PA Forward professional development sessions to help earn this distinction.  Additionally, the operations of the EHS Media Center, as it aligns with the PA Forward initiative, provides the support and resources necessary for students to succeed as individuals inside and outside the classroom.

Mrs. Englert and Mrs. Hull are proud advocates of the PA Forward initiative.  They recently hosted the spring South Central Pennsylvania School Librarians Association meeting in the EHS Media Center to discuss their experiences with offering students more choice and personalized learning opportunities.

“In the coming years, we hope to increase awareness in one or more of the specific literacies and have goals set to hopefully earn silver and gold awards in the future,” commented Mrs. Hull.

PA Forward is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.