Some Shaler teachers ask for earlier start of year
While the Shaler Area School Board approved the 2013-14 school year calendar last month, some teachers are asking the board to reconsider.
Last week, high school teachers Dennis Dudley and Paul Stadelman spoke at the board's Committee of the Whole work meeting to “try to encourage a dialogue to revise” the schedule, specifically by starting the school year before Labor Day.
“This is entirely academic,” said Dudley, chair of the science department. “This has nothing to do with SAES (Shaler Area Education Association, the teachers' collective bargaining unit) or what's going on in the district. We're trying to make sure we're academically rigorous.”
Dudley argued that the approved calendar, which starts classes on Sept. 3, puts the teachers and students at a disadvantage to prepare for statewide academic testing, including the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone exams, in May.
“We want our students in class for as much time as possible,” he said. “We believe it's academically unsound to start a schedule after Labor Day.”
When the administration presented calendar options to the school board in February, Superintendent Wes Shipley said it was extremely challenging this year because several holidays fall on Wednesdays, including Christmas and New Year's Day, and the PSSA testing window is March 17 to April 11 and April 28 to May 9.
“Making a calendar is not as easy as choosing a start and end date,” Shipley said in February.
Of the two calendar options initially proposed to SAES and the school board, one started classes on Aug. 26 and one started classes on Sept. 3. The school board approved the latter with classes ending June 12.
“Looking at the calendar in the way it is, we're working as hard as we can … before the May deadlines,” said Stadelman, chair of the math department. “Getting us as many days (prior) to those tests is prudent.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New location in Ross enables store to continue mission of helping women
- Shaler approves $244K paving plan
- Shaler Area students shine in Integration Bee
- Pine-Richland Middle School student takes 2nd in geography bee
- Walk Like MADD event coming to Pittsburgh
- Hampton 6th-grader shines at computer fair
- North Allegheny Science Bowl teams to compete in national championship