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Shaler Area officials revise school calendar following strike

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Shaler Area School District students will graduate on time and with only a few fewer vacation days after district officials approved the revised 2013-14 school calendar last week.

Shaler Area administrators revised the school calendar to make up more than a week of instructional days lost to a teachers strike that started Sept. 3.

“We wanted to make sure our students still had significant breaks around the vacation times they typically experience and make sure they get all their days in before the 13th of June, which we knew we could do if we moved in-service days to the end (of the year),” Superintendent Wes Shipley said.

Several of the previously scheduled teachers' in-service days now are instructional days, and the in-service days will be held at the end of the school year after the last instructional day and commencement.

Shipley said one of the challenges in creating a revised schedule is that the district usually schedules two Act 80 teacher in-service days, which count toward the required 180 instructional days if used for parent-teacher meetings, curriculum planning and development or long-range planning.

However, during a strike, a school district now is permitted to use Act 80 days toward its total instructional days.

Shipley said that meant district officials had to reschedule 10 instructional days instead of eight days — the length of the strike.

Winter vacation will last Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, two days shorter than the original school schedule. Shipley said the change brings students back into the classroom the same day as students in several other local school districts. Spring break in April also will be one day shorter.

The revised schedule also provides for two makeup days — down from an original four days — in the event school is canceled for inclement weather. The snow makeup days are scheduled for April 17 and April 21. Additional snow days will be made up at the end of the school year, beginning June 16.

“We're now hoping for a light winter,” Shipley said. “We're going to do everything in our power to make sure our kids graduate on time and make sure everyone is out by June 13. … As long as our roads are clear we're good to go.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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