The Tunkhannock Area School Board gave its approval for a high school graduation date of June 14 for this year’s senior class.
“According to the state department of education, we will have enough hours, but we are cutting it close,” Superintendent Heather McPherson said.
She noted that the last day of classes for other grades will be June 19, with an Act 80 (teacher in-service) day set for June 20.
McPherson said if some unforeseeable freak event should occur, like a blizzard or power outage or flood, the district would look at possibly having make-up days on Saturdays so the school year end dates could be preserved.
The board also gave a first look at a school calendar for 2019-20, which establishes a start date of Thursday, Aug. 22, for students and a graduation/last day for students at June 5, 2020.
Unique to the proposed new calendar is a spring break of April 6-13, so families who might wish to plan a spring vacation can do so.
The calendar has one built-in snow day of Jan. 20.
Board member John Burke said he’d like to see two or three more snow days built in and discussion suggested Nov. 27 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving), Dec. 23 (first day of winter break) and Apr. 13 (Monday after Easter) were the most likely ones to be added.
The new calendar was not voted on and will be brought back again for approval, possibly at the April 25 meeting.
McPherson unveiled a Tunkhannock Area School District Master Plan for 2019-21 with bucket areas to include Re-Thinking/Re-Designing Schools, High Quality Teachers, High Quality-Aligned Instruction, and High Performing Organization.
She went over some sub-areas and noted, “It is the Board’s wish that I provide updates on a quarterly basis.”
McPherson said the district was assessing the challenges of cyber charter schools and trying to get a read on student access to wi-fi at home. She also spoke of the need for doing walk-thrus in all the buildings so all are well aware of expectations. The district has developed a literacy plan and looking at extending standards based report cards beyond kindergarten and first grade.
She also noted the need for public relations efforts to keep out there all the good things that are going on in the schools; and also get feedback from the community as to what they want the schools to look like.
Burke asked other board members if they saw any areas that might need to be added to McPherson’s outline.
Under new business, there was a first reading of a board policy addressing concussion management.
Board member William Prebola asked where the policy originated.
Holly Arnold, who chairs the board’s extracurricular committee, said she thought the language originated with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Prebola, who is a doctor, said he had concerns with some of the language in the policy.
Because it was a first reading there was no vote. In order to be approved as policy, it would have to go through two more readings.
In other matters, the board approved a budget transfer in the high school of $3,000 from art supplies to administration supplies. There was also a resolution to approve an overnight field trip for the high school Robotics Team to go to the Robotics MAR-FRC Championship in Bethlehem retroactive to April 3-6; and then looking forward approving the same for the Robotics FRC championship in Detrot, Mich., Apr. 22-28, as well as the Governors School STEM state competition, May 9-10.
The board approved the superintendent’s report with resolutions to approve the resignations of Micki Alden from the Primary Center cafeteria and school psychologist Jacquelyn Marshalek; a resolution to approve an unpaid leave of absence for high school science teacher Sarah White; a resolution to approve Sherry Thompson and Courtney Slacktish as support staff substitutes; a resolution to add nine persons to the approved volunteer list; a resolution to approve Sheryl Thompson as a van driver for Walters Transportation; and approval of a conference attendance by John Shepulski.