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Franklin Regional School District negotiates 'quality resource time' details

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A move to fewer class periods at Franklin Regional High School will require some negotiation with the district's teachers union.

Superintendent Jamie Piraino said Monday that board members and administrators are meeting with the Franklin Regional Education Association to negotiate how online courses taken during the newly established quality resource time will be handled beginning in the fall.

“It's going well,” Piraino said. “We don't want to violate that formal procedure, though. We're working to establish those procedures.”

In August, the high school schedule will switch to a seven-period day, and a majority of students will take part in a 90-minute quality resource time, referred to as QRT.

That time is broken into three 30-minute blocks: One will be used for lunch, while the other two will be used as an opportunity for enrichment or additional help in classes where a student is struggling.

Students also will be able to make up lab work from absences, take part in group work and work on online classes.

Students who are enrolled in music performing-arts classes who also enroll in an honors foreign-language class will have class at that time.

The other teachers in the school either will work with students, supervise students working independently or take part in professional learning communities.

Parent Traci Eshelman Ramey approached the board Monday evening to ask how students at the high school can enroll in online courses not offered through the district or the eAcademy, an online program administered by the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit.

Her son took a logic course previously through another accredited program. Ramey said she wants all of her children to take Latin, which is not offered by the district in-house or online.

Board Vice President Joe Seymour said the district isn't able to offer outside courses during QRT at this time because of negotiations.

Ramey pointed to districts such as Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair that offer online academies and suggested Franklin Regional follow suit.

“Other schools are drawing students back from charter schools and home schooling,” Ramey said. “It's an opportunity to enrich our children at no cost to the taxpayer.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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