ELANCO School District Helps Houston School

Many staff and students in the ELANCO school district were eager to help Houston residents after hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas leaving devastating flooding and destroying many communities. All three ELANCO elementary schools, middle school and high school students and staff worked together collecting items that would be sent to SJ Williamson Elementary school in Houston. 300 backpacks and 6 large boxes of school supplies were collected for the school. Thank you to all who donated.

Vintage Eastpak Backpack Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough via Compfight


pathways logoPathways2Success, the work-based learning program at Garden Spot High School, provides students the opportunity to work a part-time or full-time job during the school day while earning academic credits and learning skills for 21st Century careers.  The goal of the program is to help students achieve a high priority, high skill, and high paying career and encourage post-secondary training through short-term or degree based programs.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the Pathways students worked at various businesses throughout the county including High Concrete (Denver), E&G Concrete (Stevens), Garden Spot Village (New Holland), HMS Host (Elverson), Morgan Truck Bodies (Morgantown) and McDonald’s (New Holland).  The students were able to learn about how to be successful in the working environment while on the job and in the classroom.  These students are now ready to graduate and begin their careers!

To learn more about the Pathways2Success program and read stories about the individual students, visit the Pathways2Success website.


GSHS School Performance Profile

Whenever we hear that our current situation has to hold us back from our future aspirations we are reminded of the fact that we will achieve whatever we believe we can achieve. Thank you to an awesome staff and amazing student body for proving that nothing can hold us back when we hold each other accountable to high expectations. What a great sign of continued growth… 3rd in the county among all high schools. 4th in the state among high schools with greater than 40% economically disadvantaged student population. Your success matters to us, and we will relentlessly pursue every student that enters our building. Very honored to have the privilege of working with such amazing students, staff, and community. Thank you for your continued support!

For a detailed look at the many factors included in attaining the School Performance Profile score, check out Garden Spot High School’s Profile. Data is not all we do, but our continued growth is certainly an excellent sign of health.


2016-2017 SPP Scores Lancaster County High Schools


+90 SPP Score / +40% ED in PA (Out of 952 public HS in PA)

  1. Franklin Towne CHS (SPP – 94.6 / ED – 67%)
  2. Wilson Area HS (SPP – 93.4 / ED – 43.2%)
  3. Tyrone Area HS (SPP – 93.3 / ED – 45%)
  4. Garden Spot HS (SPP – 91.9 / ED – 40.2%)

Progress of Lancaster County High Schools Since First Release of SPP Scores



Go Spartans!

Mr. Elias M. Cox

Assistant Principal
Garden Spot High School



Parent Night – September 22, 2016

It’s a great day to be a Spartan!

To this day, I remember my dad dragging me through the halls of Annville-Cleona High School on a Saturday morning well before an afternoon football game. My principal, who just happened to be my neighbor, was more than happy to oblige my dad’s request. You see, I received a poor grade on a Spanish II quiz the previous week that had the potential of rendering me ineligible to play the next week. As fate would have it, I had a Spanish II unit test coming up the next week and I failed to take home my book and notes to study over the weekend. My dad would have none of it.

While I was embarrassed at the time, I look back on that moment fondly. I am thankful that my dad cared enough to hold me accountable, and I’m glad I had a principal that promoted the “student” in student-athlete. Trust me, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved with their child’s education at Garden Spot High School that are far less embarrassing. One such opportunity is coming up on Thursday, September 22nd.

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration, I would like to invite you to Parent’s Night! Festivities begin at 6:45 PM in the Stan Dean Auditorium. During this event you will have the opportunity to follow your child’s schedule and speak with members of our faculty. The event concludes at 8:00 PM and light refreshments will be provided throughout the evening. We hope to see you on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 6:45 PM for Parent’s Night!

It’s a great day to be a Spartan!

The faculty, staff, and students at Garden Spot High School just completed the second day of the 2016-17 school year. I have been so impressed by the preparation of our faculty and staff. Spending time in almost every classroom, I have seen student engagement and positive relationships being established. Even more impressive is the way in which our students have embraced the ideals at the core of The Spartan Way. The Class of 2017 has certainly set a positive tone within the building and a true sense of Spartan pride lines the halls. I am excited to see what our journey through the 2016-17 school year has in store for us, but one thing is for certain…it’s a great day to be a Spartan!

Thoughts from Mr. Cox – November 9th

Good morning Garden Spot!


Seniors will be returning to their homerooms for days 5-10 of the upcoming cycle in order to present their Service Learning Projects. All other students will be in iSpartan placements based on their final quarter 1 grades. Juniors and Seniors will receive new placements for the cycle that begins on December 2, 2015. I was not sure I was going to be able to make this work, so your teachers had been told that all students would be returning to homeroom for the upcoming days 5-10, but I was able to figure out how to make this happen.

Teacher Spotlight:

This week I’d like to spotlight a teacher who has brought her passion for life to our school. She is involved in GSPA, brings her personal experiences into the classroom, and leads the LEO club for our school. LEO is a community service club that has been helping to make our community better. Through their efforts with a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last year they were generously given Hershey Bears tickets to give to the students and staff at our school. Ms. Barnett has been a tremendous addition to our staff, and works tirelessly both in and out of school to assure that each of you and the larger school community receive all that you deserve. If you have had Ms. Barnett in class, or are a member of the LEO Club, thank her for her efforts in making Garden Spot great. If not, thank a teacher you have or know that is making a meaningful impact in the lives of your peers.

Personal Challenge:

GigglesWhen things are tough, you need to keep going. The other option is to give up and decide to let life keep you down. If you want tomorrow to be better, you need to do things that will make it better. Most things in life are out of your control, but there are some things that are within your control. Treating people well, paying attention and doing well in school… those two things are things you can control, and if you do them a little better, tomorrow will have one less worry and a chance of being a little better. If you do not take the steps to improve in those areas, then it is unlikely that tomorrow will look any better.

Another important factor in making tomorrow better is to do things that you can be proud of, and to focus your attention on the things that are good in your life. If you think there is nothing in good in your life, then it is time to do things that introduce good into your life… see the paragraph above. If you choose to dwell on the bad, and ignore the good, then your days will grow worse and worse as you dwell on the bad. Conversely, if you look to the good, even in bad times, it will help you keep a positive mindset that will help you through the tough times. Find those things that are good, do things that will bring good into your life, and focus your attention on those things. This is the best way to make tomorrow a little brighter. If you take care of business, and focus on getting your priorities in line, then there will always be good that you can look to in tough times. It doesn’t make the tough times any easier or less painful, but it gives you hope that eventually the tough times will pass and a brighter tomorrow will emerge.

I have often said to students in my office that when life seems bad you need to do things that have a chance of making it a little better. If you do not, then it is unlikely that tomorrow will be any better. When life gets tough it is not uncommon for people to stop taking care of the little things that really matter, and as they stop taking care of those little things they begin to feel overwhelmed life. As the burdens of life pile up, not taking care of those things you can control only contributes to the weight you feel on your shoulders. I challenge you to persevere in doing the things that you know have a chance of bringing about a better tomorrow, knowing that it is those things that will help bring you through the tough times in your life.

There is a saying that I like to use when talking with people about starting down a new path to success and a positive future; the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago… the second best time is today. The same is true of charting a new course for your life. Now is the time, today is the day. Decide to start doing the things you know need to be done to help assure a positive future. You can do it… I believe in you, and you deserve it.

Have a great week!

Mr. Cox

Assistant Principal
Garden Spot High School

Thoughts from Mr. Cox – Homecoming Week!

Good morning Garden Spot, it is a great day to be a Spartan!

Thank you for always being a ray of sunshine in our lives… it has always been interesting to me the propensity I have to dwell on the things in my life that are not as I wish they would be. I have found that to enjoy each day I need to take a moment to consider all the things that I do have. In a world where a large portion of the world’s population live without heat or air conditioning, without fresh water, without hot water, and with the need to work each day just to get something to eat… not to buy a phone, a car, a video game console, a pair of shoes, etc… I find that reminding myself of how lucky I am to have those things helps to keep perspective and get me out of a negative mindset. They are things that we often take for granted, but having access to those things allow us to be upset about things that in the big picture of life truly do not matter. If you have little food and water, you tend to not get upset about the little things because there are much more pressing issues in your life.


  • The end of quarter 1 is rapidly approaching, and I encourage you to be sure that you are touching base with your teachers regarding your grades and what can be done to improve them if they are not where you want them to be. If you are keeping your grades up, I encourage you to finish the quarter strong. Please remember that your quarter 1 grades will be used for quarter 2 iSpartan placements for days 5-10. Ninth grade students will begin placements during quarter 2, and will no longer be returning to homeroom.
  • October 14, 2015 – PSAT / Challenge of the Classes – All Juniors will be taking the PSAT’s. If your parents have updated the Student Information Portal, you are permitted to report after PSAT testing for our Challenge of the Classes (you will need to report by 11:00 am to your homeroom). If they have not, you are expected to report to school by 7:32 am.
  • October 16, 2015 – Pep Rally (Modified Schedule)
  • October 17, 2015 -Homecoming Dance

Teacher Spotlight:

  • This week I would like to spotlight all of the support staff we have in our school. Our classroom aides, custodians, office assistants, cafeteria staff, technology department, and all other support staff are truly the best of the best. They come to work every day and pour themselves into making our school a better place to be for each of you. It may be easy to overlook their importance because they often work behind the scenes, but without them this school would not function. Take a moment this week to thank them for their role in making Garden Spot a great place to be, and for contributing to the positive environment that has been established here.

Personal Challenge:

Train Tracks
Image from Flickr

Life is like two parallel train tracks, not a series of peaks and valleys. Often it feels like when things are going well, everything is going well… or when things are going bad, everything goes bad. That is rarely the case though. In the midst of the really bad times, there is good, and in the midst of the really good times there is bad. Hence the two parallel train tracks. Both good and bad will always be present in your life, your ability to enjoy each day will be determined by which track you decide to ride on. If you ride on the bad, it will consume your mind and you will be unable to see the good. Interestingly enough, if you ride on the good it will not mean that you are not hurt or bothered by the bad, but it helps to keep it in perspective.

An important part of keeping life in perspective is also an ability to acknowledge the areas where we were wrong, and go about doing what it takes to make them right. Say you’re sorry when you need to say you’re sorry, and assure that you treat everyone you come in contact with the same way you would want to be treated. If we conduct ourselves in this manner it reflects selflessness, integrity, respect, a pursuit of excellence, personal accountability, and compassion – these character traits are all part of the Spartan Way, and are traits that, if applied to our lives, will provide a greater likelihood of enjoying our interactions with each other on a daily basis.

Understanding that life is a matter of perspective is important, and I challenge you to consider all of the things that you do have… you make our lives better, and you are one of the many things that put a smile on our face each morning.

Rock the day, and enjoy the week ahead!

Mr. Cox

Assistant Principal
Garden Spot High School

Thoughts from Mr. Cox – Sept. 8

Good morning Garden Spot,

I hope you had a great extended weekend, and were able to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends. I wanted to thank you for such an awesome start to the school year. I am so impressed with how positive, upbeat, and respectful you are. It has been great getting to see the new faces of the class of 2019, and to watch the kindness of the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior classes as we welcome them into our building. I can’t imagine that there is a finer group of young men and women anywhere. I look forward to getting to see all of you in the morning. Y’all are great… keep on rockin’!


The outside lunch area will be open beginning this week. Please remember to clean up after yourselves if you eat outside, and to travel only in the 400 wing hallway between the main entrance to the cafeteria and the exit to the outside courtyard. This is a privilege that we have been happy to extend to the student body in the past, and it has always been handled responsibly. Please continue to behave responsibly so we can offer the outdoors as an option for you during your lunch.

Teacher Spotlight:

I would like to take a moment to extend a warm welcome to a talented bunch of new staff. We are excited to have them all on board, and to see how their skills will help to continually improve the education we offer each of you. Take a moment today to thank a new staff member for their decision to get into education, and confirm with your words and actions that they have made the right decision for their careers.

Personal Challenge:

I am going to write about some behavioral issues that always seem to pop up at the beginning of each school year. For any of you that have been in Mr. Sanger’s or my office, you have probably heard us say that we would prefer to have your behavior improve as a result of our conversation as it is not our desire to discipline anyone. While there are some things that are severe enough to warrant disciplinary action immediately, most things can be articulated in a way that the expected behavior moving forward is clear, and no disciplinary action is necessary. One of the most common things I hear in my office has to do with arguments between students. Both sides generally claim that their behavior is warranted because the other person has wronged them in some way… this is usually the beginning of some sort of back and forth between two or more individuals, a back and forth that will only stop if one person decides to be the bigger person. I generally hear from both sides that they want the drama to stop, but rarely do I hear that they understand the reality of the situation they are in… the reality that they are the one who has the ability to stop it. It cannot be predicated on the other side stopping first, because if that is the case then the drama will never stop because both sides have the same philosophy (they will only stop if the other person stops first)… it has to be a decision of one side to rise above the drama. It frustrates me that the things you all see and hear on TV, in your music, and generally from the “get famous at all costs” crowd that the internet and star studded Hollywood crowd have lifted up as being important, are things that make being selfish seem like the normal way to behave… that being rude and having constant drama ultimately leads to success (as most of the reality TV stars have become famous for). Most of the time that doesn’t get you far in life…

Image from Flickr

I am encouraging each of you to live your lives in a way that gains real respect from the people around you, not fake respect because people are afraid of what you might do to or say about them. Real respect is based on people knowing you to be a person of solid character and integrity, a person they can rely on to be kind when they are weak, to be trustworthy in their interactions with you, to be fair, and to care more about others than you do about yourselves. Hold yourselves accountable to doing the right thing even when others around you may not. The bottom line is rather simple… two rights do not make a wrong, life is not always fair, and the only person responsible for your actions is you. There will be people that make life difficult for the rest of your life, but only you have the power to decide to stay away from the drama, or to enter into it. Be a person who others want to be around, but also respect. It’s not about being the life of the party, or the class clown… those things quickly fade as others move on with their lives… It is about being a good person, and that will generally take you far in life.

So, while the emphasis above was mainly on your behavior, the bigger picture is that the message applies to all of your life. The only one who can improve your current condition is you. If it is bad, or filled with drama every day and coming at you from every direction, just know that pointing fingers and blaming others, and responding to others with the same crap they may have thrown at you, does not make tomorrow any better, nor does it allow you to be any happier. We all need to understand that if we do not treat others the way we want to be treated, or give others the same grace for their behaviors that we want others to extend to us when we mess up, then we cannot expect that our relationships and the day to day struggles interacting with others will get any simpler. We need to understand that if we do not work hard, then we cannot expect that things we have not worked for will be given to us. While it is nice to have support when you are down, if you have not worked hard to achieve something, you cannot be frustrated that you have not achieved it. This applies to sports, musical instruments, skate boarding, school, relationships… well, it pretty much applies to life.

Effort breeds achievement in both your relationships and your academics. Get your priorities in line, and start working hard to produce a better tomorrow for yourself. Be a person that treats others well even when they may not deserve it. Be a person that doesn’t make excuses for their current situation, but always keeps their head high and works hard to make the best out of whatever life throws at them. You deserve it, you are the only one who can make it happen, and I believe in your ability to do just that!
Have a great week ladies and gentlemen,

Mr. Cox

Assistant Principal
Garden Spot High School