Looking Ahead: 2020-2021 School Calendar
Last night, the Board of School Directors adopted a calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. I have attached a copy (see bottom of news item) for your reference and planning.
We received more than 560 responses to our calendar survey this year. After careful review of the comments, concerns, and questions received, one change to the proposed calendar was made; November 30, will be a non-school day, and in exchange, April 1, will be a student day. Additional information regarding this change and answers to other frequently asked questions can be found below. Thank you to each of you who submitted feedback and participated in the calendar development process.
November 30 - The use of November 30 received many thoughtful comments and valid reasons for supporting both a day off and a student day. Although every effort was made to consider the impact a change to past practice would have on students, parents, and employees, there were three areas of concern raised during the survey process that led to my decision to maintain November 30 as a day off.
First, for some staff members, November 30 is a paid holiday, and while I believe employees would have worked with administration to accommodate the needs of the District, it was an oversight on my part. Second, when the fall trip to Disney was presented to music department families, it was anticipated that November 30 would be a day off, and students would miss two days of classes. Lastly, the PA Game Commission has not definitively indicated its plans for the start of deer season in 2020. After considering all of these factors and their potential impact on staff and student attendance, I determined this year was not the year to make a change, if at all.
Start and End Dates - The calendar for 2020-2021 maintains Tuesday, August 25, 2020 as the starting date for students. The last day for students will be a half-day on Friday, June 4, 2021, assuming it is not necessary to extend the school year to make-up missed days. We received many opposing views in relation to the start date for students. Ultimately, I feel strongly that starting on a Monday adds unnecessary stress. By beginning the school year on a Tuesday, office staff will be available the day before to answer last minute questions about transportation, schedules, etc.
Early Dismissal Days - Next year's school calendar incorporates five early dismissals (not counting the last day of school) for students and will follow the same schedule as this year. One request we received was to convert early dismissals into full days. We are sensitive to the impact these days have on our families; however, the staff development which takes place following early dismissals is essential for teachers to analyze student data collected during the school year and promptly respond to learning needs. Early dismissals provide this needed time for teachers without reducing the number of student days, increasing the number of staff days, or lengthening the school year.
Make-Up Days - Make-Up days are those days built into the school calendar to be used if weather-related school closings (snow days) occur. One make-up day, which raised some questions was March 19, because it follows an early dismissal. If the March 19 make-up day is needed, this day could be made up as a Flexible Instructional Day (FID) with students completing their school work from home. Soon, families will be receiving more details about ways the District plans to use FIDs.
Graduation - The graduation date for the class of 2021 is Saturday, June 5, 2021. As is the case this school year, students from Cedar Cliff and Red Land High Schools will both graduate on that day; however, each high school will have its own separate ceremony.
We are thankful so many of you took the time to share your thoughts and valuable input with us. While some of the suggestions we received could not be immediately incorporated, we are taking them into consideration as we research new options for future school years in regards to breaks and designated times for staff development.
Thank you again. I hope you have a great weekend.
Todd B. Stoltz
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