Mars adopts 'flexible' calendar

FIDs planned in case of weather, emergencies

October 23, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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ADAMS TWP — The Mars Area School District will be more “flexible” this year when it comes to instruction time after the state approved the district's Flexible Instruction Days application.

FIDs allow students to have access to schoolwork when classes can't be held in a customary manner, such as in inclement weather or during law enforcement emergencies. The program allows districts to meet Pennsylvania's 180 instructional days requirement without physically being in class.

After receiving notification Oct. 7 that the district qualifies for FIDs, Superintendent Wesley Shipley asked the school board to approve a revised district calendar.

“We are going to be working with our teachers on some in-service time to have lessons prepared,” Shipley said.

These lessons will be posted online via Schoology for students to access during FIDs. “We will also have paper lessons available,” Shipley said, recognizing the district could experience a power outage.

Changes to the calendar include changing an April 13 snow makeup day to a vacation day. The district's first snow makeup day on June 11 will remain in place. The next five possible makeup days will be FIDs.

“Regardless of when those occur, the day would be a day in school,” Shipley said. “Teachers will be actively engaged with students and students (will) be engaged with their curriculum at that time.”

Shipley said the state limits districts to five FIDs a year. If the district needs a seventh makeup day — after using a traditional makeup day and the five FIDs — it will be scheduled for June 12. An in-service day is now scheduled for June 15.

“That allowed us to take off several days in that week,” Shipley said.

If the district uses less snow days, the in-service would be moved to the earlier Friday.

District families will be informed of FIDs as they occur. An updated schedule is available through the district website.

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Samantha Beal

Samantha Beal