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2013-14 Instructional Calendar
Revised 3/3/14 due to inclement weather days
At the March 3 work session, the Perkiomen Valley School Board voted to make additional changes to the 2013-14 school year calendar in order to accommodate an additional day lost to inclement weather. Those changes included designating Oct. 14, 2013 as an Act 80 day for professional development and selecting June 20, 2014 as a snow make-up day if another one is needed before the winter weather subsides.
What this means is that the existing 2013-14 calendar, which was adjusted in February to make up for other snow days, remains unchanged. The last day of school (provided there are no more snow days) will still be Wednesday, June 18. The remaining student days off will include:
- April 17 (in-service day for staff and graduation project presentations)
- April 18 (Good Friday)
- May 20 (Act 80 Day for professional development)
- May 26 (Memorial Day)
This year, the district has had to make up seven days of instruction due to inclement weather. Three school days were already built in to the 2013-14 calendar. In February, the Board approved April 16, April 21 and June 18 as make-up days. That left the district with one additional day to make up, and the Board considered options at the March 3 work session, ultimately deciding to make Oct. 14, 2013 an Act 80 day for professional devleopment.
The district will have to seek state approval to have Oct. 14 designated as an Act 80 day. Act 80 days exempt school districts from meeting the requirement that students must attend school for 180 days of instruction. The state allows Act 80 exceptions for a variety of different reasons, including professional development. Oct. 14 was a day of professional development in the Perkiomen Valley School District.
With an Act 80 day in October and one scheduled for May 20, the district can subtract two days from the 180-day requirement, and can therefore avoid having to make up the one additional snow day that came as a result of the storm in the middle of February. This is a strategy that is being endorsed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, given the difficulties many Pennsylvania school districts are facing as they try to make up days lost to this winter’s severe weather.2014-15 Instructional Calendar
(approved 1/13/14 - amended 4/14/14 to include make-up days)
Q. How is the instructional calendar that is reviewed and approved by the School Board initially developed?
A. Recommendations for the instructional calendar are generated by Perkiomen Valley School District’s Calendar Committee, a group of administrators, teachers, School Board members, and parents that meets several times to draft calendar proposals for the School Board to review and ultimately approve. It is a comprehensive process that involves consideration of a variety of factors, such as how the structure of the calendar affects student academic success, and how parent-teacher conferences, graduation projects, in-service days and holiday breaks should be scheduled to accommodate the needs of families, students and staff. This year, the calendar review process began in November, with the Committee drafting several versions of the calendar for the School Board to consider.
Q. What are some of the changes for the 2014-15 school year?
A. Much of the next year's instructional calendar is the same as it was for this year. Based on feedback we received from the community through a survey that was conducted in the fall, a majority of survey respondents favored the changes introduced with the 2013-14 calendar, which included starting after Labor Day, having an extended weekend in October (as we did this year for the Columbus Day holiday), and having conferences occur earlier (around Election Day) instead of the week of Thanksgiving. A majority of survey respondents also indicated they preferred breaks of equal length at Thanksgiving and Easter, preferred getting out as early as possible in June, and indicated they felt it was important for students to attend as many days as possible before the administration of high stakes tests.
Keeping all that in mind, the Board approved a version of the calendar that maintains many of these preferences. One change from the current school year to the next will be that instead of recognizing the Monday following Easter as a holiday, the district will have an in-service day on the Wednesday before Easter. This in-service day will also be the day that graduation projects will be presented. This option allows for a full week of instruction prior to PSSA testing that begins on April 13.
Some other changes of note:
- First day of school: School will begin on Sept. 4 with a full day for all grades, as opposed to September 2013, when there was a half-day on the first day of school and kindergarten students started two days later.
- Inclement weather days: Three inclement weather days are "built in" to the 2014-15 calendar. If more than three inclement weather days occur, the School Board has designated February 16, April 1, June 18 and June 19 to be used as the make-up days.
For more detailed information about the survey results and discussions held at the Committee and School Board levels regarding the calendar, please click here.
Dr. Barbara Russell, Assistant Superintendent