2020 Shadow A Student Challenge

How does it feel to be a student for a day?  After participating in the nationwide School Retool Shadow A Student Challenge for the fifth year in a row, Ephrata Area School District administrators are able to speak from their own experiences to answer this question.  District and building leaders will shadow students on February 20, 25, and March 3 to experience a school day as a student first-hand and gain a new perspective on learning.

District administrators are encouraged to participate with empathy and an open mind to feel what it is like to truly adopt a student’s point of view.  “As part of the District theme to embody a growth mindset and a desire for continued improvement, administrators are trying to fully immerse themselves in student life for a day with the goal to better understand the students we serve,” said District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.

Administrators have been asked to keep a variety of questions in mind while shadowing students, including:

  • How does it feel to be a student for a day?
  • What is your student’s favorite moment of the day, and what makes it special?
  • What do you notice makes your student feel uncomfortable, anxious, or bored? Why?
  • When is your student engaged in learning?
  • As you go through your day, what opportunities do you notice for use of critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and effective communication skills?

Following the event, administrators will reflect on their insights to compare students’ experiences with the learning and skills necessary for success through their academic careers.

PDE Title I Distinguished School

Highland Elementary School was recently recognized as a Title I Distinguished School by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).


Academic performance data from the 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 school years were reviewed by the PDE Division of Federal Programs and Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators to determine top performing schools across the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education gives schools a Title I designation based upon school percentages of economically disadvantaged students.  Approximately 180 schools in Pennsylvania are Title I schools, and Distinguished Schools make up the top five percent of these schools.  Title I Distinguished Schools demonstrate superb growth among students who typically underperform academically.

As a Title I Distinguished School, Highland Elementary School was recognized for their achievements at the Pennsylvania Title I Improving School Performance Conference in Pittsburgh on January 27.

“Due to the hard work and dedication of our students, staff, and families, it is exciting to see how the students have made some great gains and be recognized as a Title I Distinguished School.  This recognition is an example that shows our staff is truly dedicated to the success of all of our students.  We continue to strive to make this the most positive learning environment possible and want our students to enjoy their school experience,” said Brett Esbenshade, Highland Elementary School Principal.

100th Day of School

District elementary students participated in a variety of learning activities inspired by the 100th day of school every year.  This year, Highland and Fulton Elementary School kindergarten students expanded upon the concept and created special 100-themed projects.  They also hosted a “100th Day Museum,” where classmates, teachers, and District administrators viewed projects and interacted with the students to learn more about each project.


There was a high level of student enthusiasm and creativity among projects that utilized 100 of the same materials to craft anything of students’ choosing, including a toothpick sailboat, popsicle stick cabin, Swedish Fish bowl, and much more.  Not only did the projects help students with math concepts, including counting to 100, they also utilized their 4Cs skills by encouraging collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.


Every scheduled District half-day is also a STEAM day for elementary students. Students in Kindergarten through Grade 4 enjoy interactive assemblies and hands-on lessons led by representatives from ZooAmerica, Whitaker Center, Science Explorers, and Maryland Science Center.  “These lessons, now widely anticipated by elementary students, focus of core science topics through grade-level, hand-on activities,” said Tracy Blunt, Clay Elementary School Principal.  Funding for the STEAM days is provided by the Ephrata Area Education Foundation.  “This is a perfect example of what the Foundation can do by using their resources to create transformational learning experiences for kids,” concluded Dr. Troop.

Hour of Code

Students Districtwide participated in a variety of Hour of Code activities throughout the month of December with millions of other students across the world.  While some students enjoyed lessons available on Code.org®, others demonstrated their learning through different coding projects.

Statistics predict computer science jobs will soon surpass the number of individuals qualified for these positions.  Hour of Code was created as a grassroots campaign to encourage more people to become involved in computer science.  Learn more about Hour of Code on www.Code.org.

Breakfast With Santa

December 7
Ephrata High School Cafeteria

Breakfast includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, drinks and more!  Crafts, face painting, raffles and cookies.  Bring your camera to capture that picture with Santa!

$6.00 each.  Make checks payable to ECBC (Ephrata Cheerleaders booster club)
Call Melissa Showalter with questions.  717-940-7940.

EASD: Outstanding Visual Arts Community

Ephrata Area School District Named Outstanding Visual Arts Community in Pennsylvania

Ephrata Area School District was named a 2019 Outstanding Visual Arts Community by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) for their ongoing commitment to visual arts and a well-rounded educational experience.  Ephrata Area School District was among 57 districts across Pennsylvania and five districts in Lancaster County to receive this distinction.

According to PAEA, districts receiving this endorsement demonstrate the importance of their visual arts programs with:

  • Rigorous and Inclusive Programs: Arts programs demonstrate rigor using standards-based curriculum taught at every level by highly qualified and certified arts educators.
  • Highly Accessible Programs: Art programs are offered to all studentsat every level of education with a sustainable budget for the visual arts.
  • Highly Visible Programs: Schools and districts identify their programmatic accomplishments, curriculum for all levels, art staff, mission statements, and arts events using their school websites and social media.

Ephrata Area School District values the importance of a well-rounded education with opportunities for students to engage in arts education in all grade levels.  “Our community has a strong history of valuing the all of the arts.  I am so proud that the students and staff of our district can contribute to it in authentic projects like the murals downtown,” said Dr. Brian Troop, District Superintendent.

“We commend Ephrata Area School District for their active role in providing arts education opportunities for students and receiving the endorsement of Outstanding Visual Arts Community 2019,” said Dr. Stacy Potter, PAEA Advocacy and Policy Chair.

Patriot Day – September 11

District Families:

We look forward to celebrating Patriot Day with students on Wednesday, September 11!

Activities and learning opportunities inspired by Patriot Day and the heroes of 9/11 will be incorporated Districtwide on Wednesday.  District administrators and teachers have developed age-appropriate content to help students learn more about Patriot Day and the many heroes who took part in the national response to the tragic event and continue to keep us all safe today.

The scope of this content will look very different at each age level.  While High School activities may include watching news coverage from the morning of September 11, 2001 and discussing how the effects of that day impacted the world, students in elementary schools will have a much broader experience recognizing heroes who go above and beyond in times of need, including our military, emergency responders, and more.

Patriot Day also provides an opportunity to discuss the importance of living a life with Resiliency and Grit – a key component of our Districtwide Life Ready Graduate profile.

If you have any concerns about your child’s involvement in any Patriot Day activities, please contact your building principal.

Thank you!

Dr. Brian Troop, Superintendent

Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education

Dr. Rick Hornberger, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education