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New Hope-Solebury announces new STEM and art curriculum and changes to Health and Safety plan


New Hope-Solebury School District has announced, with much excitement, a future curriculum focusing on STEM and the arts.
Board members spoke of “infectious” excitement after a presentation by their newest K-12 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Coordinator, Richard Curtis. Curtis examined surrounding districts to learn what the district could improve and what could be to their advantage in the world of STEAM.
Curtis presented new courses focusing on multi-media, manufacturing, engineering and more, saying they would propel students further than their peers. He showed that there is a notable gap at New Hope-Solebury in offering options for those “strands” in the STEAM concept compared to other districts.
As part of their new vision, the district will cut five courses in photography, graphic design and production printing and replace them with engineering and multi-media video production. The district hopes to bring in courses that combine these ideas in coming years.
Later, the board unanimously voted to change some of the language in the Health and Safety Plan, adding additional guidance to essential student activities such as masking during athletic activities.
R.C. Massimino, coach of the eighth-grade boys’ basketball team, said during public comment that he wanted the board to look into additional court time and access for his players. He stressed the importance of giving students a safe place to bond after the COVID-19 lockdown.

The masking order given by acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam, which caused much controversy, was set to be lifted by Gov. Wolf on Jan. 17. However, the Commonwealth Court struck down the order after lawsuits from Bucks parents and Republican lawmakers. The Wolf administration then appealed to the state Supreme Court, meaning the mandate is still in place. Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 8.
The board voted unanimously to allow outside organizations to rent their indoor and outdoor facilities while complying with the Health and Safety Plan. The fee structure indicates that the use of the facilities during regular operation hours costs no fee. After-hours groups must pay the district money to rent classrooms, fields and parking lots.
Public comments at the meeting were few. Some attendees asked questions about new administrative positions being approved by the board. One student from New Hope Middle School, Anna Cornwall, voiced support for a book called into question at the last meeting for being “inappropriate.”
“‘GenderQueer: A Memior’ representations of LGBTQ people and their relationships is far too valuable to remove,” she said.
The next board meeting will be held on Dec. 6 and is both in-person and virtual.