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Winter wrecks school calendar
June 12 set for Warwick graduation
As the school year winds down Warwick School District board meetings usually become tuned to a standard operating procedure. This year, Mother Nature has thrown the district a curve ball. Local students missed school eight times due to weather-related closings this school year. On Tuesday evening, the board made changes to the calendar to adhere to state guidelines and set a date for graduation.
Last month, seniors at Warwick assembled at the regular business meeting to ask the district to set a graduation date. Hannah Riden and Lea Zikmund, spokeswomen for the more than 20 students in attendance in February, cited concerns for graduates with military, college or workforce commitments. Superintendent Dr. April Hershey addressed those concerns when she announced Thursday, June 12 as the date for Warwick graduation. In February, she informed the students the board generally sets a graduation date during the March regular business meeting.
“Due to concerns regarding students who need early admission to college, students with military commitments, students committed to summer employment, and other community and family needs the district has taken actions allowed within the parameters allowable by PA school code and the collective bargaining agreement to provide relief for students and families,” said Hershey.
Warwick seniors will graduate at CalvaryChurch, 1051 Landis Valley Rd. The motion to approve a graduation date passed unanimously.
“Graduation is set,” said board president Dr. Timothy Quinn.
Graduation was not the only item on the agenda for this school year’s calendar. School days lost to inclement weather either needed to be made up or changed to abide by state mandate
“Tonight we are considering a revised 2013-14 calendar as a result of many schedule changes due to the winter weather. Warwick School Board policy 803 on the school calendar indicates that, and I quote, ‘the school calendar shall normally consist of a minimum of 180 student days,’” said Hershey. “Each year the district creates the school calendar with this as a foundational principle and next year’s calendar already reflects that same ideal… The changes made to the 2013-14 calendar (are noted on attachment 3 to the board’s agenda).”
The board’s full agenda and attachments can be found on the district website. The district has converted four teacher in-service days to Act 80 days, allowing those days to be considered by the PA Department of Education as exceptions to the daily schedule. According to the district’s agenda, those days were approved by the state.
“These days will now count as student days, thereby reducing the number of days students are physically in the classroom,” explained Hershey. “Please note, this is the exception to the norm for WarwickSchool District and used only as a result of the difficult nature experienced this year.”
High school seniors will attend their last day of school on June 12, also the day of their graduation. Grades 1 through 11 will attend their last day of school for the 2013-14 school year on Friday, June 13.
“June 11 will be the last day for kindergartners,” said Hershey. “We did look at (having students attend school) the Monday after Easter and worked together with the (Warwick Education Association), but were unable to reach an agreement, so that will remain a holiday for staff and students.”
The changes to the 2013-14 calendar were approved unanimously.
In other news, they approved board retirements, resignations and elections for several instructional and non-instructional positions. Hershey announced an official Warwick Twitter account will be available soon. The board made several unanimous decisions concerning curriculum including the approval of three advanced placement classes in foreign languages: Spanish, German and French.
Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer who covers the Warwick School Board beat for the Record Express. He invites your comments and suggestions at facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.