Message from the Superintendent

We are all learners; that includes me. Over the last two months, I have been trying to learn as much about York Suburban as possible. I already knew about the strong academic achievements of YSSD students, so there was less to learn about that. My challenge was and continues to be, to learn about the York Suburban culture, often referred to as the Suburban Way.

I was once a student of Anthropology; culture interests me. From those studies, I learned that culture morphs over time. Successful societies hold on to traditions that strengthen the community and adopt new aspects that enrich society. Our York Suburban school community now has an opportunity to do that very thing: we should celebrate our history without being beholden to it.

We have great traditions of which to be proud, and we also have an opportunity to build some new ones. Our rich academic heritage has produced students well-prepared for traditional four-year colleges, and we have the ability to offer strong vocational training via the York County School of Technology (YCST). The real question is whether or not that approach meets all of our students’ needs. In short, public schools – and some parents of public school students like me – have not always done well in preparing all students for life after high school.

This notion is based on my experience raising three children who are now in their early 20s. Two of them are nearing the conclusion of their bachelor’s degrees at great colleges in preparation for graduate schools. The third child decided that college was not for him and now is gainfully employed in the production industry. At first, it was difficult for me to grapple with the concept of having a child who has not at least earned a bachelor’s degree. But, watching him become a happier, productive citizen has made me realize that college was not the best thing for him. In that sense, I failed him initially.

Surely, we all want what is best for our students. Sometimes our preconceived ideas of what is best for kids is based on inaccurate assumptions like mine were for my own children; I had a preconceived idea that college was the only answer for my own children. How often do other parents have those same preconceived ideas?

A large aspect of the Suburban Way seems to be preparation for college success. Of course, we will continue to emphasize and improve on that, but we must also improve the way we meet the needs of those who are not going to college.

Culturally, we need to reflect on the Suburban Way. Does our culture take into account how best to prepare ALL of our students for life after high school? Or does it only work to send most of our students to good colleges? As an educational institution, perhaps we need to place a renewed emphasis on that middle section of students who are not destined for traditional four-year colleges or who are not going to attend the YCST. We need to consider how best to meet the needs of those students who may head to a career that does not require a four-year degree or a YCST program.

I was pleased to learn that these types of conversations have been taking place over the last year, and you should expect to hear more on this topic. Our culture certainly needs to hold on to the traditions that strengthen us, but it also must embrace new traditions that make our school community stronger. I look forward to working with you in determining how the Suburban Way evolves.

2018 Commencement

Katelyn Hill

Abbey Probert

A beautiful evening furnished the backdrop for the 59th York Suburban High School Commencement at 7:00 PM on Thursday, May 24. Student Council Vice President Katelyn Hill welcomed the crowd and Abbey Probert, Student Council President,  provided a moment of reflection to begin the ceremony.  Following a performance of “Go the Distance” by the Concert Choir,  Valedictorian Charlotte Nesbitt and Class President Socratis Rodas addressed the friends, family, and faculty on behalf of the Class of 2018. Maya Lehman was named salutatorian.  Following the presentation of diplomas, Senior Class Vice President, Marianna Rodas brought the graduation ceremony to a close.

This year’s class graduated 221 seniors, ready to enter the workforce, military, college, and mission work.  Please read more about the honors, achievements, and future plans of our YSHS graduates in the Commencement Program.  Congratulations, Class of 2018!



A New Superintendent. What’s Next?


As the York Suburban School Board of Directors announced on Monday, April 23, their efforts during the past five-month search to find the next superintendent of schools for the York Suburban School District (YSSD) ended successfully with the unanimous approval of Dr. Timothy Williams to that position. If you followed along with the monthly updates, you know the intense interview process the board used to screen and interview the applicants for this top leadership position. The board received 30 applicants from around the country and up and down the East Coast for the position, conducted three rounds of interviews, and completed a thorough vetting of its top candidate, including a rigorous and extensive background and reference check.

Dr. Williams is an experienced educator and school leader with over 30 years in public school education and is currently serving as superintendent in the Westmont Hilltop School District in Johnstown, PA. Dr. Williams began his career as a middle school English and social studies teacher, serving during his time as a team leader and two years as union president.  After serving ten years in the classroom, Dr. Williams served as a K-12 technology coordinator at Penn Manor School District. Dr. Williams subsequently moved into Manheim Township School District where he served over 15 years in a number of roles including director of information technology, director of instruction, assistant to the superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology and assistant to the superintendent. Dr. Williams will be bringing his many professional talents,  skills, and experiences to his new role here at York Suburban.

Dr. Williams is set to begin his new duties at York Suburban on July 1, 2018, but first, he will need to meet his responsibilities and contractual obligations to the Westmont Hilltop School District for the remainder of the current school year (June 30).  Until June 30, I will continue to honor my commitment to the York Suburban School District to oversee the day-to-day responsibilities as the Acting Superintendent. The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires an unbroken transition of legal authority for public schools, and I am prepared to hand-off that authority as prescribed by PA School Code.

During the next eight weeks as the district continues to fully make the transition from my temporary and substitute status to the permanent leadership under Dr. Williams, rest assured that Dr. Williams and the school board are diligently working on start-up and strategic plans for the year ahead.  Dr. Williams has already begun the development of his entry plan, outlining the priorities he will establish, in concert with the board and administrative team. Dr. Williams is reviewing the detailed feedback reports prepared by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) during their 16 focus group sessions.  The community members, parents, staff, students, and administrators who participated in those sessions provided a listing of key issues and obstacles that face the York Suburban School District and provide a framework for setting goals and priorities for YSSD in the years ahead. You can also look forward to Dr. Williams gathering his own data by connecting with our stakeholders once he arrives on-site.  The school board also used this focus group feedback to uncover the qualities and skills needed by our next superintendent. Both the board and Dr. Williams are starting this new York Suburban era with a clear vision of expectations from our community because so many individuals shared their hopes and expectations during the CCIU-lead search process.

As the school year comes to a close and our students and staff direct their attention to their summer list of things to do, preparations for the 2018-2019 school year will shift into high gear. I’ve always found it amazing how much is accomplished by administrators, summer school staff, custodians, and buildings and grounds workers during the summer break.  I have full confidence that the efforts of all staff members this summer will yield another seamless summer that leads to another fantastic school year that starts on August 23 for our students. The board and Dr. Williams will be working meticulously so a solid foundation is in place when students and staff return for the 2018-2019 school year.  Dr. Williams is eager to bring his dynamic and innovative leadership skills to this high-performing district and work collaboratively with the York Suburban community to educate, challenge, and prepare students to shape the future.

Dr. Larry R. Redding, Acting Superintendent


Message from Dr. Larry Redding, Acting Superintendent

The most heart-wrenching conversations school leaders would ever have with a family is about a student casualty, especially if that life-ending event occurred at school. When I heard about the recent school shooting in Florida, I reacted the same way I have for the past ten years – first with great sadness that a child in a school classroom was a victim of a preventable crime and then, how can I work to improve the safety and security of those students placed in my care. I never want to become hardened or callused about the news of the loss of a child from violent acts at school nor be caught wishing I would have done more to proactively promote school safety measures.

Recognizing that every public place, including schools, are vulnerable to attacks by individuals wanting to do harm to others, our attitude must be like a Scout – “Be Prepared”.  Our York Suburban school leaders have worked hard to develop prevention and protection plans and practice our response to various potential safety violations. Using the All-Hazards planning model, our district is focused on providing a safe learning environment for all students. We don’t just build a plan and store it on a shelf.  We have a very deliberate approach to sharing the expectations and procedures with all school staff, especially those new to a building or the district. The most outward part of a plan is a drill with students. They, too, need to understand their role in our preparedness.

The ongoing review and inspection of our school facilities have also become part of our regular practice. Both internal and external resources have been and are being used to identify potential risk factors. Both the Spring Garden and Springettsbury Township Police Departments have been a tremendous asset to the York Suburban School District due to their proactive approach to school safety. The PA Department of Education Safe School Office and the PA Auditor General’s Office are giving renewed attention to the physical improvements schools can make to enhance school safety measures.  Our district welcomes the assistance of others in reviewing our building entrances and exits, communication and alarm systems, parking lots and general building and grounds security to provide recommendations for improvements.

It is impossible to prevent all school safety violations with a single focus on facility improvements or a good All-Hazards Plan. These safety and security plans can certainly reduce the likelihood that a violent attack may occur, but we must also address the role positive school climate has on reducing acts of violence at school. Fostering a climate of respect and trust may be the most important target for our entire school community. Each one of us can reinforce positive behaviors, respectful interactions, and pro-social behaviors. We teach and encourage students to use conflict resolution and peer-to-peer problem-solving techniques. We take proactive steps to reduce bullying behaviors.  We have highly skilled guidance staff to teach and model respectful behaviors. Trusting relationships between adults and students are the product of quality connections. Part of the daily efforts of our York Suburban staff is working to make connections with each child. Our teachers, classroom aides, guidance counselors, nurses, librarians, office personnel, coaches, custodians, food service employees, bus drivers and administrators all play a vital role in building trusting relationships with our students.

Making our schools safer is a duty we all share.  The actions and resources directed by our school board is evidence we, the York Suburban School District, are committed to that school safety mission.  We are updating and upgrading our school emergency operation plans, engaging our school community at all levels to build trusting relationships with our students,  and committed to forging stronger bonds with our emergency-services personnel. We want to be proactive in our efforts to foster a climate where we freely communicate between and among the community stakeholders to ensure the safest school environment humanly possible.


Record Breaking Mini-THON Makes History – Again

From 9:00 PM Friday, February 23, to 7:00 AM Saturday, February 24,  530 York Suburban High School students danced, ate, and played their way to generating over $85,000 for families impacted by childhood cancer. The 2018 Mini-THON achieved record breaking success raising $85,720.18, engaging 60% of the student body (20% increase over 2017’s Mini-THON), and utilizing over 90 adult volunteers. Seniors Abbey Probert, Katie Hill, and Kennedy McKee coordinated the event that benefits Four Diamonds, an organization dedicated to conquering childhood cancer by assisting children treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

A highlight of the evening included the return of Mr. YS.  Winner Jake Taylor wowed the crowd with his show-stopping reenactment of Patrick Swayze’s iconic dance lift with Jennifer Grey (portrayed by fellow senior Ben Salazar) from the film Dirty Dancing.  Dancers also flocked to the puppy room (!), competed in a wing eating contest, volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, and cornhole tournaments, and enjoyed pool time from 1:00-3:00 AM.

Volunteer Helen Heidler, Director of Whitsons School Nutrition, stayed most of the night to facilitate the essential ’round the clock food service to keep participants fueled. Students enjoyed sushi, pizza, Chick-fil-A, walking tacos, and many other generous community contributions. YS alumni Alden Funkhouser and TJ Platts, owners of FnP Productions, donated their time and talents to provide spectacular sound and lighting – energizing the crowd throughout the evening.

York Suburban’s Mini-THON is a tradition experiencing its fifth year of phenomenal success. The compassion and commitment of students, staff, and volunteers needed to produce such incredible support for Four Diamonds reflect the best of our York Suburban community and its unique culture of encouragement and giving. We are YS PROUD of YS Mini-THON!



Beware of Fake News about Charter and Cyber Schools

If it’s on the internet it must be true?  If you see an advertisement for a “FREE” public school education that promises to be “the best education available in the State of Pennsylvania,” you better stop and check the facts.

In recent months the term “fake news” has gained much needed attention.  The challenge, however, is when is the news true and factual, and when is the news false?  One old-time adage to guide your reasoning should be, ‘if it’s too good to be true, it most likely is not.’  You might want to check multiple sources before you believe the story.  A case in point is the alleged success of Pennsylvania’s cyber and charter schools. Go directly to http://paschoolperformance.org/.

A quick look at York County students in cyber and charter schools will show you academic failure by the same metrics used to measure academic success in our school district elementary, middle and high schools.  In one local charter school, only 19% of students are proficient or better in reading. In another local charter school, only 40% are proficient in mathematics.  Results for third grade reading proficiency is only 41%.   Students from York County, who are enrolled in Agora Cyber School, Commonwealth Connections Cyber School, PA Cyber Charter or most of the other 11 “Pennsylvania Approved” schools surprisingly demonstrate even worse academic performance: one cyber program reports only 34% proficient or better in mathematics and 27% proficient or better in reading at the third grade level.  The one exception to these poor results would be the York Academy Regional Charter school, however only 40% of students score proficient or better in mathematics.

This is not fake news – these are public records for your review.

Part two of the cyber – charter news scam is they are “free.”  Too good to be true?  The school property taxes paid locally pay the tuition for every local cyber and charter school student.  In the York Suburban School District, we budget nearly $1.2 MILLION for the “free” education.  To compound the absurdity of the PA Laws protecting cyber and charter schools, no publicly elected school board officials have the power to say no to programs or services chosen by these cyber or charter families.

Again, this is not fake news – these are public records for your review.

As the Pennsylvania State Legislature begins a new budget debate to determine how limited education funds will be distributed to school districts, it is imperative that accountability for school choice becomes a high priority.  The public schools in York County are providing a top quality education for ALL students who live in our communities and local property taxes should go to those successful public schools first.

Dr. Larry Redding

Acting Superintendent

Message from the Superintendent

Several years ago the State of Pennsylvania passed a number of laws aimed at ensuring our children were safe when under the care, supervision, guidance and control of adults.  Included in the Child Protective Services Law are the regulations for background checks for volunteers in our schools. At York Suburban School District, we take our responsibility very seriously for checking criminal and child abuse history for all volunteers. Since 2015 when the provisions were amended we have experienced some confusion between when a person is a volunteer and just a visitor. Visitors to our schools do not need clearances.

My experience points me toward taking the safe path to verifying all volunteers working with our school children to meet the child welfare safety requirements of the law.  Now, since most clearances for volunteers are FREE, the steps are easy to ensure our children are under the care of responsible adults when you send them to a school function here at York Suburban.  The two PA background checks are free and the FBI clearance is only required if you have not lived in Pennsylvania continuously for the past 10 years.The TB test is only required if you will be volunteering more than 10 hours per week. The TB test may not be dated more than 5 years prior to the application date. A link to instructions to apply to be a volunteer is included at the end of this article.

The approval of a YSSD volunteer is a long-term approval until you move from the district or have a clearance violation.  For parents and guardians of our elementary children, getting these clearances now means you could be covered for years!  The application process is quick, but we encourage you to plan ahead.  Please don’t wait until the week before you want to volunteer to seek approval.

In advance, thank you for volunteering in our schools!  We always need adults to help!  Our building administrators can answer other volunteer procedural questions or feel free to email or call my office. (lredding@yssd.org; 717-885-1210)

Dr. Larry R. Redding

Acting Superintendent

Link to Volunteer Instructions

Message from the Superintendent

Upholding a Culture of Excellence


It’s unfortunate that a majority of our public media outlets focus on the bad things that happen in society. When quizzed about this approach, editors are quick to state that bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers. As readers and consumers of ‘the news’, we do have a choice – we can dwell on the bad or focus our attention on the positive.  I’m here until June as Acting Superintendent of the York Suburban School District to do my part to keep the focus on the positive and excellent accomplishments of the district:  the academic, athletic, artistic and every other great thing we do.  All residents of our school district can and should do their part to share the depth and breadth of the commitment our families and staff have to upholding York Suburban’s  Culture of Excellence.  There are so many great stories to tell about public education here at YS!

By the time our students are ready to walk across the graduation stage and receive their York Suburban diploma, this community has invested 13 years of passion and energy into providing them with the best opportunity for success after high school.  Our students have countless opportunities to build a solid foundation in reading, mathematics, science, social sciences, and the arts. YSHS graduates benefit from a culture of excellence in programs and services delivered by professionals highly skilled in their craft and totally committed to serving the educational, social and emotional needs of our students at the highest level.  The recent designation of York Suburban High School as a US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School is validation of the exemplary level of performance attained by our students.

As we search for hard evidence of this core cultural value, we can start with our youngest learners and cite the district’s commitment to enhancing student readiness for learning by implementing our full-day kindergarten for all students, starting the Bright Horizons program and focusing on the academic, social, and emotional needs of the whole student.  Our elementary students have access to top quality core programs in reading and mathematics, as well as challenging and enriching curriculum in the sciences, fine arts, music, and technology.  

Throughout the middle and high school levels, the emphasis on solid, rigorous academic core skills in English Language Arts, mathematics, science and technology and the arts continues. Students are equally challenged in the social studies, history, civics, government, too.  These students are exposed to quality learning opportunities that meet their individual career and college preparation goals. The YSSD experience is also enhanced by the curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities our district provides for our students, providing lessons and experiences to develop soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, and problem solving.  The number of honors, Advanced Placement, and College in the High School offerings helps students be prepared for the highly selective and most prestigious post-secondary opportunities and ultimately college and career success.

Yes, the York Suburban School District has a great story to share and we all need to do our part by providing personal examples of the accomplishments of our students who demonstrate the Culture of Excellence.


Dr. Larry R. Redding

Message from the School Board President

The York Suburban School Board is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Larry R. Redding as Acting Superintendent at its meeting on Monday, October 9, 2017. Dr. Redding will provide senior leadership to the district through the remainder of this school year, or until the hiring of a permanent Superintendent. The Board intends to name a permanent superintendent by spring of 2018 and anticipates that he or she will begin work no later than July 1, 2018.

Dr. Redding retired as the Superintendent of the Gettysburg Area School District in June 2017 after serving 40 years in public education in Pennsylvania. He also served as the Assistant Superintendent and Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction at Gettysburg, as well as a high school principal, assistant principal and teacher at other districts in Central Pennsylvania.

Dr. Redding earned his doctoral degree from Widener University, master’s degree from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), and bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. He has been active in the Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations in Adams County. His personal hobbies include his love of running, recently completing his 25th marathon this past weekend.

Please give Dr. Redding a warm York Suburban welcome when you have the opportunity to meet him. I’m sure he will be spotted eating lunch with students in one of our cafeterias, as he’s been known to do so during his career as a school leader and mentor.



Lynne A. Leopold-Sharp, President

York Suburban School Board


Message from the Superintendent

Happy August!  We are very much looking forward to welcoming our students on August 16 for the start of the 2017-18 school year.  It is sure to be another terrific year!

This mini-edition of the PRIDE is intended to help you get in the Back to School mindset. We work hard to ensure that all of our students begin the year on a positive note which will then set a tone for the entire year.  Look for a full edition of YS PRIDE later in August.

As with any school year, there is a lot of new this year. Students, parents, and community members are encouraged to review these important items to become familiar with changes that may affect them.

If you have new neighbors with school age children, please reach out to them and make sure they are aware of our early start date. If they have not yet registered, they should go to the District website to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

The York Suburban community has a long tradition of providing a quality education for our youth.  I look forward to building on that tradition throughout the 2017-18 school year!