Mars to look at ‘flexible’ class time

District must apply by Sept. 1

August 13, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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ADAMS TWP — The Mars Area School Board is set to consider flexible instructional days at Tuesday’s meeting.

Flexible instructional days allow districts to operate while classes are canceled in emergency weather situations.

For example, students could turn in work electronically during a snow day and receive credit for being in school. Administrators and teachers must still interact with each other and students on these days.

Superintendent Wesley Shipley cited both the district’s late start date — Sept. 9 due to renovations at the middle school — and the possibility of another prohibitive winter as reasons for providing alternatives for classroom learning.

“We could be looking into mid-June before we get out,” Shipley said during the board’s Aug. 6 meeting.

Shipley told the board the district has the infrastructure to carry out flexible instructional days at all grade levels.

“We have methods in place that the elementary kids can turn in their work at a slower rate and still get credit for that day,” Shipley said.

He noted the district still will have some makeup days and recommended one day already built into the 2019-20 calendar remain.

“So, we’re not stacking on days at the end of the year,” Shipley said.

The district’s application for flexible instructional days is due Sept. 1.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to be able to manipulate our schedule,” Shipley said.

Shipley is meeting with various district associations and discussing what flexible instruction time would mean for them.

The board must take action at Tuesday’s meeting to allow Shipley to submit the application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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