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Pottsgrove Asked About ‘Contingency Plans’

POTTSTOWN PA – Martin Schreiber is as concerned about what happens before next spring, he told the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors on Friday (Aug. 21, 2015), as he is about what happens before Sept. 8 (Tuesday).

Sept. 8 is the day that Pottsgrove buildings, including the high school, are scheduled to open for the 2015-2016 academic year. And next spring, specifically in early May, is when dozens of Pottsgrove High students – Schreiber’s son among them – will be required to take Advanced Placement exams in a variety of subjects.

Schreiber, who is not only a parent but a member of the Upper Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners, sought assurances Friday from the board and Superintendent Shellie Feola that a delay in opening the high school, if any occurs, won’t negatively affect the learning or studies of those focused to do their best on AP tests that may determine future college choices.

Summer reconstruction tasks at the high school have fallen behind schedule. The board voted during a hastily called Friday meeting to authorize the expenditure of up to $50,000 in overtime payments to complete outstanding work there and hopefully ensure its doors open on time. No one, however, can guarantee the outcome.

Accepting that, Schreiber asked if the district had a contingency plan for AP students. How will they complete their rigorous studies and be ready for fixed test dates next May, he wondered, if school starts late?

“We’ll have to work with each individual AP teacher to make sure they have enough time,” Feola replied.

Feola is confident the district can meet state-required education attendance minimums of 180 class days and 990 hours per student, even if the high school is delayed, because its schedule is sufficiently flexible, she said. The superintendent acknowledged, however, that not every teacher is prepared to teach hybrid or fully online courses, either of which might address parental concerns regarding a late classroom start.

Contingency planning also was on the mind of school director Rick Rabinowitz, who participated in the meeting via telephonic conference call. He asked Feola how or if a late high school start might also affect Pottsgrove students who attend the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center in Limerick.

The Western Center actually begins school a few days ahead of Pottsgrove, Feola responded. She said she probably will determine within a week “if we have to orchestrate buses” to get those students to and from school.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Aug. 21 meeting):

Photo from Google Images

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