The Rocket Flame

Where’s He’s Been, Where He Is, and Where He’s Taking Us

Mr. Benedick talks with The Rocket Flame staff about how life changed a little this summer as he accepted a position as Acting Superintendent, but how his positivity is winning over all of TSD

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Where’s He’s Been, Where He Is, and Where He’s Taking Us

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

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Remember that smiling face that you’d see lending a helping hand around the school: whether assisting the cafeteria ladies at the lunch line, greeting students at the bus ramp, or just stopping by classes to see how things are going? Are you wondering where he went? Well, now he’s the head honcho of our district, and his work life is completely different than before.

 

Former James Buchanan High School principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) took the position of Acting Superintendent of the Tuscarora School District on July 1, 2018.  As a former student of TSD, Benedick has now worked his way up the educational ladder to now be the superintendent. Picking up where previous superintendents left off, Benedick’s goal is to expand on past ideas in the district along with previous personal experiences.

 

After growing up with his mom being a substitute teacher, Benedick had no interest in the educational field after high school.

Answering some tough questions during an interview with JB Student Media, Mr. Rodney Benedick discusses his life prior to his work in education.

“After I graduated from college, I was working as a retail manager. My first job out of school was a stockbroker. I quit my job after about a month; it was not me.”

 

Benedick’s personality did not fit in with the cutthroat environment. He then took on a new role as the manager of a a Foot Locker in Richmond, VA, where he was living after college.

 

“I saw kids all day long at the Foot Locker that were not in school when they should have been in school from crazy, dysfunctional families[…]Then, I started thinking about who keeps track of these kids,” said Benedick.

 

After being in a different environment than he was used to coming from the small town of Fort Loudon, PA, Benedick started to have a change of perspective on his future.

 

“I saw a lot of kids in a real quick time period that didn’t have the stuff I had growing up, so, long story short, I went back and got my Master’s in Special Education, because I wanted to help kids that didn’t have what I had at school or growing up,” said Benedick.

 

After getting a teaching degree and working with special education kids in New York, he spontaneously came back after making a chance decision to move here with no job or living arrangements.

 

“I guess it was a little bit of luck or right-place, right-time kind of thing,” Benedick said of this decision.

 

With that little bit of luck, he became the Acting Assistant Principal of James Buchanan High School, his former stomping grounds. He moved up to the position of Acting Principal when the former Principal stepped down.

 

Due to Benedick’s new position, he had to further his education to become certified to meet the criteria. He spent 15 years as principal of JBHS, but decided to take it one step further. Benedick applied for the position of Superintendent and went through the interview process when he learned of the open position.

 

¨What I told the Board is that I want to be THIS superintendent, not A superintendent¨ said Benedick.

 

By being “THIS superintendent,” Benedick wants to be committed to the community and focus on what he will do for the district. Benedick feels that it is substantial to “connect to the community at large.” Due to his familiarity within the public, Benedick is starting off further ahead than his predecessors.

I want to be THIS superintendent, not A superintendent

— Mr. Rodney Benedick

“A goal of mine is to create a positive place for kids to go to school and celebrate the good things that happen,” said Benedick.  

 

Benedick, with his self-described “positive personality,” has made it his mission to create an environment of positivity throughout TSD. He has spent most of his time in the high school during his working career, but as superintendent, he’s trying to spend more time in the elementary schools.

 

“It is difficult to spend as much time in the buildings as I would like,” said Benedick, but he hopes to spend more time interacting with kids.

Mr. Rodney Benedick joins the 2018-2019 JB Student Media staff for an interview

 

Benedick’s day-to-day schedule is filled with meetings and is “more office-based” than it was previously. While Benedick is not interacting directly with students every single day, he’s still making a difference in their world of education due to the decisions he makes every day that help enhance students’ educational experience.

 

“My favorite part is knowing I do have an impact on even more kids,” Benedick said.

 

Although Benedick is not in the high school to help out every single school day anymore, he is now helping not only this school, but the rest of the school district, every day back in his office. Whether it is talking to lawyers or communicating with people outside of our district, Benedick is trying to give us a great education and memories to stick with us for the rest of our lives, all while keeping that smile on his face.

 

 

“Houston, We’re Ready For Take Off!”

Learn about the new Voyager Program coming next year at JB

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Three…two…one…blast off! During the 2018-2019 school year, the Voyager Program will be launched at James Buchanan High School.

 

The Voyager Program is a self-driven class for students, which includes three different disciplines: English, Social Studies and Art. Students will be coming up with their own projects that encompass these subjects. The program is worth three credits, one for each subject.

 

Mrs. Kayla Chambers-Matulevich(Faculty), one of the five coordinating teachers of the program, said “One of the examples we gave was a student built a bass guitar. So with that, he would write a paper maybe on the history of bass guitars, but then he also found music and wrote music for it.”

 

The Voyager Program is made up of a lot of open-ended work that is done in the students’ own time. Students will be tasked with completing two projects a marking period for two marking periods. It is compared to college, where students do a lot of learning on their own, but they also have to manage their time. To help students, the coordinators set up weekly journals where students have to report their progress. They are also hoping for at least one class period where students can come to any of the coordinators and receive time and help on their projects.

 

“This could really benefit students that might not learn perfectly in a regular classroom setting,” said Chambers.

 

Rather, students learn school subjects through what they love and have an interest in. Some students do not excel in the typical classroom setting, but the Voyager Program enables students to learn in a different environment.

 

“For example, when I was in high school, I would have excelled in a program like this, but that’s because I could have focused on art and then learned the history and English related to it,” said Chambers.

 

Mr. Rodney Benedick (Principal) first found this idea form Central York High School’s Apollo Program, where each student has their own tailored way of learning. Several teachers became interested, including Mrs. Danielle Fox (Faculty) for English, Ms. Jena Antonelli (Faculty) for Social Studies, and Mrs. Erin Martin (Faculty) and Chambers for the Arts. The program is being led by Mr. Michael Mele (Faculty).

 

In the end, the teachers involved are looking for what students can take away from this program. They feel this program can help prepare students for life outside of high school and into college. They hope to have fifteen students this next year to make the program really take off.

 

“We are looking for any driven student. I don’t think there is any cookie-cutter student for this program and I think that’s what’s great about it,” said Chambers. “If you are driven and willing to put in the work, willing to grow as a student and to work with your teacher mentors, I think that’s the ideal student.”

 

The teachers and staff here at JB are looking forward to seeing how this program does next year and years to come, hoping learning can reach new heights.

 

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Mr. Rodney Benedick