skip to main content
Thankful in DSD
November 30, 2018

This time of year often causes people to reflect upon life and things for which we are thankful. I, too, have been reflecting quite a bit recently and believe there is much to be thankful for in the Donegal School District.

As someone who has worked in two other districts prior to Donegal, I recognize that the "Green Nation" is special. The level of pride in the schools and support shown toward families and colleagues does not exist everywhere. Our staff works exceptionally hard to provide experiences for students that are unique and help prepare them to be "life ready." While I certainly cannot capture everything that occurs in Donegal, I did want to share a few of those things I have seen occur since the start of the year. Below is a brief list:

Members of the maintenance staff met with students to answer questions about careers in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, etc.
As a result of student interests and questions, Mrs. Splain arranged for students to Skype with a scientist and find the answers they desired.
Mr. Haldeman arranged a variety of experiences for students and staff to connect with Lancaster County businesses and learn what is expected of graduates.
Mr. Swisher and Mr. Black taught Mr. McCreary's students about video production and even rolled out the red carpet for the premier of their videos.
Mrs. Schlasta taught kindergarten students how to use deductive/inductive reasoning to independently solve problems.
Mrs. Hollinger taught her math students that failure can be productive if we learn from our mistakes.
Finally, there was an overwhelming level of support shown for a neighboring district by all students and staff.

Again, this list is in no way comprehensive, it is only a small sample of the types of things that occur every day in Donegal. I am thankful that we have staff members who put student needs ahead of their own. I am thankful that we have a community that is supportive and proud of their school district. Most of all, I am thankful that I get to be a part of this amazing place!

I sincerely hope you are thankful for our partnership and wish everyone peace and joy in this holiday season.

Dr. Lausch
Our Community
September 5, 2018

When planning for a start of school update, I had anticipated writing about the outstanding opening to the 2018-2019 school year. However, this past Friday, we had an unprecedented weather event in our community. What I have seen and heard since Friday, changed my thinking.

For those who do not know, the Mount Joy area received a deluge of rain in a short period of time. Some reports have rainfall totals as high as 12-13 inches over the course of Friday afternoon. The monsoon like rains turned streets into rivers and created dangerous situations across our area.

The damage that occurred from the heavy rains has been widespread. There are some that had no impact, some who got a little water in their home, some who had flooded basements and others who have lost everything.

While this may sound like a sad tale, and in many cases it is, what has come out of this is a demonstration of community support like no other. First responders are working non-stop to help people in need. Neighbors who have suffered loss are putting their own needs aside to help others. The kindness and generosity of everyone is shining through. We are exceptionally proud to be a part of this community.

As a school district, we are taking our role in the recovery very seriously. We believe the best thing we can do right now is care for the children. We commit to ensuring our children are safe and cared for while at school. We commit to providing a listening ear and counseling services, if needed, to any child who needs to talk about their stress. We commit to understanding when assignments may not be completed because clean-up of a home is taking precedence. Ultimately, as always, we commit to loving and caring for the children of our community. Please contact your child's school if you need to inform us of anything related to your child and family's situation.
After all, we are all One Tribe!

Dr. Lausch
Teen Hope
Teen Hope
August 1, 2018

Donegal is beginning its second year of partnership with Samaritan Counseling Center to provide TeenHope to our students. TeenHope is a mental health awareness program in local middle and high schools, which screens students for depression, anxiety and suicide risk. Donegal offers this voluntary program to students in seventh grade. “The program is designed to build a school culture where mental health issues are openly discussed in a supportive environment,” said Gerald Ressler, Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling Center. It educates students about nurturing their own mental health and educates teachers on how to respond when a student comes to them for help.

All participating students complete a short questionnaire which is scored immediately. All students that complete the screening meet with an on-site mental health professional for the opportunity to ask questions. Students are encouraged to identify adults, in and out of school, to whom they could go to ask for help. Each student is given the national suicide prevention hotline number and asked to enter it into their contacts. If a student screens positive for depression, anxiety or suicidal ideation, this interview involves further evaluation and contact with the parents to determine what type of referral for services is appropriate. Further counseling can be provided by Samaritan or other providers.

In Lancaster County, 36% of teens have felt depressed or sad most days in the past year, 16% of students have had serious suicide thoughts in the past year, and 9.7% of students have attempted suicide at least once. This program helps identify students who we otherwise may not have realized were in need. Teens need to know that they can talk about depression and ask for the help without being afraid.

Samaritan administers the program and provides the team of counselors that screens hundreds of students each semester – all at no charge to the District. We have appreciated the partnership with Teen Hope. TeenHope is 100% donor funded! To learn more about TeenHope visit Samaritan Counseling Center’s website at