First day of school not yet decided
Students could report to school Aug. 16 or Aug. 30 this summer. Two proposals for the 2010-11 calendar are before the Greencastle-Antrim School Board. On Jan. 21 Educational Director Bob Crider, standing in for superintendent C. Gregory Hoover, presented the options.
The Early Start calendar for student classes runs from Aug. 16 to May 26. It includes six professional development days and 21 vacation days. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is not one of them. The Christmas break begins Dec. 24 and school resumes Jan. 10, which is the first day of second semester. Graduation is June 4.
The Late Start calendar runs from Aug. 30 to June 7. It also has six teacher inservice days but just 19 vacation days. The Christmas break begins Dec. 24 and classes resume Jan. 3. Second semester starts Jan. 24. Graduation is June 11.
Board members saw pros and cons to both schedules.
President Arnie Jansen noted that the Early Start had the benefit of more class time before PSSA testing and the semester ended before the holidays. Under the current and traditional schedule, students have three weeks of class and finals in January after the long break. But the switch would affect attendance at Franklin County Career and Technology Center and Lincoln Intermediary Unit, which follow a county schedule.
Fall sports practices were also pondered, since they usually begin two weeks before school opens.
Business manager Dick Lipella cautioned that if the Early Start was chosen, there was a lot to do to have the buildings ready in time.
A live video conference was held with John Paul Ramin, Pearson Education, on the company's PowerSchool and Inform technology programs.
PowerSchool is a web-based information system which can be accessed by school staff, parents and students from any location. Ramin said it was launched 13 years ago and resulted in improvements in attendance and grades through its instant communication. He only had anecdotal evidence from participants, stating he couldn't pull all such data together to quantify.
With the service, people could check grades, assignments, school-related videos, email and newsletters and register for classes. The only time commitment for teachers was to enter specific information for each student.
"It offers a rock solid solution to all state reporting mandates," said Ramin.
Crider thought it would take less time than teachers put in now for the district's current reporting programs.
Inform, as a data warehouse, would store information G-ASD now keeps in five places, Crider said. Ramin explained that it was a data analysis tool to measure student progress individually and as part of specific groups, as well as teacher effectiveness. The school would determine who had access to any information. Teachers could only check their own students.
The program would replace Grade Quick, of which Edline is a part; Effective Software Products, which manages software; and Comprehensive Data Analysis, another warehouse, Crider said.
The package cost was upwards of $90,000, with $20,000 annual maintenance.
At the urging of board members, Crider will investigate savings to the school district in terms of cost, time, data and labor should the two programs be purchased.
The board accepted the retirement notices of reading specialist Susan Dracz, guidance counselor Thomas Dracz, and wellness teacher Ena Verdier, and the resignation of Jennifer Cepuch, family consumer science teacher. All are effective at the end of the school term.
It hired three longterm subs, J. Keith Lehman, primary wellness, a masters degree with nine years of experience; Bennett Miller, middle school social studies, zero years of experience; and Bobbi Logan, high school social studies, zero years of experience. Lehman and Miller were formerly employed at Scotland School for Veterans Children, which closed in August.