Author Archives: Damaris Rau

On our first day of at home remote learning

Today was an unprecedented first day of school in the School District of Lancaster. All 11,000+ students and about 1,500 teachers and staff opened the 2020-2021 school year teaching and learning online, and not together in our classrooms. It’s the first time that has happened since we became a school district—in 1836. We know today […]

Read More

My remarks to the Class of 2020

Congratulations to the McCaskey Class of 2020, and hats off to the many people behind the scenes who helped make the broadcast of our commencement ceremony on WGAL go off without a hitch. I’m happy to share my remarks from that beautiful event below. Always McCaskey Proud! Greetings families, friends, educators, members of the McCaskey […]

Read More

On the searing symbolism of George Floyd

Like so many of you, I am outraged at the sight, on national television, of the senseless killing of George Floyd. Losing his breath under the knee of a police officer, his death is searingly symbolic of how members of our black community are held down by the very institutions meant to raise us up. […]

Read More

Let local school boards decide what to do about taxes

The state Legislature recently considered an amended bill that would freeze local real estate taxes for the upcoming year in response to the COVID-19 emergency. We join PSBA, PASBO and PSEA in opposing this measure, a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policy move that makes a challenging financial picture even worse. Our school board is one of many […]

Read More

Our equity work is necessary and meaningful

On Saturday, February 29, about 150 of my colleagues at SDoL gathered for the second day of training to improve equity, inclusion and excellence in our schools. I shared some comments at the beginning of that session, reflecting on why this work is important to me. I thought I would share them with our readers […]

Read More

On Preparing for Coronavirus

Due to the extensive media coverage of the Coronavirus, we want to reassure our students, families and staff that the School District of Lancaster is diligently monitoring the situation and remains in daily contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Please know that there are NO reported cases […]

Read More

Our School Board calls for charter school reform

On February 19, our school directors unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the General Assembly to enact meaningful charter school funding reform. As I have written before, our biggest financial burden from charter schools comes from cyber charter tuition, on which we spend $2.5 million a year. I join our directors in advocating for reform […]

Read More

State budget update

The first piece of our budget puzzle has fallen into place. Gov. Wolf unveiled his proposed state budget on Tuesday, including his proposals for education funding. For the School District of Lancaster, the results are mixed. First, the good news. The governor’s proposed budget provides savings to school districts by setting charter payments for cyber […]

Read More

Our budget outlook is challenging

Last week, our school board approved a preliminary budget for the 2020-2021 school year with a projected deficit of more than $10 million. It appears that this will be a budget year as challenging as those SDoL faced in the early 2010s. You may have read in LNP + LancasterOnline that it would take a […]

Read More

Fair Funding and SDoL

Last month, I updated our High School Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) on our school district’s legal case against the PA Department of Education and the idea of fair funding. We are hopeful the case goes to trial this year. It is tentatively scheduled for this summer in Commonwealth Court. In 2016, the state Legislature adopted […]

Read More

How our students are saving $250K+ on college tuition

Last month, I invited Dr. Jeremy Raff, our coordinator of college & career services, to call for reforms that could help low-income, first-generation college students be more successful pursuing higher education. Today, I want to share one key strategy of ours to help these students—dual enrollment—and how you can help. I have spoken about dual […]

Read More

Shining the spotlight on a special partner

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending a special tree-lighting program at Christmas Tree Lane at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The School District of Lancaster is fortunate to have decorated one the trees, thanks to the generosity of our friends at Willow Valley Communities. Hand Middle School decorated the tree. FYI, you can vote for […]

Read More